Lars Backström

Ambassador to Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Islands
Government of Finland (FINLAND)

Ambassador Lars Backström has a globalist outlook on international relations and a unique perspective on the challenges facing businesses and governments around the world.

Lars has worked for 35 years in the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in multilateral affairs, disarmament, political affairs, peace mediation and humanitarian assistance.

He has served in postings across the world, including Turkey, Nigeria, New York and Belgium and been Ambassador of Finland to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia. He has also held the positions of Ambassador and Deputy Facilitator, Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone, and Ambassador and Special Representative for Mediation with focus on Asia at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Helsinki.

Prior to his diplomatic service, Lars was the youngest person to travel to all 192 independent countries, earning him a mention in the Guinness Book of Records for 1996.

At Powering the change, Lars will share insights on global mega trends and mega risks, including climate change and risk of global financial crisis, that make circular economy approaches essential at the macro level. He will be the keynote speaker at the session Can circular economy prepare business to face tomorrow’s mega risks? (Tuesday)

Callum Blackburn

Head of Policy, Research and Evaluation

As Zero Waste Scotland’s Head of Policy, Research and Evaluation, Callum Blackburn heads up a team who gather, commission and produce expert data to inform policy in Scotland, support businesses to transition and motivate practical behaviour change.
Callum has extensive experience in the development of environmental policy and programs in Scotland and was seconded to the Scottish Government to help develop the circular economy strategy, ‘Making Things Last’.

Prior to joining the public service, Callum held the role of Principal Waste Consultant in Scotland for consulting firm MWH Global, and has led a range of sustainable development and waste-related strategies for public bodies.

At Powering the change, Callum will share how Scotland has travelled from laggard to leader by helping businesses create more value with their materials, and how business leaders and policy makers are working towards a circular economy during the opening keynote address on Monday. He will then deep dive into the (re)manufacturing sector at the industry breakfast Manufacture, remanufacture, rinse and repeat (Tuesday) and share his experience as a panellist in the session Can circular economy prepare business to face tomorrow’s mega risks? (Tuesday).

Dr Bruce Chong

Associate Director, Management Consulting, Policy and Sustainability
Ove Arup & Partners

As Associate Director at Arup, Dr Bruce Chong focusses on formulating strategic approaches on resource efficiency, green infrastructure, and smart and resilient city planning. He is the Skill Leader of Resilient City and Sustainable Infrastructure Design in the East Asia region for Arup, working on master-planning, strategic resource planning, climate resilience and smart city projects in Hong Kong, China and other South-East Asian countries.

Bruce manages high profile projects including the smart city district plan for Kowloon East. He also manages strategic infrastructure planning for Hong Kong, which examines the resilience of critical infrastructure under climate change and extreme weather, and future waste infrastructure needs. He recently finished a project with Ellen MacArthur Foundation on the circular economy opportunity for China and its cities.

Bruce is a Cambridge Overseas Scholar, author of the book Smart-Green-Resilient, published by Hong Kong University Press in 2016, and recipient of Hong Kong’s Young Green Leader Award 2013.

At Powering the change Bruce will share best practice in circular economy in Asia at the plenary The forces of change: evolution of the circular landscape (Monday) and deep dive into case studies in the session Innovations in the built environment (Tuesday).

Veerle Labeeuw

Circular Economy Facilitator

As a circular economy facilitator with Circular Flanders, Veerle Labeeuw works with over 100 businesses and dozens of local authorities to scale up circular solutions across the Flemish region of Belgium.

The Government of Flanders launched Circular Flanders early in 2017 to help the region transition to a circular economy by 2050, building on the success of the Flanders Material Program. This world leading approach was recognised with a ‘Circular’ award at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2016.

Circular Flanders brings together governments, companies, civil society, and the knowledge community, to apply circular economy approaches. Their initial priorities are circular cities, circular business strategies and circular purchasing.

At Powering the change, Veerle will share how business is driving the move towards a Flemish economy that uses resources to create more value at the plenary, The forces of change: evolution of the circular landscape (Monday). Veerle will explore the way businesses and governments are working together to leverage procurement opportunities in the session Using purchasing power to drive market growth (Wednesday). She will discuss initial results of Circular Flanders’ tool, which is designed to evaluate how ‘circular’ projects are, and the work with the OECD to use available data at the city level to drive strategy in the session Building the evidence base and tracking progress (Wednesday).

