During 3/4 December, already for the 14th time, the European Bioplastics Conference opened its doors in Berlin bringing together 400 senior executives from across the bioplastics value chain. The participants included brands, policy makers, academia, producers and NGOs. After another year of innovations, and with bioplastics still high on the political agenda, it was not surprising that the conference, once again, lived up to its reputation as the leading business and networking platform for the global bioplastics industry.
In a packed and sold-out conference hall, François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics (EUBP), set the scene for the upcoming exciting presentations and discussions of the next two days. Reflecting on the highlights of the past year, de Bie said: ”European Bioplastics and the entire bioplastics industry is looking back at yet another successful year with outstanding and inspiring innovations”. With regards to his expectations for the next year, he added: “It is a pivotal time for our industry, as the European Union is serious in developing from a linear to a circular economy. This provides us with a unique growth opportunity. The new EU Commission recently announced a Green Deal for Europe, and bioplastics will play a crucial role in helping to achieve it”.
During the conference’s policy session, a week before the official publication of the Commission’s European Green Deal on 11 December, Werner Bosmans from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment, gave a detailed outlook on the initiatives stemming from the Circular Economy Action Plan as well as the Plastics Strategy. Accordingly, it became clear that also under the new EU Commission, plastics remain to be high on the political agenda. Bosmans explained that the Commission aims at further developing the framework for bio-based as well as biodegradable and compostable plastics. In the course of his presentation, he drew a comprehensive picture of the many planned activities to be conducted over the next years. Danone Water’s Philippe Diercxsens provided an industry perspective on the EU’s policy on plastics and articulated the need for more coherence between the individual Commission activities.
Another highly anticipated session was the presentation of the 2019 market data shared by Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of EUBP: “In an increasingly environmentally conscious climate, the global market for bioplastics is predicted to grow by more than 15 percent over the next five years“, said von Pogrell. “This trend is possible thanks to the steadily increasing demand for sustainable products by both consumers and brands alike and the continuous efforts of the bioplastics industry to develop innovative materials with improved properties and new functionalities”, he added. According to the latest data, the global bioplastics production capacity is set to increase from approximately 2.1 million tonnes in 2019 to 2.4 million tonnes in 2024.
The 14th European Bioplastics Conference is over, but we are already looking forward to next year’s conference. The 15th conference edition will take place on 1/2 December 2020 at the SAVOYEN Hotel in Vienna, Austria.