Interview Andy Sweetman, New Chairman of European Bioplastics End of April the industry association European Bioplastics elected their new board to be chaired by Andy Sweetman (Innovia Films), After his first 100 days in the job, bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke with Andy Sweetman. bM: What are your general thoughts about the association. Is it a development from a German to a European ‘thing‘ or is it even recognized and heard globally? AS: It is gratifying to see how European Bioplastics has transformed itself over the past 5 years from an essential national association in Germany, to become the voice of the Bioplastics industry on a Pan-European basis. During that time it has also witnessed significant growth from representing a small number of different companies and technologies into an association directly representing over 70 different companies and acting as the voice for the entire industry. Beyond that many other regions of the world look to European Bioplastics for advice and guidance on the growth and positioning of the Industry. In the board elections this spring we said goodbye to a number of board members who have overseen this transition from a small national organisation to a larger and truly European association. A special word of thanks must go to these people who have given so much of their personal time to allow this to happen. Obviously with so much change at once it can be difficult to maintain continuity. However at the same time it brings fresh views and a fresh drive to move things forward. What I am especially pleased about is that the new board directly represents the different types of company we have within the association. We have board members from companies manufacturing raw resins and polymers and others who process these into finished products; we have materials that are compostable but not necessarily renewable, and others whose interest is principally around renewability. This ensures all the different 'schools‘ are well represented. bM: What are your personal targets for the next one to three years? AS: I hope that my personal targets for European Bioplastics are closely aligned with the targets of the board and our membership, namely: • To ensure the different backgrounds of our member companies and their product streams are fully represented, regardless of whether one‘s focus is more on composting or renewability or a mixture of both. 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4
• To concentrate on providing tangible proof of the various benefits of bioplastics within the wider context of packaging and non-packaging applications. • To show the benefits of readily renewable raw materials. • To define the advantages of the various end of life options that bioplastics can bring. • To ensure that LCA methodology can also highlight the benefits of bioplastics more effectively. • To ensure that strong, clear and independent certification schemes are in place for both composting and for the measurement of biobased content. In particular to ensure the industry has an effective choice of providers for these schemes and that there is maximum compatibility behind the schemes offered by the different providers. bM: Where is the association going? AS: I think we must continue to grow within our European base, but at the same time strengthen our links with similar associations and stakeholder groups inside and outside of Europe. We already have good links with associations such as the Japanese BPS and the BPI in the United States. We have provided strong support to the recently formed Australasian Bioplastics Association, including the licensing of the seedling logo for their use ‘down-under‘. I‘d like to see us continue to proactively support similar activities in other regions. Realistically we will remain an essentially European organisation, but our position of expertise and leadership can extend much more widely in terms of supporting the activities of local associations around the world. bM: What do you think about bioplastics in the current economic situation? AS: These are tough times for any industry, the toughest I think any of us have ever known. Our industry is young and realistically most materials within the bioplastics world are still relatively low scale and higher cost. They are therefore unlikely to be part of the ‘value‘ lowest-cost categories that do best in a recession. However the issues of improving waste management and the needs of business to drive towards sustainability do not simply disappear because of a recession. What I think many of us are seeing is that retailers, brand owners and other companies almost see this as an opportunity to ‘get their ducks in a row‘ as we say in English; to prepare for the future and make intelligent, positive moves without having to necessarily rush into decisions this year. I think many of us will actually look back on this period as one when sales growth was less impressive, but when the foundations were built for real progress afterwards. bM: Thank you Mr. Sweetman - and good success … Order now! Hans-Josef Endres, Andrea Siebert-Raths Technische Biopolymere Rahmenbedingungen, Marktsituation, Herstellung, Aufbau und Eigenschaften 628 Seiten, Hardcover Engineering Biopolymers General conditions, market situation, production, structure and properties number of pages t.b.d., hardcover, coming soon. New Book! This new book is available now. It is written in German , an English version is in preparation and coming soon. An e-book is included in the package. (Mehr deutschsprachige Info unter www.bioplasticsmagazine.de/buecher). The new book offers a broad basis of information from a plastics processing point of view. This includes comprehensive descriptions of the biopolymer market, the different materials and suppliers as well as production-, processing-, usage- and disposal properties for all commercially available biopolymers. The unique book represents an important and comprehensive source of information and a knowledge base for researchers, developers, technicians, engineers, marketing, management and other decision-makers. It is a must-have in all areas of applications for raw material suppliers, manufacturers of plastics and additives, converters and film producers, for machine manufacturers, packaging suppliers, the automotive industry, the fiber/nonwoven/textile industry as well as universities. Content: • • • • • Definition of biopolymers Materials classes Production routes and polymerization processes of biopolymers Structure Comprehensive technical properties Comparison of property profiles of biopolymers with those of conventional plastics Disposal options Data about sustainability and eco-balance • • • Important legal framwork Testing standards Market players Trade names Suppliers Prices Current availabilities and future prospects Current application examples Future market development Bestellen Sie das deutschsprachige Buch für EUR 299,00. order at www.bioplasticsmagazine.de/books, by phone +49 2161 664864 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 11 • • • • • • • • • Order your english copy now and benefit from a prepub discount of EUR 50.00.