Finland is known for being ranked first in different essential categories, such as the good country index, cleanest country, world’s best air quality but most importantly world’s first national roadmap to circular economy. During the business delegation the importance of sustainable, innovative and local production was outstanding. Finland is revered for their technological advancement.
But how did Finland become such a remarquable tech hub? The beginning goes back to 2012 and 2014 where Nokia laid off more than 28,000, from which most of them took place in Finland. Nevertheless, Finland turned this pain into its very own gain. A great number of tech-affine people started their own business, while numerous major tech-companies shifted their operations to Finland. The outcome can be contemplated today – a well-working tech-ecosystem. Besides, Finland’s tech-affinity also roots in its high-quality educational system where the government ensures complementary studies. Additionally, key stakeholders like Business Finland are responsible for a broad range of sponsorship regarding research, development, as well as business foundation.
Another major event that influenced the Finnish economy is the decline of the paper industry, which gave access to many new resources such as cellulose and wood. These two significant happenings changed Finland’s economy and enabled an ideal environment for the textile industry.
A new kind of fibre – using textile waste and wood as a basis
Finland grows more forest than they harvest. In this ideal environment, one driver is the company Metsä Fibre who is currently focusing on new types of fibers that are based on textile waste and birch material. Another key player is Infinited Fibre who developed a new kind of fiber called carbamate, gained from plastic textile waste. A wet-spinning process that is similar to viscose production is used, nevertheless, while using less water consumption.
Smart Textiles particularly E-textile
Being a tech hub, Finland’s smart textile industry is also dominant. Here, Imagine is currently revolutionizing the way surfaces are perceived. They developed a sensing solution, a graphene coating, that is able to deliver real time valuable data extracted from large surface areas, giving actionable insights on structural health, stress, pressure, leaks and fire detection, asset monitoring as well as control surfaces, improving risk management, safety and productivity making our environment better and safer. How important different types of scents and aromas and their impact on your day and mood is illustrated by Aroma Bit. Having developed an odor imagine sensor, Aroma Bit makes it possible to convert virtually any odor as visualized patterns and is therefore revolutionizing the market.
The Smart Textiles Business Delegation to Finland enabled the participants to discover new technologies, approaches and circular business models. Strong connections between the Finnish and German participants have been created, new ideas have been shared, guiding the German market into a more sustainable and innovative direction.