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Riding a Trojan horse? Future pathways of the fiber-based packaging industry in the bioeconomy

J. Korhonen, A. Koskivaara and A. Toppinen

Forest Policy and Economics, 2020, vol. 110, issue C

Abstract: The successful implementation of national bioeconomy strategies requires that various actor groups accept the concept and have similar visions for its future development. We use the fiber-based packaging sector to assess the understanding and perception concerning the definition of bioeconomy and its' future pathways. This is accomplished through a qualitative analysis of 14 thematic interviews conducted with actor network members in Finland. Regarding the concept of bioeconomy, their opinions differ broadly, ranging from seeing the concept as a Trojan horse, i.e. a new term for driving old political agendas, to a totally new way of organizing a sustainable future. We identified two alternative bioeconomy visions, of which the socio-ecological one is highlighted slightly more frequently, embedding the implementation of a circular economy and aiming at decoupling resource use from the economic benefits. Additionally, few interviewees considered the technological development pathway with increased resource efficiency to be a more likely outcome for the fiber-based packaging business. However, the simultaneous development of these two paths is envisaged most frequently, indicating that both social and technological innovations are mutually needed to create more sustainable packaging production and consumption patterns. We identified three characteristics of sustainable packaging: compatibility with the circular production-consumption system, satisfying heterogeneous consumer needs, and supporting sustainable lifestyles by extended material life cycles.

Keywords: Bioeconomy; Circular economy; Packaging; Sustainability; Future pathways (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2018.08.010

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