Ten years ago I was part of a group that decided to establish a new discussion forum in Finland, focusing on the sustainable use of natural resources and the role of bioeconomy. The idea was to offer a platform for finding solutions for important societal issues and formulate long term future development guidelines.

Another goal was to promote Koli National Park, located in North Karelia, as a place for top level meetings, to be a kind of Finnish version of Davos. The higher you are, the further you are able to see. This was the reasoning why Koli – the highest place in the southern part of Finland, known as the Finnish National Landscape – was selected for the venue.

The first Koli Forum events took place in 2009, 2011 and 2013. These events were financed through various grants and other aid from different foundations and funding agencies. These first conferences turned out to be successful, and in August 2014, it was decided to establish a Koli Forum Association to be responsible for organizing the future events as well as developing other activities.

When now taking the role as a chairman of the board, I am happy to acknowledge that Koli Forum has become an active platform and network dealing with timely and crucially important questions facing the European bioeconomy. It has managed to gather a very representative crowd of high level business executives, politicians, decision makers, researchers and leaders from cultural circles from all around the world. All these people come together at Koli Forum to discuss about the sustainable use of natural resources and the bioeconomy as well as innovations needed to put ideas into practice.

Last year’s Koli Forum event was focused on circular economy as we were part of the first World Circular Economy Forum. This year we will organize two smaller events on the role of forests from the point of view of the overall wellbeing of both humans as well as the climate. We are also busy planning our next year’s 10th anniversary Koli Forum event which will take place in fall 2019.

In the nearest future we want to actively take part in updating the European Union’s Bioeconomy Strategy by offering international decision makers a neutral discussion forum based on scientific research results. In 2019, Finland will hold the EU Presidency for the third time, and the sustainable use of natural resources and strengthening of the bioeconomy will be high priority issues on the agenda.

I strongly feel that Koli Forum will become an increasingly important player taking part in the international discussions around the sustainable forest-based bioeconomy and circular economy. We will be evaluating, questioning and challenging the present operating models and actively seeking for new innovative solutions that guide societies towards truly sustainable development while at the same time strengthening their economic competitiveness.

Pentti Hyttinen, Chairman of the Board, Koli Forum Association

The new Chairman of the Board Pentti Hyttinen has been active in Koli Forum all the way from the beginning. The above picture is from Koli Forum 2013 (Pentti in the front, right side).

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