Tom is an award-winning innovator with 23 years’ industry experience. Initially working in the consumer products sector with Reckitt, Tom has spent the last 17 years in the paper and packaging industries working for market leading multi-national companies including; UPM, DS Smith and Billerud as well as running his own independent sustainable packaging consultancy for 4 years.
Tom’s experience is wide ranging, from consumer and market insight, mergers & acquisitions and brand owner management to product development and sustainability.
Recently Tom hosted and presented on two international webinars focused on the circular economy and innovations in packaging. In 2022 Tom presented as part of Esko’s Sustainability in Packaging series of webinars and at Smithers’ E-Pack event in the US. Added to this Tom has prior experience of managing multi-market consultancy projects focused on packaging strategy & roadmap development for branded consumer goods.
Tom was awarded the “Think New” award by Billerud at a ceremony in Stockholm in Dec 2017 for his work leading a team that developed 2 new paper grades, and innovative bag designs, that helped break the market for paper based e-commerce mailing bags.
Chris specialises in creating value and positive impact for large, complex businesses and organisations by improving the sustainability of their operations, products, packaging, and supply chain.
His experience includes driving system changes to deliver sustainability, product stewardship and corporate reputation outcomes in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the US.
Prior to joining APCO in August 2022, Chris led strategic and transformational change in environmental sustainability across leading retailers Kmart and Target where his remit included climate change, product stewardship, circular economy, packaging, plastic, and waste. He has also spent time in the packaging and utilities industries and government.
As APCO’s CEO, Chris leads the development and execution of strategies that bring business, governments, and industry together to design, use, recover, reuse and recycle packaging to improve waste, climate, water, material, chemical and social impacts.
Somnath Ray, based in Jakarta, is a Principal at AFRY Management Consulting, a leading advisor of choice to the world’s Forest, Pulp, Paper & Paperboard, and Tissue industry sector.
He is passionate about bringing strategic insight and solutions to Forestry, Fiber, Paper & Paperboard, and Tissue segment, with a keen interest in paper product development, fiber recycling, and Industry 4.0 application towards creating a sustainable circular economy. He has over 15 years of experience on strategic development projects, focusing on strategy formulation, industry and market analysis, due diligence, operational excellence, product development, business development, and transformation. Before joining AFRY (Pöyry), he worked on strategic projects as Corporate Planning Manager at Double A (1991) Public Ltd. Co., Thailand.
He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication from VTU, India, and a Master of Business Administration (Specialization in Management of Technology) from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.
Rob is the R&D Director for Foods Packaging Sustainable Materials Commercialization at PepsiCo. He leads a global team that is accountable for developing sustainable alternatives and qualifying these materials for all Foods structures. Rob joined PepsiCo in 2009 after spending 18 years at The Dow Chemical Company in technical service and development for Plastics.
Rob’s responsibilities include material selection and film development for PepsiCo flexible packaging in addition to ensuring the packaging materials meet PepsiCo’s Global Snacks Group standards for quality and performance and sustainability.
Rob has a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from New Mexico State University and holds four patents.
Martin Zahel graduated with a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from the Technical University of Dresden in 2011. During his PhD (2011-2015) in Organic Chemistry at the Technical University of Dresden, he developed synthetic routes to several bioactive sesquiterpenes with antitumor activity. Since 2014, Martin Zahel has been employed at the Papiertechnische Stiftung in Heidenau. Initially as a project leader in the field of advanced chemical modification of pulp fibers and polysaccharide materials, he became head of the Composites & Modification department in 2017 and has headed the Fibres & Composites business unit since 2020. His technical focus is on the development of novel cellulose-based materials and the corresponding process technology as well as the optimized use of additives and fillers in the paper industry.
Paper & packaging industry professional with focus in products, portfolios, markets and strategy
Combines technical and commercial experience from paper and polymers with 10 years of international experience on paper and packaging field. Master's Degree in Forest Products Marketing and Management from University of Helsinki, Finland. Currently employed by Mondi Group as a Head of Product Portfolio Management for Flexible Packaging.
PhD in Paper Engineering with total professional experience of 19 Years. Currently leading the fiber based packaging R&D team at Nestlé in the Institute of Packaging Sciences located in Lausanne, Switzerland and working on high impact cross category projects at a global landscape and steering the concept-to-market journey of recyclable fiber-based food packaging solutions. Prior to Nestlé have worked at DIAGEO where have set up a world class packaging R&D center. Before DIAGEO have spent 10 years at ITC Limited in the Paper business where have worked on the development and commercialization of paper & paperboard grades for wide range of packaging applications.
Keisuke Morikawa is currently a manager of Poval R&D Department and a global project leader for sustainable packaging at Kuraray Co., Ltd. He earns a MS in chemical engineering from Kobe University, specializing in polymer synthesis and physics. He started his career at Kuraray Co., Ltd. in 2002 as a technical expert. He has been responsible for development of various polyvinyl acetate derivatives (PVOH, EVOH, PVB) at Kuraray Co., Ltd. (2002-2018) and market development at Kuraray America (2018-2022). From 2022, he has been developing technologies with PVOH for adhesive, emulsion, paper and new applications.
Dirk Kaczmarek, Technical Account Development Lead at Consumer Flexibles, joined Mondi in 2012. He is passionate about food packaging and has more than 20 years of experience in FMCG packaging and has worked globally. At Mondi he has held various roles (Application Engineer, R&D, Quality, Technical Account Manager) and also worked in Thailand for almost 3 years. Before Mondi, he gained experience at other international flexible packaging converting companies. He studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Duisburg/Essen, Germany, and the University of Manchester, UK. He also obtained a doctorate in engineering (Dr.Ing.) from the University of Duisburg/Essen.
