ESEIA Round Table at the 8th EPNOE International Polysaccharide Conference

ESEIA Round Table at the 8th EPNOE International Polysaccharide Conference

On 21 September 2023, ESEIA was pleased to welcome leading experts from policy, academia and industry to a round table discussion held during the 8th EPNOE International Polysaccharide Conference in Graz, Austria.

Titled On the way to climate-neutrality using Bio-based Materials, the ESEIA Round Table was one of the four engaging discussions organised under the umbrella topic of circular bioeconomy. Its main objective was to gather stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to discuss how bio-based materials can pave the way towards a greener, more sustainable future.

What role can bio-based materials play in tackling societal challenges? Can a circular bioeconomy approach help? Are there risks we should take into consideration? These were some of the questions addressed during the round table discussion.

The session started with the opening remarks by the ESEIA Director Brigitte Hasewend, who welcomed the attendees and emphasised the crucial role of European organisations in validating novel concepts, approaches and solutions that have the potential to reach the market and contribute to sustainable practices.

Then, the Head of Centre for Bioeconomy at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) Martin Greimel, who moderated the session, introduced the topic and the panel of speakers:

  • Industry: Jo-Ann Innerlohinger, Head of Funding, Monitoring & PMO at Lenzing AG, AT, who explained how Lenzing, one of the leading fiber producers worldwide, is tackling complex global challenges.
  • EU: Virginia Puzzolo, Head of Programme at Circular Bio-Based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU), BE (online), who introduced the partnership and how it supports research and innovation for sustainable bio-based solutions.
  • Science: Stefan Spirk, Associate Professor at the Institute of Bioproducts and Paper Technology at TU Graz, AT, who highlighted that partnerships are crucial for scaling up successful projects or solutions.
  • EPNOE: Carmen Freire, Vice-President of EPNOE, PT, who presented insights on the sustainable use of polysaccharides in material design.

After the presentations delivered by the panellists, an engaging and thought-provoking discussion took place. One noteworthy discussion point was social science and its role in enabling circular bioeconomy. The panellists agreed that consumers’ acceptance of innovation is crucial for promoting sustainable practices and achieving climate neutrality.

The four round table discussions, including the one organised by ESEIA, resulted in various opinions and outcomes, which will be summarised in a statement paper and shared with relevant stakeholders and the general public.

Thank you to our moderator Martin Greimel for guiding the discussion; to our panellists Jo-Ann Innerlohinger, Virginia Puzzolo, Stefan Spirk, and Carmen Freire for sharing their expertise and perspectives; to the attendees for their active participation; and to Pedro Fardim, President of EPNOE, Karin Stana Kleinschek, Vice-President of EPNOE, and other members of the organising committee of the 8th EPNOE International Polysaccharide Conference for such a successful event!

EPNOE International Polysaccharide Conference

The EPNOE International Polysaccharide Conference is a biennial event co-organised by ESEIA partner EPNOE Association and other organisations that brings together experts from academia and industry to discuss the latest advances in polysaccharide research. The 8th edition took place 17-22 September 2023 at TU Graz. You can find more information about the event here.