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2024 SPEAKERS

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Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, European Commission 

Since May 2022 he is the Director in charge of Circular Economy in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Environment.

Between January 2014 and April 2022 he worked as the Director in charge of enforcement, cohesion and the European Semester in the same DG. Before that he was the Director for Equality in the Directorate-General for Justice since April 2011, in charge of equality and fight against discrimination, after having been the Director for Fundamental Rights and EU Citizenship within the same DG and in DG Justice, Freedom and Security since June 2009.

He joined the European Commission in 2009. He holds an LL.M. from the University of Illinois (US) and a Ph.D. from the University of Bucharest (RO).

Stefano Soro, European Commission

Stefano Soro was born in Genoa, Italy. He holds a degree in Management and Economics from Università Bocconi, Milan.
After working in the HR department of a multinational company, he joined the European Commission in 1994, serving in a variety of posts in Eurostat, the Enterprise and Industry DG, the Secretariat-General and the Health and Consumers DG, where from 2006 to 2011 he headed the unit responsible for non-food consumer safety. From 2012 to 2016 he was the Head of the "Medicinal products - quality, safety and efficacy" Unit and then of the “Animal nutrition, veterinary medicines” Unit.
Stefano joined the Internal Market, Industry Entrepreneurship and SMEs DG as Head of the "Food Industry" Unit in 2017. Since 2021 he is the Head of the DG’s Net Zero Industries, Sustainable and Circular Products Unit.

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Gloria Gabellini, PepsiCo 

Gloria is Director Environmental Policy for Europe at PepsiCo, where she works since 2016. She manages environmental policy issues including packaging sustainability and environmental labelling, supporting markets in Europe in the implementation of strategies involving these issues. She is also coordinating the works the EU public affairs team.  

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Gloria worked as a policy advisor on agricultural markets and trade at COCERAL, the EU association of grain traders where she also held the position of Deputy Secretary General.

Gloria has a Master in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Bologna and worked there as a research assistant on energy crops before moving to Brussels in 2009. She is since living in Brussels with her husband and two children.

Kim Ragaert, Maastricht University

Kim Ragaert is full professor at Maastricht University, holding the key domain chair of Circular Plastics within the department Circular Chemical Engineering (CCE). She leads a research group on Brightlands Chemelot Campus with 2 associate professors, 2 senior researchers, 4 assistant professors and 12 PhDs.  Research topics include concepts of quality for recycling, the macromolecular interactions in complex mixes, the effects of contaminations and degradation, design for & from recycling and the balance between different recycling pathways. Interdisciplinary topics include systems thinking for plastics, cost calculation in recycling and how to connect technical quality to LCA. 

Kim 's 2017 review paper on plastics recycling has been cited over a 2000 times, she was the 2020 European Plastics Recycling Ambassador and co-chair of the steering committee on the well-known 2022 ReShaping Plastics report. She consults for organizations like Plastics Europe, Plastics Recyclers Europe, CEFLEX and ECOS, and works closely with several industrial partners.

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Virginia Janssens, Plastics Europe

Virginia Janssens joined Plastics Europe as Managing Director in March 2020 with a clear mandate to help accelerate a solutions-driven approach, working towards the circularity and climate goals of a sustainable plastics industry. Building on eight years as Managing Director of EUROPEN, (the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment),

Virginia brings considerable experience in business-critical issues, engaging with different parts of the plastics value chain, and key EU policy priorities. Prior to EUROPEN, Virginia acquired her knowledge of the Brussels arena working for a leading public affairs consultancy on multi-sector clients including food, chemicals and energy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Political & Social Sciences from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and a second Master’s Degree in Intercultural Management from the ICHEC Business School in Brussels. Virginia is a mother of a young boy and lives in Ghent.

