Keynote: Climate Change

The New Plastics Economy (0.75 CEU)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
14:00 – 14:45
Ballroom I & II

The Speakers will present the New Plastics Economy Initiative: an ambitious, three-year initiative to build momentum towards a plastics system that works: a system that will capture material value and contribute to improved economic and environmental outcomes, notably, reduced leakage of plastics into the ocean and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Applying the principles of the circular economy, the Initiative brings together key stakeholders to rethink and redesign the future of plastics, starting with packaging. The initiative is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with a broad group of over 40 leading companies, city authorities, philanthropists, policymakers, academics, students, NGOs, and citizens.

Plastics have become one of the most fundamental materials for industry and for everyday life. They offer great functional benefits at low cost. Along with the many benefits that plastics bring to society, we also see that there are some drawbacks. Current plastic material flows are still very linear.

As the majority of packaging items are used only once before being discarded, it is estimated that 95% of its value, USD 80–120 billion, is lost from the economy each year.

The latest Initiative report entitled “The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action”, builds on the findings of the previous report and provides a clear roadmap of priority actions for 2017. It is the first report to provide a clear transition strategy for the global plastics industry to design better packaging, increase recycling rates, and introduce new models for making better use of packaging.


Gary Crawford, VP International Affairs, Public Affairs Department, Veolia, France

Gary Crawford

Gary Crawford is employed by Veolia as vice president of international affairs. He is based in Veolia’s corporate headquarters in Paris, France. He has more than 25 years of experience in the waste industry and has held various operational, technical and managerial positions. He is responsible for establishing active partnerships with key global stakeholders and institutions to support the company’s current activities and developing business. He is focused on emerging growth markets associated with cross-cutting subjects, such as the circular economy, climate change and smart and sustainable cities. He also is responsible for identifying new business models for developing economies that deliver sustainable development benefits and business value. Previously, he was the vice president of sustainable development for Veolia Environmental Services (VES). He led an international team that was responsible for the development and implementation of the corporate health, safety, and environmental policies, programmes and initiatives. His team also provided support and expertise to VES’s world-wide business units on carbon management and the execution of sustainable development projects. Mr. Crawford is a member of the Board of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) and is chair of the ISWA Working Group on climate change and waste management. Representing ISWA, he is a member of the Steering Group and Lead Partner of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Municipal Solid Waste Initiative. Mr. Crawford received a Bachelor’s degree in geology from Cook College, Rutgers University, and a Master’s degree in engineering geology from Drexel University in the U.S.

Rachel Goldstein, Global Sustainability Director, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Mars, Incorporated, Virginia

Rachel Goldstein

Rachel Goldstein is the Global Sustainability Director for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Mars, Incorporated. Her roles include leading packaging sustainability, implementing programs on sustainability-related claims, and acting as the sustainability SME for the Global Horizon Scanning capability at Mars. Rachel also engages externally on behalf of Mars, representing Mars as the co-chair of the Food Beverage and Agriculture working group of the Sustainability Consortium; co-chairing the Forest Products working group of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition; and leading Mars’s engagement in the New Plastics Economy. She has recently joined the Board of Directors for GreenBlue. Prior to Mars, Ms. Goldstein was the Team Leader of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP), a voluntary program that encourages methane emissions reductions through the capture and beneficial use of landfill gas. She was also the lead for this work in India, China and Southeast Asia under the Global Methane Initiative. Ms. Goldstein spent eleven years in the environmental, safety and health field before joining EPA. Ms. Goldstein has an MBA with an Environmental Management Concentration from The George Washington University, and a B.S. Human Factors Engineering from Tufts University.

Michiel De Smet, Project Manager, New Plastics Economy, Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation, United Kingdom

Michiel De Smet

Michiel De Smet is a project manager in the New Plastics Economy team at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. He leads the work on engaging policymakers and international institutions, to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy for plastics. Previously, Mr. De Smet consulted management executives in both private sector, working at McKinsey & Company, and social sector, through the OnPurpose leadership program. He also has experience with fundamental research, holding a Ph.D. degree in mathematical logic (Ghent and Bristol University), and with the thrills of beekeeping.