Purposeful and safe jobs and links between, in rural and urban regions

In 2040, the forest-based sector is an attractive employer, known for providing meaningful and safe jobs in rural as well as in urban regions. It is well known for developing the skills of its workers and managers and has significantly increased the number of employees involved in different aspects of research, development and innovation activities.


Growing the forest-based sector through creative jobs

Activities related to research, creative design and communication are becoming increasingly important as the forest-based sector enters new markets, and shorter production cycles become more common. Fashion designers, engineers, and researchers with experience from other sectors and disciplines will be needed when the forest-based sector develops new cross-sectoral partnerships. New jobs will also be created in the area of biobased construction solutions if the sector can increase awareness about biobased building systems, and develop state-of-the-art training and educational programmes for architects, property developers and local authorities. Digital design tools should ideally be easy to use and intuitive.

Examples of innovation activities

  • Organize design competitions to attract talent and identify new market opportunities
  • Identify business models for co-operation between companies and independent individuals with creative talent
  • Develop models for co-operation between architects, property developers and local authorities on biobased building systems


Creating job opportunities along the value chain through proactive management of small forest ownerships

New innovative business concepts are needed to make active management of smaller forest holdings more economically interesting, and thereby create new jobs for forestry entrepreneurs and in industries downstream.

Examples of innovation activities

  • Develop digital tools to support small-forest owners in forest management and co-operation
  • Develop tools for visualizing the balance between forest production and other ecosystem services
  • Develop tools for visualizing the long-term effect of different forest management strategies


Developing new marketplaces and jobs in response to changing consumer trends

New emerging market and consumer trends are likely to accelerate and have significant impact on society in 2030-2040. New jobs can be created if the sector adapts to the socio-technological changes and is innovative enough when developing new business models. The trends towards the ‘social economy’ and collaborative consumption’ offer new marketplaces, as do internet retailers. Increased use of packaging and transportation services, and a decrease in classified advertisements and print media, means a steep drop in business for shopping centres and physical stores. Sustainable consumption patterns and consumer awareness will most likely benefit the forest-based value chain.

Examples of innovation activities

  • Investigate market changes emerging from altered consumer behaviour in the digital era
  • Develop business models that meet the needs of digital citizens
  • Develop business models that support sustainable consumption patterns and consumer awareness


Adapting job offers in an era of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The use of AI and digital automatization has the potential to create radically new opportunities for humankind. However, society has so far underestimated the speed at which job opportunities will be lost to automatization and digital solutions. The transport and service sectors will be particularly impacted, as many jobs involving repetitive physical tasks (e.g. packaging, sorting and quality control) will be replaced by digital services and autonomous machines. This will lead to many people losing or leaving jobs because their positions are no longer necessary or because of insufficient work. The forestbased sector should be at the forefront of this megatrend, offering continually evolving work that creates work satisfaction and higher added value.

Examples of innovation activities

  • Identify job sectors that will likely be replaced by digital services and autonomous machines
  • Investigate matching opportunities between jobs lost and new competencies needed
  • Develop models for co-operation with digital businesses and service providers to secure market positions


Improving operator safety and ergonomics

Although new technologies and general concern for workers’ safety and well-being have successfully reduced the frequency of accidents and injuries in the European forest-based sector, many jobs still come with significant occupational risks. The processes for identifying the causes of accidents, establishing the need for preventive measures, and providing feedback for those involved in prevention services are constant, and these require the involvement of workers themselves, industry representatives, government agencies and insurance companies.

Examples of innovation activities

  • Develop safer machinery and personal protective equipment through novel design
  • Further automate and digitalize hazardous work task
  • Develop new, innovative ergonomic solutions