Innovative Wood: Wood Replacing Fossil-based Materials from Medicine to Fashion

Finland is taking climate change seriously. We are on our way to becoming climate-neutral already by 2035 and the world’s first fossil-free advanced economy. Finland is a bioeconomy superpower and the most forested country in Europe with over 70% of our land covered in forests. We have a world-class innovation environment and the growth potential of new bio-based products is enormous. Finland has partnered with two US states, Maine and Michigan, to promote the development of sustainable bioeconomy and clean technologies. Highlighting the role of forests and sustainable wood products in the fight against climate change, policy-makers, companies, and researchers from Finland and the US came together to share their views and innovations in a webinar on April 28. Keynote speakers included US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree from Maine and Dr. Cynthia West, the Director of the USDA National Forest Products Laboratory, and the event was opened by Finland’s Ambassador to the United States Mikko Hautala.

Event Program

PANEL 1: Potential of Sustainable Biobased Materials in Tackling the Climate Change Challenge and Value of International Partnerships
Welcoming remarks by Ambassador Mikko Hautala, Embassy of Finland in Washington DC

Keynote remarks by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), US House of Representatives


  • Dr. Stephen Shaler, Director, University of Maine School of Forest Resources
  • Dr. Peter MacKeith, Dean and Professor of Architecture, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, University of Arkansas
  • Ms. Shannon Lott, Natural Resources Deputy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Dr. Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen, Manager, Innovation Policy at Finnish Forest Industries Federation
  • Ms. Alina Ruonala-Lindgren, Co-Creation Manager, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland

Discussion moderated by Ms. Sarah Curran, Senior Policy Analyst, Climate and Economic Development, Maine Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future

PANEL 2: From Medicine to Fashion: Innovative Ways to Use Wood by Finnish & American Businesses and Research Organizations

Keynote remarks by Dr. Cynthia West, Director, Forest Products Laboratory, USDA Forest Service


  • Dr. Michael Mason, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Maine
  • Mr. Konrad Klockars, Doctoral Researcher, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, Aalto University (Shimmering Wood Colours)
  • Dr. Marja Rissanen, Staff Scientist, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, Aalto University (Ioncell Research team)
  • Mr. Mika Salomäki, CEO and Founder, Dolea Ltd.
  • Mr. Matti Koski, Vice President, North America, Kotkamills
  • Dr. Johana Kuncová-Kallio, Director, UPM Biomedicals
  • Dr. Sini Metsä-Kortelainen, Senior Scientist and Project Manager, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (3D Printing from Biomaterials)

Discussion moderated by Ms. Dana Eidsness, Director, Maine North Atlantic Development Office.

Finland at SXSW 2021: Innovations in New Technologies and Sustainability, March 16-20

As part of Virtual Finland Pavilion at SXSW Online 2021, The Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C., the Consulate General of Finland in New York, and Business Finland presented Innovative Wood, an event showcasing innovative wood-based solutions from Finland and the State of Maine, ranging from medicine to fashion. Keynote speakers included Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Mr. Ville Skinnari, Mr. Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen, Manager of Innovation Policy at Finnish Forest Industries Federation(layout.types.url.description) and Ms. Alina Ruonala-Lindgren, Co-Creation Manager, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland(layout.types.url.description).

View the SXSW online event Innovative Wood –Wood Replacing Fossil-based Materials from Medicine to Fashion here(layout.types.url.description).

The Finland Pavilion exhibited Finland's latest offerings in creative industries, sustainable innovations, and future technologies. The Business Finland-led venture brings together Music Finland, Audiovisual Producers Finland, Finnish Film Foundation, and a group of Finnish companies and research organizations, among others.

SXSW Online 2021(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

Virtual Finland Pavilion(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

Innovative Wood: participating Finnish businesses and research organizations

Textiles and fashion industry

Packaging & replacing plastic




The State of Maine and The University of Maine

Finland’s bioeconomy partner State Maine and The University of Maine presented the innovative wood technologies UMaine is developing, and the partnership among the university, the state’s forest products industry, and Finland. More information here(layout.types.url.description).
Read more on the Memorandum of Understanding between Finland and the state of Maine on fostering exchange of information and cooperation in developing bioeconomy that is based on forests and the use of wood.


We need sustainable solutions to keep our precious planet going and creative ways to use and recycle materials so that nothing goes to waste. Finland is a bioeconomy superpower, with rich natural resources, and a world-class innovation environment relying on public-private partnerships. We are the #1 forested country in Europe with over 70% of our land area covered in forests. Our long tradition in the forest industry has made us global experts with unique skills in research, innovation and development.  Finland manages its forests sustainably, and our forests have been outgrowing any harvesting for the past 50 years. For each tree we cut, we plant four more.

The potential of bio-based products is enormous. Almost anything made out of petroleum can be made out of wood. The forest industry is redefining itself and creating new products, through sustainable circular bioeconomy, to produce new products from sustainable packaging to fuel.

In a move that capitalizes on collective forestry knowledge and a commitment to smarter, sustainable use of natural resources, Finland and the states of Maine and Michigan are elevating a cooperative effort in bioeconomy and clean technologies.

The cooperation is based on Memorandums of Understanding that Finland has signed with the states of Maine and Michigan. At the center of these partnerships are sectors that share similar interests, as well as opportunities to pool expertise and collaborate on bio- and circular economies and clean technologies.

Through the Innovative Wood event, we highlight Finland’s climate and sustainability commitments. Finland is showing global climate leadership and aims to be climate neutral by 2035.  We invest heavily on innovation and new technologies to drive the transition towards greener economy.

Transition to greener economy is a team effort: fighting against climate change is not possible without international cooperation and team work. Finland is looking to build new global value chains. We are looking for new partners in the US and globally in the crucial transition to a greener economy!

More information and inquiries:

Ms. Heli Hyypiä

Counselor, Climate Policy & Green Economy
Embassy of Finland, Washington D.C.
heli.hyypia (at)

Ms. Sanna Andersson

Adviser, Commercial and Trade Affairs
Consulate General of Finland in New York
sanna.andersson (at)