“Anticipate tomorrow’s market, act against unfortunate alternatives, and promote those innovations... "
After another successful day at the Bio-Based Live conference held in partnership with the University of Amsterdam we have learnt so much about product legislation, making feedstock from insects and sustainable fashion. The real question from the day however has been – what does ‘bio-based’ mean? How do we translate this to the consumer? And what ways can we explain our in-depth industry knowledge to both old and emerging markets? Looking to answer some of those questions were Danone, Mud Jeans, SEPPIC and Ynsect. More global leaders from across our industry have been explaining, debating and presenting their latest bio-based chemicals, products and brands in speaker appearances, dragons den sessions and networking opportunities. Here are some highlights to wrap up lively two days in Amsterdam.
“Legislation is aimed to improve the environment, stimulate competitiveness and enhance innovation. Innovation is the one central aim. Legislation is about finding new safer chemicals to replace older ones. We have to act against poor environmental alternatives.” Geert Dancet, Executive Director, European Chemicals Agency.
“Since 2012, the textile industry has really improved. There are more technologies now available which means that it’s cheaper and easier to start using bio-based technologies… We also need to go back a stage – is bio-based even the right term? It’s a little alien and we need something softer for the consumer. Is the consumer ready for the in-depth information that we speak about in the industry?” Sophie Mather, Material Futurist, Biov8tion representing the Textile Exchange.
“The word bio is confusing! CSR is important when thinking how best to address the social media generation; we need to produce a consistent story for our products and think about what we are trying to communicate. It’s not just about producing a bio-based product anymore.” Tuomas Mustonen, Founder and Managing Director, Paptic.
How will the way we communicate to consumers change over the next five years? “There are definitely new ways to segment the consumer. It is a difficult thing to change however, because the emerging bio-based market doesn’t fit into a certain category. Therefore, new marketing strategies are needed and more partnerships with competitors will be needed. Fortunately, sustainability and bio-based are now becoming buzz words.” Alla Feldman, Co-Founder, Alvico Concepts/Of the Islands.
“It is difficult for the textile industry because most of the materials we need aren’t bio-based and we don’t want to compromise on the quality of our products. However, there are a large number of innovations out there that we believe will be good in the future. Some innovations are still at their research stages and we are trying to invest in these companies but it remains a challenge.” Mattias Bodin, Sustainability Expert, Materials and Innovation H&M.
At the end of the day, Danone is a marketing company and the story is the most important thing. The second life product cycle is easier in terms of recycling and carbon footprint, but the first part is still very difficult to explain and summarise as part of that story.” Cedric Denver, Plastic Materials Development Manager, Danone.
“Regulation is still being used on existing materials. Paperfoam was not on this list because there was no guideline to test our products. We have learnt that it is hard for small companies to prove themselves against greater regulatory bodies because it is difficult to estimate where you will be in five to ten years’ time.” Mark Geerts, CEO, Paperfoam.
“Ynsect can be used for a range of applications such as 3D printing, nanocomposite, wound management and cosmetic. You can feed fish, poultry feed and pet food… Sustainability isn’t enough – lots of consumers don’t care! You need to go a step further – proof that your product works better than others.” Guillaume Daoulas, Product Manager, Ynsect.
“The solutions are already here – there are renewable forms of energy but beneath the roofs there are always ways to save energy.” William Sprangers, Commercial Manager, Synbra Technology
“Everyone likes the idea of recycling but they prefer to buy something new, so we are in a paradox. Therefore, we want to be the company that makes great jeans and feel like they’re doing good… We used our Instagram followers to give us a good idea about our customers.” Bert Van Son, CEO, Mud Jeans.
“We want to create a seamless, guilt-free packaging to work in so many consumer markets. We believe this is the future.” Daphna Nissenbaum, CEO & Co-Founder, Tipa Corp
"How do you communicate to consumers? We like to look at underlining the CO2 reduction. Our Bio-TCat BTX has an annual impact of removing 26 million km/year of automobile driving." David Sudolsky, President & CEO, Annellotech.
“Anticipate tomorrow’s market, act against unfortunate alternatives, and promote those innovations supporting the safe use of chemicals.” Geert Dancet, Executive Director, European Chemicals Agency.
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