Russia’s forests are known to be the largest in the world providing a huge potential for forest-based investments. What do you see as the major areas of the bioeconomy where Russia could play a role?
Indeed, Russia has vast forest-based resources. Around 220 million m3 of forest was harvested in 2020, about 30% of that volume remains unused. Additional potential accounts for over 400 million m3, however most of that volume remains in areas with poor accessibility. The cost of forest-based raw material is quite competitive in many regions of the country. This, together with governmental support measures, creates a good platform for future development of the sector.
I personally see the following potential areas where Russia can play a sizable role: bioenergy, biofuels (including liquid), bio-based materials and chemicals and bio-based textiles. Having significant forest resources Russia might become large player in the evolving market of Carbon Neutral Certification, Carbon credits, etc.
Currently Russia does not have a dedicated biostrategy. What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you think Russia will have a biostrategy at some point?
You are right – at the moment Russia does not have dedicated biostrategy. During last several years the focus has been on the Strategy of Development of Forest Complex up until 2030. On September 20th, 2018 this strategy has been ratified by the Government of Russian Federation Since then some parts were corrected and ratification of a new revision of strategy was carried out on February 11th, 2021 by Prime Minister Minshustin. The main point of the strategy is to double the contribution of the forest sector to the economy (GDP) by 2030. This to be done with increase of production volumes, but mainly focusing on value added bio-products.
As for Russian national Bio-Strategy definition, I would accept some development starting after 2025.
Dr. Sergey Malkov is one of the esteemed panelists joining the World BioEconomy Forum Roundtable.