With an emphasis on commitment, pragmatism and solutions, the 2019 Circular Challenge event showcased players - including large businesses, start-ups and SMEs - who are committed to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
"I firmly believe that we cannot let things just stay as they are; that waste is a resource, and that the circular economy is the only solution for our planet." These were the opening words of Philipe Loïc Jacob, President of Citeo, at the Circular Challenge event, before going on to introduce the prestigious guests of this new edition.
Jean-Paul Agon, CEO of L'Oréal, then spoke of his company's strong commitments and ambitious 2025 objectives (e.g. 100% of plastic packaging will be either rechargeable, refillable, recyclable or compostable) and underlined his conviction that innovation is key to the successful transition to a circular economy.
Highlighting the important role that Citeo plays in synergising energies and solutions, Serge Papin, ex-CEO of Système U, emphasised the necessity of a threefold approach to achieve transition: decarbonise our economy, encourage local distribution circuits and re-localise.
"Let's innovate together" was the message that emerged from the cross-dialogue between Marc Giget, president of the Paris Club of Innovation Directors, and Jean Hornain, CEO of Citeo. This was followed by pitches by the Circular Challenge finalists.
The Citeo customer prize was awarded to Leroy Merlin for their innovative project to come up with alternatives to polystyrene. Leroy Merlin won a tailored 'do tank' to enable them to develop and implement solutions.
Malengé won the Citeo Grand Prix for Innovation for its Cycle Pack - 100% recyclable flexible packaging, made from virgin fibre paper, with protective barriers.
Pandobac won the special prize of the jury for Local Collaborative Innovation thanks to its turnkey reusable packaging service for the inter-professional transport of goods, which can replace single-use packaging in local distribution networks.
The Earthwake non-profit association won the Economies in Transition prize for its plastic waste recycling project that uses a machine - the Chrysalis - to transform plastic waste into fuel, specially designed for emerging countries and remote areas.
To round off the evening, Cécile Sémériva, Citeo Innovation Director, gave an overview of the main trends of 2019 - digitalization, AI and blockchain technologies, new materials, recycling technologies, social innovation, innovations in uses and services - and highlighted the diversity of innovation in the circular economy and the practical aspects of the Circular Challenge programme, geared to providing concrete solutions for all stakeholders.