Sustainable value creation and collaborative business models in the future forest-based sector

T2.22 Perception – Awareness – Choice. How forest bioeconomy becomes a reality


Annukka Näyhä1 , Romana Rauter2, Venla Wallius1, 3
1 Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics
2 Institute of Environmental Systems Sciences, University of Graz
3 European Forest Institute



Human impacts to the Earth have been enormous in our era. Also forests ecosystems have been negatively affected by human-induced activities in numerous ways. Currently in many countries with plentiful forest resources (e.g. in Finland), the utilization of forests and development of new forest-based businesses are in focus for attaining a more sustainable, circular bioeconomy. Yet, there are not commonly accepted, widely applicable solutions to solve many of the key challenges -including the questions on what the environmentally sustainable uses and levels of harvesting are, and which modes of forest utilization should be supported and how. Widely applied organization-centric business models with focus on creating economic value for a certain company and its shareholders have limited potential to exert a positive influence on social or environmental sustainability and mitigate above-described complexities in forest utilization. Collaborative business models -leaning on the idea that businesses should incorporate sustainability perspectives, diverse needs of stakeholders and lead to shared and sustainable value for multiple players-could be enablers for such a sustainability transition. However, promoting shared value creation between different companies as well as between firms and diverse societal actors requires more knowledge on the involved actors, their views and relations.

This study aims to answer the question of how the sustainability transition in the Finnish forest-based sector could be facilitated by shared value creation. More specifically:  What kind of collaborative business models and relations do already exist between involved firms and their stakeholders? Which factors promote or prevent shared value creation?

We conduct 65 semi-structured interviews with firms and their stakeholders in May–October 2023. Around 25 interviews will be conducted with the companies including as many different types of forest-based firms as possible; the firms will vary in terms of business models, maturity, size and networks. Around 40 interviews will be conducted with firms’ societal stakeholders including forest owners, researchers, environmental NGOs, politicians, journalists, and interest organizations.

The interviews are ongoing, so the findings with in-depth views on shared value creation potential, collaborative business models and the involved actors will be presented at the conference.

ack: BuSuT-project funded by the Academy of Finland (340756)