Anne Laurence

Sustainability Director
Camif-Matelsom (France)

Since 2010, Anne Laurence has been at the forefront of a unique entrepreneurial adventure: to (re)launch the French home furniture distributor, the Camif. After six years as Head of Marketing and Purchasing Director, Anne became Sustainability Director in 2016 with a mission to revolutionise the home furniture sector.

Camif was established in 1947 to help French families re-furnish their homes after the second world war. Originally selling solely by catalogue, the first Camif store opened in 1963. The company continued to grow to become a French institution before going into liquidation in 2008. Purchased by the Matelsom group in 2009, the Camif strategy is now focussed on long term viability of the company, while having a positive impact on local economies.

At Powering the change, Anne will share how Camif worked with customers and local suppliers to launch an own brand range of 13 circular, locally made products in just six months in the session To market, to market: collaborative solutions (Monday) , and how they secured supplies of locally recycled materials in the session Perfect match: using purchasing power to drive market growth (Wednesday).

Annisa Wibi

Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer
Mycotech (Indonesia)

Annisa Wibi leads the finance and strategy functions at exciting and (literally) ground-breaking materials startup Mycotech as it develops partnerships to deliver sustainable materials technology and products to international markets.

Indonesia’s Mycotech is an emerging biotechnology company which is developing sustainable materials with mycelium technology – using the roots of mushrooms to ‘grow’ materials for various applications.

In August 2017, Mycotech had its first international exhibition at the Seoul Architecture Biennale together with the National University of Singapore and ETH Zurich, the Swiss science and technology university. In the following year, the Mycotech products were successfully introduced in the United States at South by Southwest in Austin.

As CFO, Annisa balances business viability with impact to the community and the environment. At Powering the change, Annisa will share how Mycotech is growing tomorrow’s building materials and creating meaningful employment in the session, Innovations in the built environment (Tuesday).


Rob Ball

Senior Development Manager, Communities
Lend Lease (QLD)

As Senior Development Manager within the Communities business, Rob Ball leads infrastructure planning, sustainability and innovation initiatives on Lend Lease’s flagship Yarrabilba development in south east Queensland.

Yarrabilba is one of the fastest growing areas in Queensland and will one day be home to more than 45,000 people. The community has been recognised with a 6-Star Green Star Communities rating for initiatives such as a virtual power station pilot, which helps residents save up to 60 per cent of their electricity bills; fast electric vehicle chargers; a sustainable display home; recognition and integration of the cultural heritage of the site’s long history and commitment to education; and investment in skills and training.

Rob is a civil engineer with a history of 35 years in the development industry - prior to joining Lend Lease in 1999, he worked on a variety of major residential, commercial and infrastructure projects in Australia, UK, the Middle East and South East Asia.

At Powering the change, Rob will talk about how Lend Lease is using circular approaches to underpin the development of Yarrabilba in the industry breakfast Circular opportunities for precincts, cities and regions (Tuesday). He will share how Yarrabilba is pushing the boundaries by incorporating circular economy in its design and infrastructure, while also making it a core element of community engagement and behaviour change.

Peter Brisbane

Government Partnership Manager
Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (NSW)

Peter Brisbane works collaboratively to help deliver Australia’s 2025 targets to achieve 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in the market, as Government Partnership Manager at the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).

APCO (formerly known as the National Packaging Industry Association) manages and administers the Australian Packaging Covenant, which aims to change the culture of business, in order to design more sustainable packaging and increase recycling rates.

Before joining APCO in June 2018, Peter was Director of Product Stewardship and Waste for the Department of the Environment and Energy, managing the Australian Government’s policy and program delivery on waste, particularly through product stewardship.

Peter Brisbane will be speaking at the closing plenary The plastics challenge - a global catastrophe or an opportunity waiting to happen? (Wednesday)

Charles Crane

Commercial Manager - Strategic Projects
Veolia Australia and New Zealand (NSW)

Charles Crane manages strategic projects across Australia and New Zealand in Veolia’s Innovation and Strategic Development group.

Charles’ background in financial services and law means that he looks at the circular economy through a regulatory and financial lens to ensure that projects which preserve and protect our natural resources can be viable. He works across Mergers & Acquisitions and Major Projects, within the waste, water and energy sectors, at the multinational environmental solutions company.

At Powering the change, Charles will highlight the challenges and the circular solutions that have been implemented around the world and share success stories in the plenary session The forces of change: evolution of the circular landscape (Monday).

Lachlan Feggans

Director, Sustainability Asia-Pacific
Brambles (NSW)

As Asia-Pacific Sustainability Director at multinational logistics company Brambles, Lachlan Feggans has had a central role in the ASX Top 20 company’s global sustainability program. This has included driving improvements in sustainability reporting that resulted in Brambles achieving leadership positions in external indices including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, MSCI and CDP. Lachlan also leads the integration of the sustainability program in the CHEP Asia Pacific business.

