Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2020

Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2020




€24.1 (2018) billion

Number of companies


Capital spending

€1,190 (2017) million

R&D investment

€478 (2017) million

Direct employees

33,700 (2018)

National contact

Chemical Industry Federation of Finland

Mika Aalto

Director General



Chemical industry snapshot

A growing industry

With revenues of €24.1 billion in 2018 and €12.3 billion of exports in 2018, the chemical industry is Finland’s second largest. It provides 19% of Finnish industrial output and exports.

Driven by innovation

Finnish chemical companies drive and create growth through the introduction of new, innovative products and services. And the sector has become relatively more important as other industries, such as electronics and forest products, have declined.

Ranging from oil refining to cosmetics

Output of the Finnish chemical industry ranges from chemicals and chemicals products, oil refining, pharmaceuticals, plastics and rubber products, paints and coatings, to detergents and cosmetics. Basic chemicals include water treatment chemicals, fertilizers, titanium dioxide and polyolefins.

Underpinning other sectors

Chemicals are a vital enabler of other Finnish industrial sectors, notably machinery and metal products, electronics, and pulp and paper.

Clustering in the south and west

The Finnish chemical industry directly employs approximately 33,700 people. There are major chemical clusters in Southern and Western Finland, in Porvoo (oil refining and petrochemicals), and the Turku area (pharmaceuticals, oil refining), while a high-tech chemical cluster is found further north at Kokkola.

Investing in renewal

R&D spending hovers around €480 million and averages 2.0% of revenues.

Investment in the chemical industry, largely replacement investment, totalled approximately €1,190 million in 2017.

How are we doing?


  • Well-educated and highly skilled labour force
  • Good collaboration with universities
  • Very good research and university structure
  • Good physical and social infrastructure
  • Operational efficiency and safety
  • Ability to satisfy sophisticated consumer demands
  • Specialisation
  • Strong mining industry potential, especially in the battery value chain
  • Large resources of forest
  • Location next to Russian markets, knowledge of Russia
  • Location next to Arctic sea routes, knowledge of the Arctic
  • Small and compact market for testing
  • Positive public attitude towards the industry


  • High energy and logistics prices
  • Location on the Northern edge of Europe
  • Lack of road connection to Central Europe/reliance on sea transport
  • Strong reliance on imported raw materials
  • Pressure to increase taxes and fees due to public sector financial deficit

Our contribution to a competitive Europe

Developing sustainability

Finland does not follow sectoral industrial policies. However, the chemical industry benefits from a national bio-economy strategy and growth strategies for health sector research, development and innovation activities (RDI), published in 2013. A national roadmap for circular economy development was published in 2016 and updated in 2018. Industrial sectors including the chemical industry are preparing sector-based carbon neutrality roadmaps.

As an enabler of all other industrial sectors, the chemical industry is highly integrated into other sectors, and smart specialisation is a natural way for a small country such as Finland to compete and succeed amid global competition.

Going green

Low-emission and renewable fuels, water treatment, circular economy solutions including closed-loop industrial processes and use of waste- based raw materials all offer growth opportunities.