Prototyping a fossil-free future - How VAUDE and UPM think beyond recycling


Expert Talk Area

Thursday 05th October 2023

11:05 - 11:55 CEST

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Fossil-free textiles are not a dream anymore. Together with VAUDE, UPM shows how biochemicals can replace petrochemicals in fashion products. As part of the renewable circularity movement, technical shifts must coincide with mindset shifts for tangible impact.

Additional speakers on stage:

Dr Gerd Unkelbach, Director Molecular Bioproducts R&D, UPM

Gerd Unkelbach studied chemistry and has been working on the sustainable production of materials and chemicals based on renewable raw materials since 2005. After roughly 20 years in different positions at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft he changed mid-2022 to UPM as R&D-director polymers and molecular bioproducts. He is a member of various committees and deputy chairman of the board of the BioEconomy cluster. 

LinkedIn handles for company and personal platforms: 

René Bethmann, Senior Innovation Manager Materials and Manufacturing & Consultant VAUDE Academy for sustainable business , VAUDE GmbH & Co. KG
  • Over 17 years of experience in the sportswear industry, working for leading brands across Europe 
  • Brought several new technologies into the sportswear world by connecting supply-chain stakeholders, including the upstream chemical industry, to drive responsible product creation 
  • Long experience in several renewable carbon technologies such as biomass and recycled derived materials 
  • Development of the industry-leading eco-design tool “Green Shape” at VAUDE, including the entire product´s lifecycle 
  • Speaker at several global conferences and consulted several industries in the field of sustainable material choices 
  • I aim to steer the textile industry away from relying on fossil fuels and instead promote a shift toward a sustainable and circular economy 

Everyone can make a difference. 

LinkedIn Handle: 

About the orator

Mr Martin Ledwon

UPM Biorefining

Vice President of Sustainability, Marketing and Communications

Mar­tin Led­won is Vice Pres­id­ent of Sustainability, Marketing and Communications at UPM Bio­refining. Before that, he held various senior leadership roles in sustainability and communications within UPM Kym­mene, the Fin­land based pulp, paper, and forest-based renew­able mater­i­als mar­ket lead­er since 2017. In addition to that, Martin has extensive experience in various sustainability areas on a global scale from his previous roles at Siemens, Tetra Pak and as an independent consultant.

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