Event: Circular Choices: Building EU open strategic autonomy through bioeconomy and innovation

Feb 29, 2024

20 March 2024


registrations from 08:30*

TownHall Europe

Sq. de Meeûs 5, 1000 Bruxelles

With the world’s eyes on environmental concerns, Europe must lead the way in balancing industry and ecology, and bioeconomy provides the perfect framework for this. By harnessing the potential of biological resources, from forestry to renewable energy, Europe can not only reduce its dependence on finite fossil fuels but also create new avenues for innovation and job creation. With this event, we wish to open a frank discussion on how European innovation and bioeconomy can lead to building open strategic autonomy in Europe.


Welcome and registrations



Jennifer Baker



Opening keynote address

Jérôme Noël

General Delegate for Wallonia-Brussels Federation to the EU,

Belgian presidency of the EU


TED TALK-style session: Case studies on innovation and investments in Europe

Company representatives

Jaakko Pajunen
Managing Director, Boreal Bioproducts, Finland

Sofia Krigsman
EU Public Affairs Director, Essity, Sweden

Antonio Gonzalo Pérez
CEO, Monte Holiday Ecoturismo, Spain

Samuel Deschaumes
President and Director General, Deschaumes Group, France

Gary Healy
Director of Regulatory Affairs, Coillte, Ireland


Coffee break


Panel discussion: Scaling up the EU bioeconomy: challenges and opportunities

MEP Franc Bogovič

Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development’ (video message)

Adrian Leip

Head of the Bioeconomy Sector in DG RTD Bioeconomy & Food Systems unit, European Commission

Marco Eikelenboom

Cepi Chairman, CEO of Sappi Europe

Vanessa Biebel

COO & Executive Manager of the competence centre Sustainability & Circular economy, Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB)


Discussion with the audience


Closing remarks

Jori Ringman

Cepi Director General


Light lunch

Circular Choices*

In March 2023, Cepi launched the Circular Choices Coalition for a competitive EU bioeconomy, which promotes the policy and market conditions necessary in the EU to scale-up the circular bioeconomy. The coalition, which is the broadest ever within the sector, brings together 14 EU trade associations that represent providers of renewable products and renewable energy solutions -wood, fibre-based, paper, products and packaging, bioenergy industries. And it is supported by a further of six trade associations that represent EU forest owners and managers. 

These integrated value chains are a pillar of the EU economy. They are also key for the strategic autonomy of Europe: they are renewable and sourced, made and recycled in Europe, with European technology. Together, they directly employ more than four million Europeans, representing 520 billion euro in annual turnover. It is also a manufacturing powerhouse: one in every five manufacturing companies in Europe are in this sector.