Australian owned Brambles employs over 13,000 people in 60 countries through the brands CHEP, IFCO, Kegstar and BXB Digital. The group provides over 300 million reusable pallets, crates, kegs and other solutions to growers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers worldwide. As potentially the only example of circular economy at scale, Brambles is able to demonstrate the challenges and opportunities of scaling circular economy approaches for business sustainability, longevity and success.

At Powering the change, Lachlan will share how Brambles quantifies their economic and environmental benefits of their solutions in the session Building the evidence base and tracking progress (Wednesday).

Gaetano Galati, Director

Customer Strategy
CHEP Australia (Vic)

Gaetano Galati is Director, Customer Strategy at CHEP Australia. He has been part of CHEP for over 15 years in cross-functional leadership, commercial sales, account management, category management, supply chain optimisation, revenue growth and building high performance teams.

From its origins in Australia in 1946 when the Australian Government privatised the equipment handling business, and purchased by Brambles in 1958, CHEP grew to operate the largest pool of pallets and containers in the Southern Hemisphere and the largest hiring fleet of forklift trucks in Australia.

Since then CHEP expanded across the globe, introducing equipment-pooling operations in 14 countries across Asia-Pacific, Europe, South Africa, Canada and the USA between 1974 and 1991 ; and in 2000 introduced resuable plastic crates - or RPCs - which are driving circular solutions in diverse supply chains.

CHEP is now at the core of global group Brambles, who provide more than 300 million reusable pallets, crates and other solutions to growers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers worldwide. Potentially the only example of circular economy at scale, this homegrown company with over 13,000 across 60+ countries is a global leader in providing shared industry platforms and solutions.

At Powering the change, Gaetano will talk about the benefits of moving to solutions that address the whole system rather than incremental change, with a focus on the Australian fresh food supply chain in the session Circular at scale: an Australian story (Monday).

Karen Gomez

Chief Executive

Karen Gomez leads Paintback, an industry-led initiative designed to divert unwanted paint and packaging from landfills and vital waterways.

As part of this initiative, she works with leading brands such as Dulux, Solver and Wattle to find innovative ways to repurpose the paint industry’s end-of-life product.

Karen is an experienced product stewardship leader, building on a career as a senior executive operating nationally and internationally in sectors such as manufacturing, telecommunications, motor club services and finance.

Prior to joining Paintback, Karen was the inaugural CEO of Agstewardship Australia, which was established to provide strategic overview and fund rural chemical stewardship programs. She also served on the Federal Government’s Product Stewardship Advisory Group.

At Powering the change, Karen will share how PaintBack brings together industry competitors to find solutions that work at scale in Australia that benefit every member company in the session Circular at scale: an Australian story (Monday).

Tim Grant

Lifecycles (VIC)

Tim Grant is Director of Melbourne company Lifecycles in 2003. He is sought after in Australia and globally for his expertise and cut-through advice on both life cycle assessment and circular economy topics.

Lifecycles is a leader in life cycle assessments, training and research and works across a large range of industries: agriculture, buildings, fuels, food, infrastructure, packaging and more. It is also provider of the packaging tool, PIQET, which is used by leaders in the fast moving consumer goods industry across the world and provides organisations a quick and hands-on way to assess a range of key impacts as they develop their packaging.

Previously Tim was Visiting Scientist at the CSIRO on a range of flagship projects in areas such as sustainable agriculture and oceans and atmosphere. At RMIT University, Tim was Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Design at RMIT, providing leadership on a range of sustainability assessment tools and approaches, and developing and managing the lifecycle assessment program.

Tim was Founding President of the Australian Lifecycle Assessment Society (ALCAS), which was established in 2000 when life cycle assessment was still an emerging field in Australia. He is Secretary of ALCAS and heads up the Australian national LCA database (AusLCI). Tim is also Co-chair of an international task force developing soil quality indicators for LCA as part of the Life Cycle Initiative hosted by UN Environment.

Tim is coauthor of the reference volume, 'Life cycle assessment: principles, practice and prospects' (2009) and of, 'Design + Environment: A Global Guide to Designing Greener Goods' (2001).

At Powering the change, Tim will be drawing on his extensive experience working with companies, governments and not-for-profits in life cycle assessment, to speak about practical and effective forms of measurement that apply to the circular economy.

