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

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. Building on these partnerships, The Consulate General of Finland in New York, The Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C., and Business Finland present innovative Finnish wood solutions at this year’s South by Southwest festival.

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 present Innovative Wood, an event showcasing innovative wood-based solutions from Finland and the State of Maine, ranging from medicine to fashion.

The Finland Pavilion exhibits 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.

Innovative Wood event is open for SXSW participants only. We will host an open follow-up networking event and Q&A with our companies and experts on April 28, more information will be added on this website shortly! You can register for the networking event hereLink to another website.

SXSW Online 2021Link to another website.(Opens New Window)

Virtual Finland PavilionLink to another website.(Opens New Window)

Innovative Wood event


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!

Run of the event and speakers

The event on March 18 (10:00–10:25 am CDT / 11:00–11:25 am EST) consists of the following speeches and presentations:

1.    Keynote speech by the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland
2.    Fireside Conversation on the potential of sustainable bio-based materials in tackling climate change
3.    The value of Transatlantic cooperation: Greetings from Finland’s bioeconomy partner, the state of Maine
4.    From medicine to fashion: 11 innovative ways to use wood

Keynote speech and fireside conversation

Mr. Ville SkinnariLink to another website., Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade

Mr. Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen, Manager, Innovation Policy at Finnish Forest Industries FederationLink to another website.

Ms. Alina Ruonala-Lindgren, Co-Creation Manager, VTT Technical Research Center of FinlandLink to another website.

The State of Maine and The University of Maine

Finland’s bioeconomy partner State Maine and The University of Maine will present the innovative wood technologies UMaine is developing, and the partnership among the university, the state’s forest products industry, and Finland. More information here.Link to another website.(Opens New Window)

Read more (Opens New Window)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.

Finnish businesses and research organizations

Textiles and fashion industry

  • Aalto University: Shimmering Wood ColorsLink to another website. offer a sustainable alternative to the toxic pigments and plastic-based materials used in the fashion industry, by creating a color with a shiny and glittery effect using only a thin layer of nanocellulose, and no chemicals or metals. This color does not fade in sunlight.
  • Aalto University: IoncellLink to another website. is a technology that turns used textiles, pulp or even old newspapers into new textile fibers sustainably and without harmful chemicals. The process converts cellulose into fibers which in turn can be made into long-lasting fabrics.
  • SpinnovaLink to another website. has developed a cellulosic staple fiber that is made out of FSC certified wood.

Packaging & replacing plastic


  • UPM BiomedicalsLink to another website.: Wood nanocellulose based solutions for regenerative medicine, pharma and hospitals. GrowDex® for pharma, FibDex® for wound care and our OEM range of animal-free gels are all based on birch nanocellulose.



More information and inquiries:

Ms. Heli Hyypiä

Counselor, Climate Policy & Green Economy

Embassy of Finland, Washington D.C.

heli.hyypia (at)