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RSB Innovations Meeting, in partnership with P&G, unlocks the potential of cross-sectoral collaboration on sustainable bioeconomy

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RSB would like to thank everyone that made last week’s RSB Innovations Meeting, in partnership with Procter & Gamble (P&G), a resounding success. Held in Cincinnati, USA, the event provided regional and global transition leaders with a full day of captivating content to dig into the role of policy in helping the growth of a sustainable biocircular economy – and the ways in which positive impacts can be incentivised.

After a welcome from RSB’s Executive Director Elena Schmidt and Lee Ellen Drechsler, P&G’s Senior VP for Corporate R&D, set the scene for a day which served to underline the importance of moving outside sectoral siloes to engage with the full breadth and depth of the bioeconomy transformation.

The first session, in partnership with the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), welcomed esteemed speakers – Steve Csonka (CAAFI), Dr Mitch Hunter (Forever Green Initiative), Adam Klauber (World Energy LLC), Matt Langholz (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Matt Luetje (CoverCress Inc.) and Jeff McDaniel (Velocys) – as they delved into the immense potential of sustainable feedstocks in uplifting rural livelihoods and safeguarding our environment. Discussions emphasised the necessity of adopting a holistic approach to sustainability, underscoring the importance of policy and standards in driving positive impacts – not just in aviation, but across all sectors – as well as fostering confidence in the diverse array of feedstocks essential for nurturing a just and sustainable bioeconomy.

The second session was split into two interactive breakout groups. Session 2a, “Navigating Policy Landscapes for Sustainable Feedstocks” – led by Katherine Collett (Deep Science Ventures) and Karyn Jones (Gevo, Inc.) – provided valuable insights into the current North American and global policy landscapes, as the two speakers shared their perspectives from different but interconnected supply chains on unlocking sustainable feedstocks. Participants engaged in constructive dialogue aimed at ensuring that policy serves as a catalyst rather than a hindrance in our transition towards sustainability – thereby feeding into RSB’s work on building a cross-sectoral policy perspective. Session 2b, “Scaling Sustainable Feedstocks – Strategies and Magic Ingredients“, saw attendees unpack the essential components for sustainably scaling promising yet underdeveloped feedstocks – with a focus on those with low iLUC and biodiversity positive impacts. Led by Himlal Baral (CIFOR-ICRAF), Daniel Lieberman (Nuseed) and Chris Malone (Indigo Ag), this session mobilised collaborative breakout sessions to understand how policy and other drivers can help these feedstocks to reach sustainable scale.

The event wrapped up with the third and final session of the day, “Unlocking Sustainable Biomaterials”, in partnership with the Bioplastic Feedstock Association (BFA), and moderated by Alix Grabowski (WWF). The session started with the panel of Clay Bunyard PhD (Kimberly-Clark Corporation), Domonique Downing PhD (The Coca-Cola Company), Rooney Kim Lazcano PhD (P&G) and Rob Flores (Berry Global) each answering one tricky question about advancing the bioeconomy. Then, the audience was invited to discuss how we can best unlock cross-sectoral collaboration to overcome the challenges faced in doing so. The panel was then tasked at summarising the key messages of the group discussion – highlighting the importance of collaboration, alignment, and working with a common vision in mind.

And finally, after the day’s engaging presentations and discussions, RSB partnered with Velocys, who offered a site visit to their recently opened facility for manufacturing key components of their Fischer-Tropsch technology. Open to a limited group of participants, the tour included a visit to their state-of-art manufacturing process, laboratory facilities, and participants were able to see several finished Velocys microchannel reactors. The group enjoyed learning about Velocys’s process, ambitious plans for the BayouFuels plant in Louisiana, meeting some of the Velocys team, and seeing the next stages of a scaling bioeconomy coming to life.

Thank you to all who participated in and supported the RSB Innovations Meeting!

We are proud to have presented an event which was rich with collaborative exchanges, lively discussions, insightful presentations, and a collective commitment towards a more sustainable future, in which policy can play a nurturing role in helping the growth of a sustainable biocircular economy. We would, once again, like to thank P&G for their support in making this event possible, as well as all the speakers and participants for your excellent and vital contributions.

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