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Swedes most positive about new products from forest resources

In an international comparison, Swedes stand out as the most positive about a more cellulose-based society, a transition that is necessary for a sustainable future. From an international perspective, however, this development appears to provoke strongly polarized reactions. The view of the forest and its role in our society touches us, and awakens strong feelings around the world. This is revealed in the report Innventia is presenting today. In the report, 2,500 consumers from five countries have had their say on how best to arrive at a more sustainable and circular society.

Innventia Global Outlook: A Cellulose-Based Society
Innventia Global Outlook: A Cellulose-Based Society

In the report “A Cellulose-Based Society”, Innventia focuses on the conditions for a vital social transformation – from a fossil-based and linear society to a biobased and circular society. In cooperation with Kairos Future, 2,500 consumers from Sweden, the United States, China, Germany and Brazil were asked about their thoughts and attitudes to sustainability, the environment, materials and impact.

Overall, there is a huge desire among consumers to shop in an environmentally responsible way. And it is through their consumption and lifestyle choices that people see the best opportunity for directly impacting on the development. Another view that unites all countries is that “creating more effective material recycling systems” is highlighted as by far the best measure for making the world more sustainable; this is in competition with eleven other measures such as “Tax CO2 emissions harder”, “Invest in new energy sources”, “Ban environmentally harmful substances in products” or “Tax travel and transportation harder”.

“At Innventia, we are working for a biobased, circular economy based on materials from the forest,” explains Birgitta Sundblad, President of Innventia. “Cellulose has a number of applications, from paper and packaging to modern materials in our buildings and cities. When the natural building block of cellulose is used in the service of people, things start to get really interesting: cosmetics, food, clothing and medicines are just some of the opportunities we see. This is what we call A Cellulose-Based Society.”

A future in which the forest becomes a more important resource in the manufacture of materials and products seems to be strongly polarizing. The view of the forest and its role in our communities touches us, and awakens strong feelings, and the differences between countries are huge. In Sweden, a large majority are positive about such a development. Even in the USA, positive reactions are in the majority, but in Germany, Brazil and China about half of those surveyed are more critical and concerned about what a move towards a more cellulose-based society would mean.

“The industry is facing a significant communicative challenge,” says Birgitta. “Consumers want to understand the significance of the bioeconomy and do the right thing, but those of us who develop and produce new biobased solutions need to get better at both explaining how they affect the planet and communicating the sustainability aspects.”

“The consumer survey clearly shows that we are aware that our lifestyle is affecting the planet. But we are unsure about what exactly we should do about it. The survey and trends show overall that the really successful brands and organisations will be those with the ability to actually demonstrate ground-breaking ideas and concepts in reality for consumers. The attitude to what is possible and desirable will then change. We call this the Demonstration Economy and understanding this is the key to social transformation,” says Marco Lucisano, Innventia.

About the report

The Global Outlook 2016 report contains an international survey, a global analysis and future scenarios. The survey was distributed digitally at the start of 2016 to 2,500 people between the ages of 16 and 88 in five countries (500 respondents per country in Sweden, Germany, the United States, Brazil and China).

About Innventia

Innventia is a world-leading research institute that works with innovations based on forest raw materials. Our business concept is to generate and refine research findings and ideas based on forest raw materials for the benefit of customers throughout the value chain. We call this approach boosting business with science. Read more about us at

About Kairos Future

Kairos Future is an international consulting and research company that helps businesses and organisations to understand and shape their futures. We provide our customers with the big picture using trend and business intelligence analyses, innovation and strategy. Read more about us at

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  • 62% of Swedes say they are positive about development towards a more cellulose-based society. 31% say they are upset, angry or worried.
  • A clear majority in all countries believe that consumers themselves have the greatest responsibility for the environment through their consumption and lifestyle choices.
  • People in Brazil are most concerned about environmental issues (76%). Sweden is least concerned about this on an international comparison (26%)
  • Swedish consumers are in third place on the question of buying environmentally friendly alternatives. At the top come China (48%), Brazil (46%), Sweden (21%).
  • Consumers in Brazil have the worst consciences (41%) when they don’t shop in an environmentally-friendly way (China 34%, USA 17%, Sweden 14%, Germany 4%). 
  • 51% of Swedes say that the material played a role in their latest purchase (China, with 80%, followed by Brazil, with 74%, rank even higher). 
  • The material that consumers in all countries say they want to avoid most is plastic. Most valued are natural materials such as wood and wool.