Marion, working as head of R&D, is shareholder in Gruppo X di X Gruppo srl, a company generating patents on innovations in the packaging and mainly paper sector, developing them with industrial partners and licensing patents, know how and technology. She is co-author of the base patents of Gruppo X’s developments and has been working since 1990 in the field of process and material innovation. Main Gruppo X’s licencees are, among others, BillerudKorsnas, Nippon Paper Industries, BP Europack (today Amcor Flexibles).
Marion holds degrees in architecture from Germany and Italy
Yevgen Zolotkovski has >15 years of experience in paper and packaging industry in various leading positions of global paper and packaging manufacturers. For over 5 years Yevgen has been working as Sales Director for Flexible Packaging papers at Koehler Group and introducing innovations in form of recyclable monomaterial barrier paper solutions, which support Global FMCG brands worldwide to achieve their sustainable packaging goals.
Dr. Pai received his Ph.D in Polymer Engineering from Mahatma Gandhi University, India in the year 2023. His doctoral thesis was focused on the design and development of sustainable electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding materials from nanocellulose. He also obtained his Bachelor’s degree (B.Tech) in Polymer Engineering from Mahatma Gandhi University and holds a Master’s degree (M.Tech) in Polymer Engineering from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai. His research was funded under the auspices of Visvesvaraya Ph.D Scheme instituted by Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), Government of India. As a part of his doctoral research, he was also a visiting researcher at Lancaster University, UK under the Newton Bhabha Ph.D Placement programme which was funded by the British Council & Newton Bhabha Fund. His research interests include utilization of bio-resources (nanocellulose, chitin, lignin & biocarbon) to solve the global challenges that we face today by adopting circular and green approaches.
Xiaobo Hu received his PhD in Polymer Science in 2011. His current position at Eastman Chemical Company focuses on fundamental research and product development for coatings. His current project is to develop bio-based and biodegradable polymer coatings in packaging/food contact applications based on the understanding of structure-process-property relationships. Before joining Eastman Chemical Company, Xiaobo worked as a Research Scientist at DuPont, where he researched engineering polymers for blown film and lamination applications.
Magnus has worked within the paper & board industry sector for 30 years and has had various positions such as R&D, Coating Pilot Plant mgr, Product mgr, Procurement, Commercial Director and now as a Sales Director at UMV Coating System. He has also been CEO of the drying equipment supplier Ircon Drying Systems AB, before rejoining UMV last year.
He has gained a vast experience in coating and sizing application through the numerous R&D- and customer projects he has managed in the whole world as working field.
Magnus has made several presentations at international conferences and symposiums, with coating perspective.
Dr. ir. Pieter Samyn received Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering 2007 at Ghent University and followed an academic career at University Freiburg and Hasselt University, until 2021 when he joined the collective research center Sirris as a Senior Research Engineer. He has broad experience on the synthesis, processing and characterization of bio-based materials for composite and coating applications. His research focusses on surface functionalization and he subsequently led research projects on bio-inspired adhesion mechanisms, functional coatings for paper substrates and the development of (nano)composite materials from bio-based building blocks (cellulose, biopolymers). The applied industrial research currently focusses on formulation and processing of biobased resins for more sustainable paper coating formulations with enhanced performance and recyclability.
Ms. Heidi Su joined Suzano in 2022 and currently serves as the Head of Sustainability,Asia, responsible for Suzano's sustainability-related business in Asia, including stakeholder engagement, sustainability project development and decarbonization roadmap in China. Previously, she worked at Innovation Center Denmark (partnership between Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Higher Education and Science) as the Sustainability Innovation Officer. She is also the founder of the Sino-Danish Child Friendly Project.
Heidi graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a master's degree in environmental engineering.
Devendra, a seasoned expert in sustainability and global value chains, is presently based in Bonn, Germany. He actively engages with a diverse array of stakeholders to foster the transformation and expansion of multiple global value chains—encompassing the fashion, textiles, paper, packaging, and hygiene sectors—toward enhanced sustainability and responsibility. His comprehensive approach harmonizes the interests of key players, (from Forest owners, value chain partners, to global brands), emphasizing responsible sourcing in shaping a sustainable future.
Before moving to Germany, Devendra accumulated eight years of experience across five countries, spearheading large-scale projects in the fashion industry and collaborating closely with global brands and manufacturers to maintain the integrity of their value chains. His extensive expertise includes managing cross-functional, multicultural international teams for project execution, sustainable transitions, change management, strategic sourcing, and the optimization of global supply chains.
Devendra earned his MBA from IE University in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Technology from NIFT India. His qualifications include certifications in sustainable fashion strategy, value chain development, and standards, positioning him as a specialist in circular economy transitions.
Cindy Cheng is an experienced advocate for sustainability with over two decades of expertise. She approaches the
field of environmentalism with a focus on building partnerships and engaging stakeholders to create positive
change. Her work has strengthened the connection between people, businesses, and the environment, making a
significant difference in the natural world.
Currently, Cindy serves as the Asia-Pacific Regional Director for FSC, the most recognized, trusted, and rigorous forest
certification system. In this role, she leads a team to establish FSC's presence in over 10 countries, driving the
implementation of national and regional strategies. Cindy collaborates with governments, private sector entities,
NGOs, and other stakeholders to promote sustainable practices and safeguard the environment in this crucial and
Cindy feels grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future and is committed to inspiring others
to protect healthy and resilient forests for all, forever.