Innovative business models help to create new jobs and are a basis for a competitive and green European industry. The forest-based sector offers a broad range of businesses from the area of ecosystem services towards traditional consumer goods and bioenergy generation. Businesses aimed at broadening feedstock resources and the development of new CO2-neutral products and services, which substitute fossil-based products, increase the sector’s contribution to tackling the effects of climate change.
State of the Art 2012
Monetary evaluation of externalities is largely nonexistent in the forest-based sector at present. Business operations are traditionally business-to-business and research typically plays a minor – if any – role in the business of large operators. Expansion and improvement of raw material resources and logistics, multi-product and service concepts are emerging along the forestry-wood chain. The shift from traditional businesses towards cross-sector models results in novel products and services.
Expected achievements by 2020
Successful cooperation models make it possible to offer ‘soft’ forest values, i.e. the social and environmental benefits of forests, to the ‘consumer market’. New concepts for economic evaluation of ecosystem services and externalities will be developed and are starting to be implemented. Joint ventures and company clusters are formed around existing mills validating side-streams, by-products and new raw materials. In some cases a total conversion or repurposing of mills will take place. New services will be offered to customers of traditional and new products. Harmonised data exchange along the supply chain and between stakeholders will increase sector performance. Business models will be based on consumer and end-user perceptions. Interactive communication will play an important role in (e-)commerce.
Required Research and Innovation Activities
A. Develop new concepts for economic evaluation of ecosystem services, externalities and marketing as well as advanced business models incorporating potential climate change impact in management decisions.
B. Develop foresight methodologies to predict market changes and consumer behaviour and create business models that target evolving consumer needs and behaviours.
C. Develop strategies for marketing dwellings and houses and after-sales services taking into account consumers’ expectations and preferences for building with wood.
D. Develop new business tools and interfaces to interact with consumers of final products and the do-it-yourself home improvement segment.
E. Develop ‘emotional’ computer applications for shopping experiences and IT integration on cognitive influences and rational decision making processes. Create virtual environments for controlled simulation of the effectiveness of shopping experience.
F. Conduct standardisation and pre-normative research in ICT applied to the forest-based sector for improving information exchange, business-to-business models and consumer perception and interaction.
G. Research new business models between local communities of forest owners, forest operators and industries for the creation of new value chains.
H. Create business models based on opening up the raw material pool and conversion of traditional mills to new markets.