Circular Valley Forum 2022
Press materials for free use
Speakers and panelists
The Circular Valley® Forum will bring together top-decision makers at board level from a large variety of industries. Besides the interaction in the conference format and over dinner, there will also be opportunities for bilateral talks.
  • Hendrik Wüst
    Prime Minister
    North-Rhine Westphalia
    Foto: Land NRW / Ralph Sondermann
  • Mona Neubaur
    Minister of the Economy and Climate
    North-Rhine Westphalia
    Foto: Land NRW / Ralph Sondermann
  • Oliver Krischer
    Minister of the Environment
    North-Rhine Westphalia
    Foto: Land NRW / Ralph Sondermann
  • Dr. Dorothee Becker
    Gebr. Becker GmbH
  • Andre and Iris Bovenkamp
    Managing Partners
  • Liam Condon
    Johnson Matthey
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Doetsch
    Fraunhofer UMSICHT
  • Saori Dubourg
    Member of the Board


    Foto: BASF SE
  • Dr. Ralf Düssel
    Chairman Plastics Europe Germany, Senior Vice President
  • Dr. Martin Eisenhut
    Managing Partner Dach
  • Dr. Andreas Eurich
    Barmenia Insurance Group
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick
    Wuppertal Institute
  • Eckhard Forst
    Chairman of the Board
    NRW Bank

    Foto: Christian Lord Otto
  • Dr. Dirk Gratzel
  • Markus Hilkenbach
    Wuppertaler Stadtwerke
  • Jürgen Hingsen
    Olympic Games Medalist (Decathlon)
  • Jochen Jehmlich
    Societé Générale Equipment Finance
  • Arndt G. Kirchhoff
    Unternehmer NRW
  • Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff

    Kirchhoff Group
  • Lauren Kjeldsen
    Member of the Executive Board,
    President Smart Materials
  • Dr. Matthias Koehler
    Ministerial Director (SME and Start-up Financing)
    Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection
  • Philipp Krohn

    Foto: Frank Roeth
  • Dr. Michael Kuhndt
    Managing Director
    Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production
  • Joachim Lachmuth
    "Sendung mit der Maus"
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner
    Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion
  • Lothar Leuschen
    Westdeutsche Zeitung
  • Serena Lin
    Member of the Board
    Bayer AG
  • Natalie Mekelburger

  • Dr. Arnd Nenstiel
    Global Head Agricultural Policy & Stakeholder Affairs
    Bayer AG I Division Crop Science
  • Mattia Pellegrini
    Head of Unit "From Waste to Resources"

    DG Environment, European Commission

  • Ralf Putsch
    Managing Director

    Foto: Malte Reiter
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Renner
    Fraunhofer UMSICHT
  • Dr. Thomas Rodemann
    Managing Partner
  • Dr. Sven Schade
    Policy Officer
    Green Deal integration,
    European Commission
  • Thomas Schmidt
  • Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind
    Lord Mayor, Wuppertal
  • HA Schult
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr
    Director IGB-2 Plant Sciences

    Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • Klaus Töpfer
    Former Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
  • Michael Wiener
    Grüner Punkt/DSD
  • Dr. Henning Wilts
    Director of Division Circular Economy
    Wuppertal Institut
  • Gunther Wölfges
    Stadtsparkasse Wuppertal
Conference Program
09:30 CET
09:30 CET
10:00 - 11:30 CET
10:00 - 11:30 CET
Großer Saal
10.00 h: Welcome

10.15 h: Opening Keynote: Mona Neubaur, Minister of the Economy and Climate, North Rhine-Westphalia, and patron of Circular Valley®

10.30 h: Discussion with Minister Neubaur and Minister Krischer

  • Arnd Kirchhoff, Chairman unternehmer NRW
  • Liam Condon, CEO Johnson Matthey/United Kingdom
  • Saori Dubourg, Member of the Board BASF
  • André & Iris Bovenkamp, Managing Partners Huehoco
  • Eckhard Forst, CEO NRW Bank

11.20 h: Keynote: Oliver Krischer, Minister of the Environment, North Rhine-Westphalia
11:45 - 13:00 CET
11:45 - 13:00 CET
Offenbach Saal
Panel to provide an overview of novel science/technology developments on Circular Economy, from early research to taking developments to the market by global leaders.

: Philipp Krohn, Editor, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • Liam Condon, CEO Johnson Matthey
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Doetsch, Director Fraunhofer UMSICHT
  • Dr. Dirk Gratzel, CEO GREENZERO
  • Lauren Kjeldsen, Member of the Executive Board, President Evonik
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner, Director Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion
  • Dr. Sven Schade, Policy Officer – Green Deal integration, European Commission
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr, Director IGB-2 Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich
11:45 - 13:00 CET
11:45 - 13:00 CET
Mahler Saal
Panel to discuss the potential of regulation to promote a Circular Economy. Broad perspective of scientists, regulators and practitioners.

