PolyTalk 2014 Promotes European Industrial Renaissance
On November 4 and 5, the two-day conference PolyTalk 2014 organized by PlasticsEurope took place in Brussels, Belgium. Under the heading “European Industrial Renaissance…Let’s make it happen”, the summit gathered more than 300 high-level representatives from the worlds of industry, politics, science, academia and media and kicked off with thought provoking visions of the future by renowned economist, Jeremy Rifkin, and leading academic, James Woudhuysen.
The main theme at the summit was the acknowledgment that there is no sustainable future without a competitive manufacturing sector. “The European plastics industry is a strategic pillar of the manufacturing sector in Europe, with a huge capacity for innovation and a knock-on effect on other key areas of the economy. We are determined to invest in Europe’s future and work with policy makers and other key stakeholders to shape a sustainable growth roadmap for the European plastics industry in Europe.” said Patrick Thomas, President of PlasticsEurope and CEO of Bayer MaterialScience.
Karl Falkenberg, Director General of DG Environment at the European Commission acknowledged that Europe is at a disadvantage vis-à-vis other regions with regard to access to resources. He argued that: “we have to make our weakness our strength. The only way to maintain a competitive industry in Europe is if we can produce goods and services in a more energy and resource efficient manner and think in terms of the circular economy.”
While there was general agreement on the objectives of the circular economy and a vision of a low carbon economy in the future, a number of speakers were concerned that they should not distract attention from the need for urgent measures to ensure the survival of European industry in the short-term. A recurring theme was that Europe cannot achieve its climate and environment goals without the effective support of a competitive manufacturing sector.
Related topics under discussion at PolyTalk 2014 included: the prospects for shale gas exploitation in Europe, challenges and opportunities for plastics recycling; the potential benefits of regulatory convergence in a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and helping universities equip graduates with the skills needed by business.
The conference also provided a snapshot of some of the most exciting innovations being developed by the plastics industry in Europe today – from high performance sports equipment made in the Alps to cutting edge technology capturing CO2 and re-using it as a raw material for flexible polyurethane.
PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V.
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