The Summit was conceived first and foremost as a way to address the growing need of the Brazilian plastics industry for information about opportunities and strategies to engage in export activities. Export is set to play an increasingly important role for the industry, and, according to Think Plastic Brazil, events like this Summit are essential to help companies become aware of what is possible.
“Exports for this industry in the first half of this year are up 11% over 2021,” said Moreira. “And we have ambitious goals to further increase these numbers.”
The Summit is also an excellent platform for businesses to network and promote their products, he added. In that sense, it serves a dual purpose - something that was reflected in the design of the programme, which featured topics ranging from the highly technical to the role of design in sustainability.
It opened with a keynote from Susanna Björklund, a Finnish trend analyst and designer who explored, amongst others, the relationship between design and sustainability, and the deep impact of colour: on the perception of a product, of space and even on mood and performance.
She was followed by the duo Rossana Orlandi and Nicoletta Orlandi Brugnoni, who delivered a virtual presentation on their international RoGuiltlessPlastic project is founded on the idea that ‘plastic is not guilty: its abuse and misuse have nonetheless created one of the most pressing environmental issues plaguing the planet Earth today’. The project is aimed at sparking a new philosophy of design and production using innovative materials based on the transformation and re-use of plastic waste.
Valgroup, the largest plastics producer, converter and recycler in Latin America, and a main sponsor of the event, gave a presentation detailing its commitment to achieving net zero production by 2040. Also, we will recycle 100% of the volume of material that we produce by that year,” said Maria Laura dos Santos Leite.
The company, with 36 plants in five countries and more than 5,000 employees, is also working on a mono material solution, both to reduce the amount of material used and to enhance recyclability. Valgroup is a major user of rPET, she added. The company is working with cooperative on the possibilities of using waste plastic recovered from rivers in their production.
Another major Brazilian company, the petrochemical giant Braskem, spoke about its development work on circular solutions for customers and society, the investments required in technological advancements to realise these, as well as the need for more awareness among the public of recycling. “We are investing in education, next to technology,” said Gabriel Muller, sustainability manager at Braskem. “It is just as important”. Circular design, he added, is a focus at the company. “We are collaborating with research labs and institutes as ‘the circular economy is not simple, nor is it something to do alone. We need to cooperate.”