Facilitation: Lothar Leuschen, Editor in Chief, Westdeutsche Zeitung

  • Saori Dubourg, Member of the Board BASF
  • Dr. Ralf Düssel, Chairman Plastics Europe Germany, Senior Vice President Evonik
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick, President Wuppertal Institute
  • Natalie Mekelburger, CEO Coroplast
  • Dr. Arnd Nenstiel, Global Head Stakeholder Affairs, Bayer AG
  • Mattia Pellegrini, Unit Head „From Waste to Resources", European Commission
  • Gunther Wölfges, CEO Stadtsparkasse Wuppertal
13:00 - 14:00 CET
13:00 - 14:00 CET
+ All day Circular Valley® Club
for Founders, Sponsors and Circular Valley® members
14:00 - 15:15 CET
14:00 - 15:15 CET
Offenbach Saal
In order for a Circular Economy to succeed, it needs to be embraced by the consumer. Panel to share various expert perspectives on how communication can succeed andconsumer acceptance increased.

Facilitation: Lothar Leuschen, Editor in Chief, Westdeutsche Zeitung

  • Markus Hilkenbach, CEO Wuppertaler Stadtwerke
  • Dr. Michael Kuhndt, Director Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production
  • Joachim Lachmuth, Sendung mit der Maus, Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Renner, Director Fraunhofer UMSICHT
  • Dr. Thomas Rodemann, Managing Partner Vorwerk
  • Thomas Schmidt, CEO Haniel Group
14:00 - 15:15 CET
14:00 - 15:15 CET
Mahler Saal
Panel to take a cross industry perspective on how our economy needs to be transformed towards circular and the role of companies in this cooperation along the value chains.

Facilitation: Philipp Krohn, Editor, FAZ

  • Dr. Dorothee Becker, CEO Becker Group
  • Dr. Martin Eisenhut, Managing Partner DACH Kearney
  • Dr. Andreas Eurich, CEO Barmenia Insurance Group
  • Reiner Hoffmann, Former DBG president
  • Dr. Matthias Koehler, Ministerialdirigent, Federal Ministry of Economy
  • Andreas Mucke, Managing Director Circular Economy Accelerator
  • Michael Wiener, CEO Grüner Punkt/DSD
15:30 - 17:00 CET
15:30 - 17:00 CET
Großer Saal
Plenum to sketch opportunities of the Circular Economy nationally and internationally.

Facilitation: Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, Chief Scientist Circular Valley®

  • Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff, CEO Kirchhoff Group
  • Sarena Lin, Member of the Board, Bayer AG
  • Brad Lich, Chief Commercial Officer Eastman
  • Ralf Putsch, Managing Director Knipex
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Renner, Director Fraunhofer UMSICHT
  • Dr. Henning Wilts, Director Division Circular Economy, Wuppertal Institute
17:00 CET
17:00 CET
Circular Valley Forum 2022

Fotos: Jan Turek, Stefan Fries
November 9th, 2022
Circular Calley Forum 2022
Nov 18th, Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal
November 9th, 2022
Mona Neubaur at the Circular Valley Forum
Photo: Circular Valley® - Jan Turek
Circular Valley®
becomes even more international

The initiative for a true circular economy expanded its global commitment in several ways at the Circular Valley® Forum: with ambassadors from different continents, prominent political support - and a special gesture from Flanders, Belgium.
Internationality has been a hallmark of Circular Valley® since its foundation in the summer of 2021: more than 60 startups from five continents have since participated in the Circular Economy Initiative's accelerator program, creating a global network of like-minded people. Nevertheless, at the first Circular Valley® Forum the initiative surprised its guests with an even greater international outlook.

During this large conference on the circular economy, two connecting points with the German government became apparent. In a video message to the approximately 600 Forum guests, Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger emphasized the common interests of the Federal government in Berlin and the wider Rhine-Ruhr region:
With the Circular Valley® initiative, you strive to be a pacemaker for the circular economy, setting impulses for our country, but also beyond.
Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Research Minister
The German government, in turn, is currently bundling all activities in a "circular economy strategy." "We want to be pioneers in Europe," she said.
Jürgen Hingsen, Mona Neubaur, Christian Keller, Carsten Gerhardt, Kathrin Berner
Photo: Circular Valley® - Jan Turek

Looking beyond the European continent, Circular Valley® is intensifying its cooperation with the German Society for International Cooperation, an organization acting on behalf of various federal ministries in development policy. Joint appointments have already been arranged for the coming weeks to continue what began with Minister Svenja Schulze's visit to Circular Valley® in August. During her visit, Schulze met numerous startups and explained that she sees the circular economy as an important lever for a socially just transformation with new and fair jobs, as well as for achieving the environmental and development agendas.

Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon provided a special gesture at the Circular Valley® Forum. He explained why his region, North-Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands have a good tradition of cross-border cooperation and offer ideal conditions for a European center for the circular economy. Janbon expressed his great interest in continuing and deepening this cooperation. "I extend my hand to North Rhine-Westphalia," Jambon said, announcing a declaration of intent between Flanders and Germany's most populous state.
I extend my hand to North Rhine-Westphalia
Jan Jambon, Flemish Prime Minister
Janbon found ideal addressees for his message at the Circular Valley® Forum on November 18th. Three cabinet members from the North Rhine-Westphalia state government were represented: Mona Neubaur, Deputy Minister President and Minister of Economics and Climate, Nathanael Liminski, Minister for Federal and European Affairs, International Affairs and Media as well as Head of the State Chancellery and Environment and Transport Minister Oliver Krischer.
Carsten Gerhardt, Mona Neubaur
Photo: Stefan Fries

Neubaur called the circular economy an "enormous opportunity for the economic and industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia." She, too, had visited startups in Circular Valley® in summer, where she witnessed the close connection between international founders and the local ecosystem in Circular Valley®. The Minister of Economics was very optimistic about the continuation of these successes.
For the indispensable transformation from a linear to a circular economy, Circular Valley® is "exactly the right answer."
Mona Neubaur, Deputy Minister President and Minister of Economics and Climate of NRW
Minister Liminski praised Circular Valley®'s networking efforts as being "excellent." Liminiski highlighted the fact that Circular Valley® brings together small and large companies that would otherwise not find together as easily.
Nathanael Liminski
Photo: Circular Valley® - Jan Turek
He further emphasized that the state government was very interested in "implementing the project on a large scale" and not limiting it to solely North Rhine-Westphalia.
Nathanael Liminski, Minister for Federal and European Affairs, International Affairs and Media of NRW
For this reason, the forum places a "very great emphasis on making this cross-border".

Oliver Krischer
Photo: Circular Valley® - Jan Turek

Environment Minister Krischer called the forum "very inspiring." A large part of today's emissions and the loss of biodiversity can be traced back to the linear economy. A circular economy is therefore "necessary and inevitable." So far, the transformation has taken too long, he said, and more speed needs to be brought to the issue.

To this end, the new ambassadors of the Circular Valley® can be of great support. Jasmin Bumanowski from Lufthansa was introduced at the forum as a representative for the African continent, which she knows very well. She would like to further increase the share of African startups in Circular Valley®. In addition, participants from the previous three rounds of the funding program have stated that they will use their experiences to connect other startups from their countries with the initiative in the Rhine-Ruhr region. Kaif Ali, a 22-year-old entrepreneur from New Delhi in India, underlined his enthusiasm with an English-German phrase: "I'm a Wuppertaler now."

Other guests who are known and on the move around the world will also be able toreport on their impressions of Circular Valley: Klaus Töpfer as well as the action artist HA Schult.

Marc-Oliver Pahl, Klaus Töpfer
Photo: Circular Valley® - Jan Turek

As Federal Minister for the Environment, Töpfer played a major role in turning the ideas of the German Grüner Punkt recycling system and the Dual System into reality. Today, he is therefore considered one of the fathers of the circular economy. He continued this work as a director at the United Nations, and even at the age of 84, he has lost none of his enthusiasm for the subject.

Circular economy doesn't start with recycling. We have to think of products in such a way that they can be recycled and have a longer life.
Klaus Töpfer, the father of the circular economy
Despite all the setbacks and the ever-increasing urgency for solutions, Töpfer is optimistic about the future. "When you're 84 years old and have done this all your life, you can't even imagine pessimism. But I'm not optimistic for optimism's sake, but because that's exactly how good ideas move forward."
HA Schult, Klaus Töpfer
Photo: Stefan Fries
HA Schult had brought 300 members of his Trash People with him to Wuppertal. With these life-size figures made of waste, he travels all over the world to demonstrate global littering. The Trash People have already stood in front of pyramids, on the Great Wall of China, on the Red Square in Moscow, in the Arctic - and now in Circular Valley®.
Circular Valley®, the spring of fresh thinking that sets out from Wuppertal into the world, shows us new positions in dealing with the preservation of our planet. The planet that we have only leased and are in the process of turning into Trash Planet Earth.
HA Schult
He said goodbye to the guests of the forum succinctly: "Make something of yourselves. You are young and capable."

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