Francis Huysman, Valipac

 

Dr. Francis Huysman is a bio-engineer who earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences. After serving as an assistant at the Vlerick Management School, he joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Project Manager where he was involved in studies that resulted in the development of pioneering systems for the efficient management of packaging and packaging waste in Belgium. Joining Valipac in 1997 as the Operational Director, he assumed the role of Managing Director in 2017, steering the organization towards a new focus on circularity and developing Valipac further as the reference EPR system for C&I packaging in Europe.

Mark Roberts, Berry CPI

Mark Roberts has worked in the plastics recycling sector for more than 15 years and has a First-Class honours degree in Polymer Science and Technology. He was the Managing Director of a recycling business acquired by RPC (now Berry) in 2018 and now has a central role within Berry CPI with a broad-ranging brief to accelerate and deliver circular economy growth, including providing Technical and Regulatory leadership for the new cutting-edge recycling facility in Leamington Spa, a concept he first brought to the business back in 2019.

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Peter Voortmans, Borealis

Peter Voortmans is Global Commercial Director Consumer Products at Borealis in charge of Flexible packaging, Non-Woven, Extrusion coating and Distribution. He has been working since 1992 in the plastic and packaging industry and has extensive experience in a variety of strategic management and leadership positions. He holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Business Management complemented by additional training at IMD Business School in Switzerland and at the University of St Gallen in Austria.

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Sophie Louis, Kautex

Sophie joined Kautex in October 2022 as Global Energy and Sustainability Director. Before that she has more than 20 years of international automotive experience, last serving as the Senior Manager R&D (Powertrain Electrification) at Nissan Technical Center in Barcelona. In this role, Sophie held overall responsibility for coordinating the introduction of e-power hybrid technology in Europe. Prior to Nissan, Sophie worked at Volvo for almost 10 years where she held various roles in research development from environmental management to technical concept lead via quality insurance. During all these years, Sophie has cumulated extensive experience in electric mobility and sustainability.

Sophie holds a Master of Science from INSA Lyon (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon), France with a focus on Energy and Environment, as well as a Master in Business Administration from University of Cumbria, UK with a focus on Sustainability and Leadership.

Yavuz Eroğlu, PAGEV

PAGEV President, TOBB Plastics, Rubber and Composite Industry Assembly President, and SEM Plastik Board of Directors Chair. Yavuz Eroğlu was born in Istanbul on January 23, 1973. He received his bachelor's degree from the Istanbul Technical University Department of Electronics and Communication and has master's degrees from the Boğaziçi University Biomedical Engineering Department and the Marmara University Management Organization Department. He started his career in SEM Plastik, a family company. After working summers while a student, Eroğlu started full-time work at the company in 1996. He was in charge of production, sales and export in a company that grew quickly in the plastics industry and had remarkable achievements along the way. In 1997, he was responsible for the first export transaction in the industry. Eroğlu is also the Founder and Board of Directors Chair of SEM Global A.Ş. and Credoy Polymer. Under his leadership, SEM Plastik was named one of the top 100 fastest-growing companies in Turkey and the region by the Harvard University affiliate Allworld Network. His 2008 investment in Plastic Disposable Packaging in Palestine was the only manufacturing investment in the region and was cited by business guru Michael Porter in his “Shared Value” presentation as an example case. Yavuz Eroğlu is also the President of the Turkish Plastics Industry Foundation (PAGEV), the President of the TOBB Plastics, Rubber and Composite Industry Assembly, Board of Directors of EuPC (European Plastics Converters Association), President of Turkey, Middle East and Africa of the Waste Free Oceans Foundation, and Advisory Board Member of the MECC (Middle East Commercial Center). He gives regular lectures on the plastics industry, recycling, sustainability, packaging, trade finance, and entrepreneurship in various countries. He published a book titled "Geçmişten Geleceğe Plastikler Tarihi - History of Plastics" in Turkish to educate young children about plastics. Eroğlu is fluent in English and also speaks German and French. Yavuz Eroğlu has four children.

