Statements from Antonello Ciotti and Stephen Short (PETCORE-Europe)
Statement from the PETCORE-Europe’s President – Antonello Ciotti
Dear Members of PETCORE-Europe, Associates and Business Colleagues,
I am taking the baton from Stephen Short with a lot of enthusiasm for the work done so far, and at the same time with a clear awareness on the increasing challenges ahead of us.
The ecological transition is requiring changing completely our mindset, moving from fossil feedstock to renewable ones represents a cultural revolution, but while we are all in agreement with the WHAT should be achieved, we struggle to understand HOW as many of the actions of the incoming legislation related to the plastics sector seems still depending more on ‘plastic free ideology’ than on technical evaluation, as example proper LCA analysis of the various proposed alternatives.
Due to this evolution, we need to reinforce the number and the activities of the various working groups as they will bring proper ammunitions to our Communication that is and will be even more relevant in defending our sector and defining our success.
Moreover, we need to reinforce and to evaluate all the synergies with the various members of PETCORE in order to increase the alignment and by this the power of our Communication.
With these ideas in my mind, I am starting my term counting on the support of each of you to even improve the fantastic job done so far.
Last but not least, a big personal hug to Stephen that has been carrying over and deeply improving the organization in the last three years of stormy waters.
We will have time to properly celebrate him during our next Conference in June 14/15, where I count on meeting all of you in person!
Stay safe, stay tuned
Statement from the PETCORE-Europe’s Ex-President – Stephen Short
Dear Members of PETCORE-Europe, Associates and Business Colleagues,
On Wednesday 2nd February 2021 at the PETCORE AGM it was my honour to address the Assembly. I confirmed my tenure as President PETCORE-Europe was terminating and that through the process of nomination I was pleased to pass on to the President Elect Mr Antonello Ciotti (CPME), a fellow associate that I have known for many years.
In the wake of this change I wish to take the opportunity to express my appreciation for the last 3 years, all the support I have received, and the comradery enjoyed, through what has been quite a period of challenges and experiences.
2019 I took over the Presidency from Ms Paola Arlotti (CPME) another associate I knew for many years and had been instrumental in the renewal of PETCORE-Europe. My thanks for the work she had made, which made it easier for me to continue.
The first learning which I do believe is not fully understood by everyone is the difference between the vertical and the horizontal Trade Associations. Although all have common vision, operationally they are very different. Horizontal representing a specific sector, for instance conversion or recycling, whereas the vertical, and this is where PETCORE stands, focuses on all the links in the value change (all sectors) for one product, to ensure the product throughout the chain has a public platform and visibility with common vision. In summary as President of PETCORE one must become neutral and non-prescriptive in opinion, ensuring all sectors have a voice and appreciated. From this algin the organisation and achieve common objectives. This is easier said than done, however necessary for the success of any vertical Trade Association.
Initially an Association of Associations in 2014, PETCORE-Europe has opened up to individual company subscription and now has more than 120 full members. Initially administration was subcontracted. Now that the Association has grown in stature and maturity the need to handle its own administration management has been achieved. A move to a new office close to the EU Commission at Montgomery, Brussels was made in 2019. From an operational staff of two PETCORE has now two full time employees and serval consultant contractors equivalent to a total of 5-6 full time equivalents. Significant change and one that I see as the establishment of a very robust organisation.
With European Plastic Strategy established and the requirement to move from Linear to Circular business models, single use plastic became a difficult concept to defend. Plastics had a bad reputation and poor appreciation in the market, accused of being a main contributor to waste and negative environmental impact. The European Commission decided best directive was to establish the “Circular Plastics Alliance” (CPA) which was to have industry determine its own direction to change mode of operation. PETCORE engaged fully as the value chain representative for PET in the CPA at the start and remains principle especially in the Monitoring and Design for Recycling programs. I can say for myself and Christian Crepet, Executive Director, this became the priority for us in year one of the tenure and remains a high priority today. From the CPA, the Single Use Plastic Directive was to place the path forward for recycled content on beverage containers for which PET remains the targeted product to perform.
As PETCORE-Europe achieved recognition for its representation of the PET value chain, the reward came as the European Commission requested, alongside other industry partners, that PETCORE address the G7 Environment Conference at Metz France May 2019. To me this gave tremendous recognition that PETCORE was achieving a voice in the advocacy and political arena worth listening to.
And so, PETCORE during this time was reorienting towards a larger Association with a critical performance requirement. Unfortunately, as we turned into 2020 the Pandemic struck, and the world went into lock down. Fortunately, we were able to hold the flagship event “PETCORE Conference” in February 2020 before travel restrictions would change this freedom for the coming two years. The PETCORE Conference has year on year developed into a most attractive event, creating much interest not only from members, however also for the industry, trade press and ultimately the Political and Commission Departments.
2019-20 Conferences were powerful events with between 200-300 delegates, two-day events full of value. Subsequently in 2021 this would go virtual but still was successful. During the conferences, we elaborate over the “jewel in PETCORE’s crown” being the Technical Committee and the growth in Focused Working Groups. Overall, between the conferences, webinars, and working groups the strength of PETCORE’s technical abilities and outreach is exhibited.
What was clear in both the advocacy arena of the CPA and SUP alongside the Conference and other events we were engaged in, was that Communication became key. In 2020-21 we established a Communication Campaign, achieving visibility with the Political and Public giving educational and informative details about PET and how it meets today’s environmental requirements. Our tool box is now enhanced with a good educational catalogue of aids that you can access by going onto the web-link www.recycletheone.com which remains a focal project going forward. My gratitude is extended here to the members who sponsored the communication campaign with funds more than EUR 400k, that ensured a successful program was achieved.
So where is this leading me in my note to you all. I wish to express a sincere thank you to everyone as the last 3 years has been a tremendous experience. The most important aspect has been the working together with people in a collaborative and constructive fashion. I must admit my work does not show the typical visible tangible results of increased volumes or new applications; however, you can envision the work has been busy to promote PET as a most suitable product for the specific outlet for all the right reasons. I have experienced PETCORE metamorphosis to an Association of tremendous reputation in the corridors of influence, and I am proud to have been part of that journey.
The most important take away for me is the friendship and collaboration I have experienced with people dedicated to ensuring PET is fit for purpose. I know Antonello will enjoy this environment that I have felt so comfortable within. I am truly happy to hand the baton to a most eligible person at this time.
I promise that I will make every effort to attend in person the PETCORE Conference, Brussels, 14-15 June 2022, to have the opportunity to shake hands and thank personally with those who joined me on this journey. Unfortunately, we had to postpone the conference this year for the right reasons, the upside being a face-2-face meeting is almost ensured to take place now.
With that I do wish the whole PET value chain and the peripheral people and associations that work with us to ensure PET meets the requirements going forward, all the success possible for the future.
Stay safe enjoy every minute and face the challenges with collaborative expertise and together be stronger.