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Brussels, 18th October 2019
EPCA 53rd Annual Meeting in Berlin

More than 2500 delegates started writing together the next chapter of the European Petrochemical industry !

Over 2500 delegates, 14 speakers for 6 thematic sessions, 1172 users active on the Mobile App, 3 inspiring days of plenaries and workshops and one unique objective: writing together the next chapter of the European Petrochemical industry!
These are just some of the impressive numbers of the 53rd edition of the Annual Meeting of the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA), which took place from the 6th to the 9th October in Berlin and looked at how the European Petrochemical industry, in cooperation with its stakeholders globally, is reinventing itself to continue delivering sustained economic growth.
The 53rd Annual Meeting was opened by Marc Schuller, the President of EPCA and Executive Vice President at Arkema. In a powerful speech, Mr. Schuller reminded the delegates of the growing public concern over climate change and plastic waste, inviting industry leaders to ensure that the industry response is keeping up with the new sense of urgency and level of transformation required.
The Opening Session - dedicated to “The Petrochemical Value Chain Perspective to Driving Europe’s Growth” - unfolded between the interventions of Paul Romer, 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences, and two keynote addresses by Tom Crotty (Director at Ineos Group) and Patrick Labat (Senior Executive Vice President Northern Europe and Member of the Executive Committee at Veolia). Innovation to create a more circular economy and to tackle climate change was at the core of these keynote addresses. Highlighting the numerous initiatives led by their respective companies, the speakers insisted that cooperation and partnership along the value chain were essential to meeting these ambitious targets.                                            
This was followed by a panel debate involving these two captains of industry, Paul Romer and Ilsu Erdem Ari, Winner of the 2017 European Young Debating Competition (EYDC) European finals, who shared her perspective on these global trends.

Paul Romer, 2018 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, addressing the EPCA 53rd Annual Meeting audience

Be the sustainability leader you like to follow!
The concept of Sustainability Leadership was at the core of the Talents of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow session – titled Petrochemicals: An Industry where You Make an Impact!, which featured the keynote address of Stephen Hahn-Griffiths (Chief Reputation Officer at the Reputation Institute) who analysed the impact of Sustainability Leadership in the companies’ reputation. Prof. Wayne Visser (Holder of the BASF- Port of Antwerp - Randstad Chair in Sustainable Transformation at Antwerp Management School) presented the findings of the joint EPCA-Antwerp Management School, soon available on the EPCA website (
The following Panel Discussion included the two keynote speakers, Dr. Christoph Jäkel, (Vice-President Sustainability Strategy at BASF) who participated in the EPCA-Antwerp Management School research on individual sustainability leadership and Miranda Wang (Co-founder & CEO at BioCellection Inc.), a Silicon-Valley based innovative company that turns unrecyclable plastic waste into valuable chemicals. One advice for all: be the sustainability leader you would like to follow !

The Talents of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow session Panel Discussion, from left to right, Prof. Wayne Visser (Antwerp Management School), Stephen Hahn-Griffiths (Reputation Institute), Miranda Wang (BioCellection Inc.) and Dr. Christoph Jäkel (BASF)

The (digital) road to sustainability
The new format of the 2019 EPCA Annual Meeting introduced the delegates - for the first time - to an interactive Digital Café investigating the role of digitisation as an enabler for sustainability in the Petrochemical supply chain (and beyond).
The workshop aimed to explore the interactions between digitisation and sustainability, defined for this purpose as Circular Economy and Climate Change, allowing participants to share practices and solutions already in place and explore opportunities to contribute to greater sustainability in the sector.
More than 80 delegates took part to the exercise, sitting at round-tables and brainstorming with their peers over real examples and statements prepared by Prof. Ann Vereecke and her team of researchers at Vlerick Business School. The outcomes of the workshop will be summarized in a full report, available soon on the ECPA website.

Prof. Ann Vereecke (Facilitator, Vlerick Business School) and EPCA delegates brainstorming at the Digital Café.
We need more rails, we need them now!
The Logistics and Supply Chain session - dedicated to Investing in Infrastructure in Europe for Strategic and Sustainable Supply Chains” - looked at how reliable, smart, efficient and well-connected infrastructures like ports, railways, pipelines and corridors are crucial for the security of the supply of the European Petrochemical industry.
The planned increase of 30% in freight transportation in Europe on the horizon 2030 combined with the requirements of the Paris Agreement in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reduction by the same deadline impose a reality check on the state of the existing infrastructures.
Prof. Dr. Peter Klaus (Emeritus Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg), Jacques Vandermeiren (CEO & President of the Executive Committee at the Antwerp Port Authority), Bernhard Kunz (Managing Director at Hupac Group) and Clement Först (Spokesman of the Board at Rail Cargo Group) gave a comprehensive picture of the current infrastructure status in our continent,acknowledged the main challenges and outlined future prospects from a global perspective, claiming with one voice the need for more performant rail infrastructure and greater cooperation between the major players of the European Petrochemical supply chain.

The Logistics and Supply Chain session Panel Discussion, from left to right, Karin Helmstaedt (moderator), Clemens Först (Rail Cargo Group), Bernhard Kunz (Hupac Group), Jacques Vandermeiren (Antwerp Port Authority) and Prof. Dr. Peter Klaus (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)
A very special guest
Last but not least, Pascal Lamy (Chair of the Paris Peace Forum, Former Director General of the World Trade Organisation and Former EU Trade Commissioner) addressed the delegates during the Closing Lunch with an enlightening intervention covering growing environmental and geopolitical challenges and their impact on trade and the economy.
Finally, the EPCA President Marc Schuller joined Mr. Lamy to award the top 5 out of 10 Winners of the 2019 European Youth Debating Competition (EYDC) and closed the meeting inviting the delegates to join the EPCA 54th Annual Meeting in Budapest from 4th to 7th October 2020.
A detailed report will be published in the coming weeks on the EPCA website (

 The 2019 EYDC debaters and winners together with Marc Schuller, EPCA President; Caroline Ciuciu, EPCA CEO; Mark Williams, PlasticsEurope Vice-President and Ester Baiget, EPCA Vice-President.


The European Petrochemical Association (EPCA)

Based in Brussels, EPCA is the primary European Business Network for the global petrochemical business community consisting of chemical producers, their suppliers, customers and service providers. It operates for and through more than 700-member companies from 54 different countries. EPCA organises conferences and  events in Europe offering members all over the world the opportunity to meet industry leaders and selected external stakeholders and stay abreast of international market developments as well as technological and societal trends. EPCA also supports members on specific topics that underpin the sustainable development of the global petrochemical industry by developing knowledge via research projects with external partners (e.g. academic institutions and consultancies).


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