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Marco ten Bruggencate, DOW

Marco ten Bruggencate is the Commercial Vice President for Packaging and Specialty Plastics for EMEA, and is based in Horgen, Switzerland. He is also a vocal advocate for inclusion and diversity and is Co-Chair of Dow’s Women’s Inclusion Network & Executive Sponsor of the Disability Employee Network in EMEAI. Marco joined Dow in 2000 in the role of Commercial Manager Polyurethanes.

In 2007, he became Strategic Marketing Manager for Dow Building Solutions, before being appointed Product Director in 2011. As part of that role, he became the Chairman of the European Extruded Polystyrene Insulation Producers Association, EXIBA. In 2012, Marco assumed the role of Business Director EMEAI for Dow Building Solutions and in 2014 was appointed Global Business Director for Dow Construction Chemicals.

In 2017, he moved to Midland, MI, United States, as the Global Business Director role of Dow Building & Construction and subsequently became responsible for Global Strategy for the Polyurethanes Portfolio before assuming his current role. Marco earned his Masters degree in Business Economics at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

Jorge Cristino, APIP

Jorge Cristino is an Engineer and Master in International Relations, with a Postgraduation in Environmental Law, specialized in Development Cooperation and actually is PhD student in Public Policy. He currently works as a public manager in a state's business sector, in the environmental area and is also President of the Board of the General Assembly of Assimagra, member of the Board of Directors of the Portugal Mineral Resources Cluster and member of several strategic councils for Industry Decarbonization Roadmaps, where is coordinator of the Strategic Committee for the Plastic Industry Decarbonization Roadmap in Portugal.

He's also jury for the climate change indicator of the ECOXXI Municipalities Program – Green Flag and a member of the Mission Group for the recognition of Climate as a Common Heritage of Humanity, at the United Nations.

He is a guest member of the Advisory Board of the Guimarães 2030 Mission Structure, as well as the Mission Structure of the Development Ecosystem of the Leiria Region 2030. He is regularly invited as a specialist in initiatives forsustainable development and He’s also the author of the book “The Cities’ Mission to tackle climate change”, as well as several scientific and opinion articles.

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Erica Ross, BLUEALP

Erica Ross is the Commercial Lead at BlueAlp. She has over 14 years of experience working in sales, marketing, operations and strategy in Europe, the USA, and Latin America. Working in various industries, Erica has developed a great interest for sustainability solutions. In her current role, Erica’s focus lies in understanding the market needs for plastics to chemicals technology solutions and building a commercially and operationally successful link to the BlueAlp technology. She believes that through the right partnerships, together we can accelerate plastic recycling.

Ludo Debever, TEPPFA

Ludo Debever has served the plastics industry >35 years in various international management functions including operations, marketing, risk management, communication and finance. From 2001 until 2003 Ludo was general manager of the newly founded association EPPA. He held Board seats in EPPA (European Plastic Window profiles Association: 2007-2015) Federplast.be (The Belgian Federation of Plastic Converters: 2011-2017) and Recovinyl (2019-2021). Ludo joined TEPPFA as General Manager in April 2017. In 2019 TEPPFA introduced its new visual identity and in 2021 the new TEPPFA vision 2025 with a strong focus on circular economy and sustainability. Ludo holds a Master of Arts in Multilingual Communication from the University of Ghent (Belgium).

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Benoît Hennaut, EUPC

Benoît Hennaut, a nuclear engineer with a management degree from the University of Louvain, has held various management positions in construction and building since 1988. He worked with Ariston Thermo Group and Lafarge Group before joining Aliaxis Group in 2013, where he oversaw European building activities. Later, he presided over Nicoll Group's operations in France, Benelux, Morocco, and Greece. Hennaut has held leadership roles in industry associations like EUPC and POLYVIA, and he's Vice-President of AIMCC. He's also involved in regional employer federations and cyber security initiatives. Since 2020, he's been Chairman of the Management Board at HERIGE Group, focusing on societal and environmental issues such as circular economy, recycling, and CSR.

