For the second time, Paper Province has succeeded in achieving “gold” level of an internationally recognized certification. The award is the principal quality label that a cluster management can receive and means that Paper Province ranks as one of the best business clusters in the world.
The Cluster Organisation Management Excellence Label Gold, "Gold Label" in short, is an international certification for clusters. It was established by the European Commission and presently 119 organisations globally - from 18 countries - can call themselves gold clusters. In Sweden, there are only three.
Paper Province was awarded the Gold Label for the first time in 2018, and has now, after an extensive evaluation, struck gold again.
"This means that we belong to the top tier of clusters globally", says Paul Nemes, Deputy CEO at Paper Province.
Gold Label contributes to the visibility and positioning that Paper Province strives for in the forest-based bioeconomy.
"It is not only a prestigious rating for us as an organization - but also for our member companies and supporting stakeholders such as Region Värmland County Council, participating municipalities, and funders like Sweden's innovation agency Vinnova. We all won gold together," says Paul Nemes.
The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis, ESCA, is the network of cluster experts that evaluates and qualifies organisations at bronze, silver, or gold level.
ESCA states, among other things, that Paper Province is an important player in the emerging forest-based bioeconomy. To be recertified, the cluster also needs to show major improvements that have developed the cluster and the industry that it represents, in this case the forest sector.
"We surpassed the threshold by a good margin. Some of the things we have improved since the last round are our strategy process and our visibility nationally and internationally."
This is for instance noticable by the fact that Paper Province has achieved its long-stated goal of obtaining funding from the EU's Horizon 2020 program, the world's biggest investment in research, innovation, and sustainable development. The increased visibility has also generated more requests to be part of innovative projects with other strong clusters in Europe.
The Gold Label certification is valid until 31 January 2023.