Vaughan Levitzke PSM

Chief Executive
Green Industries SA (SA)

Vaughan Levitzke has played a leading role in sustainability in South Australia for decades. He heads Green Industries South Australia (GISA), which was established in 2017, transitioning from its previous incarnation as Zero Waste SA. Vaughan was appointed inaugural Chief Executive and ex-officio board member.

GISA delivers strategic policy that enables better resource management and waste reduction through market interventions. These create incentives for infrastructure investment, commercialisation of innovation, market development, and improvements to recycling and waste services and systems.

GISA facilitates and enables changes that save businesses and governments money while building social and economic capacity and activity. It is responsible for facilitating South Australia’s green industries sector, and developing the circular economy.
Vaughan is also an Advisory Board member of the United Nations Centre for Regional Development International Partnership.

Prior to his role at GISA, Vaughan established, and led another ground breaking organisation, Zero Waste SA. He also spent a decade with the South Australian Environment Protection Authority, focussing on regulation in the waste sector, litter, container deposit legislation, ecoefficiency and industry sustainability.

At Powering the change, Vaughan will speak on the need to work with industry and across agencies and different levels of government to increase demand ‘pull’ for secondary materials in the session Using purchasing power to drive to drive market growth (Wednesday).

Vaughan will draw on his extensive work managing and pioneering the expansion of South Australia’s leading container deposit scheme and plastic bag bans, to share how we might take responsible plastic management to the next level in the closing plenary The plastics challenge - a global catastrophe or an opportunity waiting to happen? (Wednesday).

Tom Lunn

Group General Manager Marketing and Innovation

Tom Lunn leads a team at Detmold that is commercialising new packaging technologies and designs, working with brands like McDonalds in the USA, Starbucks in China, Jollibee in the Philippines and Qantas in Australia.

Founded in 1948, the Detmold Group encompasses seven factories and more than 20 sales offices throughout Australia, Asia, South Africa, the Middle East, America and Europe.

Most recently, the Detmold innovation team developed a recycling solution for disposable coffee cups, a challenge that’s defeated many companies in today’s marketplace.

Tom combines a strategic marketing focus and rapid adoption of emerging digital technologies in optimising the customer experience, to advance brands and support sales growth. Tom is focussed on sustainability in business, and has helped customers to reduce the environmental footprint of hundreds of products, leading to savings of thousands of tonnes of raw material each year and diverting millions of used items from landfill to be recycled for other uses.

At Powering the change, Tom will share insights on, and some of the challenges that arise, when shifting entire value chains through circular approaches such as Detmold’s coffee cup recycling system, in the session Circular at scale: an Australian story (Monday).

Joyanne Manning

Australasia Resource and Waste Management Leader
Arup (QLD)

Joyanne Manning has delivered programs and projects across a range of civil infrastructure and the built environment for over 20 years. She has led significant projects in Europe & Australasia in challenging environments, with multi-disciplinary teams, and both public and private sector clients.

Joyanne shares her deep understanding of waste management practices and technologies to further circular economy approaches. She led the development of a ‘Foresight workshop on the Circular Economy’ during the World Science Festival in Brisbane earlier this year.

At Powering the change, Joyanne will be moderating the sessions Circular opportunities for precincts, cities and regions and Innovations in the built environment (Tuesday).

Andrew Mannix

General Manager, Remanufacturing and Production, Mining Division
Liebherr-Australia Pty Ltd (SA)

Andrew Mannix has led the establishment and operation of the expansive remanufacturing centre for Liebherr mining components in Northern Adelaide and has a direct insight into the business drivers for remanufacturing and how the process can simultaneously provide benefits to customers and the environment.

Liebherr is a leading mining equipment, crane and earthmoving equipment supplier in Australia and globally.

Andrew shares insight into how good manufacturing engineering, quality systems, design evolution and circular process inter-relate. In a highly vertically integrated company, the ability to drive product excellence by influencing iterative improvements in equipment durability and optimised parts recycling is a strength.

Prior to joining Liebherr, Andrew held key senior executive roles with BAE Systems for over 20 years in the defence industry. Andrew is also Deputy Chair of The Road Home (Board of Governors) and a Member of the Board of The Hospital Research Foundation.

At Powering the change, Andrew will share how Liebherr’s remanufacturing arm provides value to mining customers across the nation using state-of-the-art manufacturing and quality control processes in the industry breakfast Manufacture, remanufacture, rinse and repeat (Tuesday). He will explore the way advanced manufacturing techniques make this circular business model even more viable, the kinds of equipment that are adapted to this value-adding activity, and some of the barriers that need to be tackled to get going.