Bertrand Fillon, ECP4

Dr. B.FILLON is retired and he worked as Vice President of European Affairs of CEATech until October 2023. He is president of The European Composites, Plastics and Polymer Processing Platform (ECP4) and represents EuPC (European Plastic Converters) in the ECP4 Board. He is also the head of the scientific and strategic committee of the French Plastic Institute; he is scientific advisor of the French Polymer Group (GFP) in France. He is in the scientific committee of the OE-A (Organic Electronic Association). He is in the conference board of the LOPEC conference. He is Vice President of the MRSEI committee of the French Research Agency (ANR). He is involved in different European platforms and associations, and in different expert groups at international and national levels. He has been in the board of NANOfuture, EMIRI, 4M, etc… From 2016 to 2019 he worked as General Director of Research of the French Plastic Institute. From 2003 to 2016, he worked at CEA/LITEN as VP of European Affairs and program manager of renewable energy. From 1990 to 2003, he worked for Pechiney Packaging as coordinator of the Global Packaging R&D activities and leader of the Pechiney polymer expert group. Before, Dr Fillon worked for Orkem as a research engineer of polymer extrusion. He has a number of technical publications, books co-author and patents in the field of polymer packaging and processes.

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Robert Zlezarczyk, ORLEN UNIPETROL

Robert Zlezarczyk is Petrochemical Sales Director at ORLEN Unipetrol, Czech subsidiary of ORLEN Group. He is in charge of global sales of monomers, polymers (HDPE, PP), masterbatches, carbon black and DCPD. He joined ORLEN Unipetrol group in 2019 and has been working on different managerial positions since then. He holds a Master’s of Science in Engineering degree from the AGH University of  Krakow and the Executive Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Management from Stockholm University School of Business and Krakow University of Economics.

Lea Salihovic, EUMEPS

Lea Salihovic, our esteemed Policy Manager at EUMEPS, spearheads our dedication to sustainability and environmental responsibility within the EPS industry. With a keen legal acumen, Lea shapes our strategies to ensure alignment with the EU's Green Deal objectives, guiding resilient and compliant approaches. Her pivotal role extends to educating stakeholders on the manifold benefits of EPS in packaging and construction, highlighting its pivotal role in achieving a climate-neutral Europe. Recognized for its energy efficiency, recyclability, and cost-effectiveness, EPS stands as a cornerstone material, composed of 98% air and 2% material, underscoring its sustainability credentials.

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Antonello Ciotti, PETCORE EUROPE 

He has a long-term story as Dow Plastic employee in different roles mainly in the PET business as Global Commercial Director in Equipolymers and in plastic recycling as Sr. Business Development Director EMEAI in Dow Plastics & Specialty Plastic Recycling. Antonello is Past President and actually Deputy Chairman of Corepla, the Italian EPR scheme for plastic packaging recycling.

Rob Ingram, INEOS OLEFINS & POLYMERS EUROPE

Rob graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Chemistry. Between 1989 and 1998 he held various commercial roles in Exxon Chemical, and then Lyondell, before joining INEOS at the end of 1998. During the last 25 years with INEOS, Rob has held senior commercial positions in a number of different divisions within the group, before becoming the CEO of INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe in 2018, responsible for ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, polyethylene and polypropylene. In addition to responsibilities at INEOS, Rob also has an active role in key industry associations, being the Chairman of Petrochemicals Europe, and a member of the Steering Board of Plastics Europe.

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Francesca Siciliano Stevens, EUROPEN 

Francesca Siciliano Stevens is the Secretary General of EUROPEN, the European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment, comprised of companies representing the packaging supply chain and national packaging associations. An experienced public affairs professional, prior to joining EUROPEN, Ms. Stevens led Government Affairs and Business Development in the European region for global aluminium leaders Arconic and Alcoa, and held public affairs roles at Hyundai Motor Company, the Confederation of Italian Industry and Canadian aluminium producer Alcan. Ms. Stevens holds a degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Turin in Italy and a Master of Art’s Degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Warsaw, Poland.

