New faces, same goals: first 60 speakers announced for Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020

New faces, same goals: first 60 speakers announced for Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020

December 16, 2019
Lloyd Fuller

Over the past six weeks, an unprecedented number of experts and companies worldwide – up and down the value chain and across multiple industries – have been submitting speaker proposals for Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020, taking place at Cologne Messe on 16-17 June

The launch event of Plastic Free World Conference & Expo, held in Frankfurt on 27-28 June 2019, attracted more than 460 delegates from companies such as Unilever, P&G, Nestlé, Volkswagen, IKEA, Honda, DHL, Tommy Hilfiger, Microsoft, Danone, Schwarz Gruppe and Coca-Cola, to name just a dozen.

With more than 100 speakers already confirmed for 2020 – 60 of which have been published online – contributors from the ‘call for speakers’ will now be scrutinized with the assistance of the six-person Advisory Board. This includes Kristy-Barbara Lange from European Bioplastics; Stephen Jamieson from SAP; David Newman from the Bio-Based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA); Ashley J. Holding from Fashion For Good; Siân Sutherland from A Plastic Planet; and Andy Sweetman from Futamura.

Just under 500 proposals were submitted by the 28 November deadline, from 46 countries globally covering the whole gamut of the value chain, confirming the clamor from people to take part in what has been a tremendous success for organizer Trans-Global Events.

“We’ve put 80% of the program together internally,” revealed Seb Sbuttoni, conference director. “We had more than 100 speakers for the launch event in Frankfurt in June and one of the reasons we decided to move the 2020 event to Cologne was because the Kap Europa simply wouldn’t have been big enough, certainly not based on the requests to participate from exhibitors. The feedback we received from everyone for a second instalment has been overwhelming.”

Almost 50 exhibitors are now confirmed for 2020, a virtual sell-out seven months in advance.

On the call for speakers, Sbuttoni continued, “We now have a massive database of senior-level industry professionals within the relevant sectors and it seemed prudent to extend the invitation to speak to a larger pool of people than we had for the launch conference. It was a beneficial exercise as we have had some innovative projects, concepts and business models submitted from companies such as Eastman, Vegware, the Food Packaging Forum, Henkel, DuPont, PepsiCo, Sabic and Covestro, to name just a few. We already lined-up 110 speakers via our own research, but we have had some real gems submitted from others who want to speak about their own innovations to curb our reliance on petroleum-based plastics, reduce plastic waste and create a circular economy in plastics.

“The response to Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 was beyond our expectations and I think people just understood and acknowledged what we were trying to achieve with the event,” Sbuttoni concluded. “The global plastics problem can only be resolved with everyone in the value chain heading in the same direction – towards the same goal, and you wouldn’t believe some of the positive reactions we’ve had from the ‘purported’ world’s biggest polluters, whether they be in food and packaging, fashion or retail. It’s great to have them onboard and I get a sense that they want to make a difference. This is a unique holistic approach to the global waste crisis, but ultimately all we’re doing is bringing together a load of innovative people with others who want to make a difference and putting them in the same venue for two days and hopefully some great things can happen, as they did at the first event.”

More than 800 delegates and 130 speakers are expected for round two. Let’s hope it’s another knockout success!

The full preliminary program will be published online at the end of January 2020.

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020 will take place at Cologne Messe, Germany, on Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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