Major global brands join talks on rethinking plastics and packaging materials

Unilever, PepsiCo, Kellogg Company, Colgate-Palmolive and LEGO join new summit focused on Rethinking Materials: Innovation in Plastics and Packaging

A new summit on Rethinking Materials will take place on May 19-20, focused on innovation in plastics and packaging, integrating new materials into supply chains and the switch to bio-based alternatives and circular solutions.

Consumer brands, from packaged foods and personal care to high-end fashion and well-loved toys, are actively seeking new materials to replace the non-recyclable plastics within their products.

Coca-Cola recently announced its plans to test a paper bottle developed by Danish company Paboco as part of its longer-term strategy to eliminate plastic from its packaging entirely. DuPont Biomaterials has launched a fabric collection made with sustainable bio-based materials, while Genomatica is also actively scaling bio-nylon to meet market demand. At the same time, start-ups, such as Modern Meadow and MycoWorks, are developing luxury fabrics and leathers from yeast and fungi, targeted at the fashion industry.

“As brands commit to removing plastics from our environment, they need to assess which of the many innovative new materials on the market are most suited to their needs,” said Rethink Events founder Jennie Moss. “The Rethinking Materials summit is an opportunity to hear from a cross-section of industrial leaders on how they are working with technology companies to design out plastic waste, including testing and scale up of bio-based and circular solutions.”

Key themes for the summit include:

  • Moving the Needle: Integrating bio-based materials into existing supply chains
  • Scaling Up: Identifying early adopters and new routes to market
  • Enhancing Performance: Designing sustainable materials to outperform the competition
  • Packaging and Preservation: Meeting the food grade challenge at scale
  • Side Streams: Circular solutions breathing new life into waste
  • Biotechnology: Platform-based business models accelerating discoveries
  • Financing Growth: Investment & partnership strategies driving innovation
  • Extended Producer Responsibility: Designing out waste upstream
  • Biodesigned Materials: Growing materials from bacteria, yeast, algae and fungi cultures
  • Circular Solutions: Chemical recycling, carbon capture, and engineering enzymes to aid end-of-life recycling

The agenda will feature speakers from major brands, including Unilever, PepsiCo, Kellogg Company and Lego, joined by major suppliers, including NatureWorks, Total Corbion, Amyris, Braskem and Genomatica, as well as exciting start-ups, such as LanzaTech, Checkerspot, Footprint, Modern Meadow and SGMA.

“This event is different, as it proposes to bring together players from all different steps of the circular economy and, more importantly, talk about aspects of plastics that are often the “elephant in the room” that no one dares to discuss,” said Unilever global foods packaging director, Hugo Menilo.

Taking place virtually, the summit will connect major consumer goods brands and retailers, producers, converters, manufacturers, technology providers, start-ups and investors who are developing, financing and adopting innovative solutions.

The full programme, speaking faculty and delegate registration are available at