Achim Grefenstein, AACHEN UNIVERSITY

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Achim Grefenstein, born in 1965, studied mechanical engineering at the technical university of Aachen/Germany where he finished his PhD in the area of plastics compounding. Until today, he teaches the subject “Plastics Compounding and Recycling” at the RWTH Aachen. Between 1996 and 2004 he worked at BASF SE in Ludwigshafen/Germany. From February 2004 to June 2013, he has been working as Director Corporate R&D for RKW SE in Frankenthal/Germany. Since July 2013 he is Senior Vice President Group R&D at Constantia Flexibles GmbH, Vienna/Austria. For the German Plastics Packaging Association (IK) he was from 2016 to 2019 chair of the working group “Bioplastics”. At EuPC he is Chair of the Packaging Division since March 2020 and at Recyclass/PRE he is member of the Advisory Board and the Technical Committee Polyolefin Films since July 2019. Since begin 2024 he works also as Scientific Director Circular Economy at the Institute for Plastics Processing at the RWTH Aachen University.

Oscar Garay, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC

Oscar has 15 years of working experience in renewable energy markets in South America and Europe. Oscar joined Schneider Electric Sustainability Business in 2017 being one of the pillars for the expansion of Schneider consultancy services in South America. In 2021, Oscar moved to Spain to lead the business development activities for the automotive sector in Europe for the Renewable Energy Advisory Services of Schneider Electric. Before joining Schneider Electric, Oscar worked as a consultant for several years advising renewable energy project developers to evaluate financially/regulatory/economically his client’s projects, as well as helping them to get financing from financial institutions. With expertise on both sides of the renewable energy arena (previously helping renewable energy sellers and now helping renewable energy buyers), Oscar understands the different stakeholders involved and can drive meaningful and successful negotiations that lead to win-win outcomes for both parties. Oscar holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Chile and a double master’s degree in Engineering and Policy Analysis from Technische Universiteit Delft in the Netherlands and in International Business from Harbin Institute of Technology in China.

Alexandra Tomczyk, ICIS

Alex is an Analyst, Plastic Recycling in EMEA at ICIS. She holds an MSc in Sustainability and is currently monitoring a mix of European markets, including DACH, Scandinavia, and central Europe.  In her five years working on plastics and recycling she has focused on changes in plastic and recycling legislation, the European plastics waste stream and virgin polymer demand (with focus on engineering plastics, polycarbonate and PMMA), polymers in flooring among other topics. Her specialist expertise lies in ocean plastics and ocean-bound plastics.
Alex is part of a global team of analysts and editors who deliver cutting edge data and analysis to the industry. Among a wide range of market insights and data analytics, ICIS offers recycled plastic pricing indexes, supply trackers, long term supply demand outlook for petrochemicals, training, and ongoing coverage of mechanical and chemical plastics recycling industries.

Bernard Merkx, EUPC

Bernard Merkx is a social entrepreneur who held several senior management positions in the internationational plastics recycling and plastics converting industry for nearly 25 years, before starting his own consultancy company, GreenWavePlastics. Bernard holds a degree in Business Administration (Polytechnics), is member of several international advisory committees and is co-author of several studies and booklets. Bernard is managing director of both Brussels based trade associations European Plastics Converters (EuPC) and European Single ply Waterproofing Association (ESWA). He is also among others CIO and Board of Directors Member of Plastix AS in Denmark, Honorary President of Plastics Recyclers Europe, co-founder of Waste Free Oceans Foundation and has a vast international network both in the public and private sector. Circularity has been a key driver throughout his career

Axel Martin, GOVAERTS RECYCLING

Axel Martin has been on board at Govaerts Recycling since 1993. He stood at the cradle of the Govaplast brand and, as CSO, he manages a sales team. He also determines the raw material procurement policy together with the buyer at Govaplast. Recycling plastic has become part of his DNA, so to speak, and his ambition is to continue to demonstrate with the Govaplast brand that recycling and quality can go hand in hand.

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