Scott Morton

BioBag World Australia (SA)

Adelaide business owner Scott Morton had been making traditional polyethylene plastic bags and films for over 12 years before he entered the burgeoning bioplastic market.

In January 2018, Scott took over BioBag World Australia as Managing Director and part owner of the Norway-based global business. Founded in the late 1950s as a privately-owned polyethylene film and bag manufacturer, BioBag is now a world-leader in the development, production, and marketing of certified compostable and biodegradable products with six factories and 20 market or distribution partners around the world.

Another of Scott’s companies, Peakfresh Products, won the 2017 Australian Export Awards Small Business Award for South Australia. Peakfresh’s produce bags made are made from traditional polyethylene plastic film impregnated with a naturally occurring mineral to extend the life and quality of fresh produce goods – and 60 per cent of the product is shipped overseas.

At Powering the change, Scott will discuss how he is bringing international plastic alternatives to the Australian market in the session Circular at scale: an Australian story (Monday). Scott has had to ramp up distribution with the rapid increase in demand for compostable plastics and will begin manufacturing BioBag products here in South Australia before year end.

Dr Kate Ringvall

Country Manager, Sustainability Retail

As Country Manager for Sustainability at IKEA Australia, Dr Kate Ringvall is responsible for translating IKEA’s world leading circular strategy into on-the-ground action across Australia.

This year saw circular economy at the forefront of IKEA Australia’s sustainability communications for the first time, with a ‘circular living’ pop-up store to show recycled and renewable materials in IKEA’s range, and the first furniture take back service in Australia, both at their Tempe store in Sydney.

With more than 20 years’ experience working, studying and exploring the many facets of sustainability, Kate has a Masters in Public Policy and a PhD in Planning. Her areas of expertise include sustainable transport planning, sustainable cities, transit orientated development, and energy efficiency in the built and environment.

At Powering the change, Kate will explain why the circular economy is at the heart of IKEA’s strategy and how this translates into practice in the sessions Using purchasing power to drive market growth and The plastics challenge - a global catastrophe or an opportunity waiting to happen? (Wednesday).

Andrew Sellick

Head of Environmental Sustainability
Australia Post (VIC)

Andrew Sellick is head of Environment Sustainability at Australia Post. He has spent much of his career helping some of Australia’s best known companies to create more good for the environment and better for their customers and community.

Andrew has spearheaded the implementation of a wide range of environmentally focussed initiatives including carbon offsetting, ground-breaking recycling and upcycling programs, renewable fuel and energy solutions as well as customer, community and workforce engagement strategies.

Australia’s oldest continually operating organisation, Australia Post, is a self‑funded government business enterprise employing more than 36,000 people across their integrated delivery, logistics, retail and eCommerce solutions markets. The organisation has more than 7,000 ‘posties’ who deliver mail across Australia, and 11.5 million delivery points.

An evolution is underway as Australia Post works to meet the many challenges of digital disruption—including declines in letter volumes and increases in parcel deliveries driven by online shopping. The company’s ‘Part of Tomorrow’ strategy has a strong focus on eCommerce, innovation and sustainability as the organisation transforms.

Prior to joining Australia Post, Andrew was Group Manager—Environment and Carbon for QANTAS Airways. He also serves as Non Executive Director with the Centre for Sustainable Leadership in Melbourne, a leading not-for-profit organisation that builds the capability of leaders of the future.

At Powering the change, Andrew will share how Australia Post is bringing together clients and stakeholders to collaborate, and the role the organisation is playing to promote circular economy approaches as it implements its future-focussed strategy. Andrew will join the panel at the session Can circular economy prepare business to face tomorrow’s mega risks? (Tuesday)

Prof John Spoehr


Prof John Spoehr is Pro-Vice Chancellor Research Impact of Flinders University, and an economist with an extensive track record researching, commentating and leading in South Australia.

As Director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) at Flinders University, John leads a multi-disciplinary team focusing on industry and workplace transformation in the context of technological change and innovation. AITI provides high level industry, economic and workforce research in response to major change, and explores the industries and jobs of the future.

As a social and economic analyst focussing on employment and industry policy, inequality and social justice, John has written extensively in academic and mainstream media on economic and industry development, employment, unemployment and the socioeconomic impact of change.

John played a leading role in the establishment of the Stretton Centre, a regional hub in Northern Adelaide for integrated industry, workforce and urban development, addressing challenges and pursuing opportunities through research, collaboration and innovation.

Prior to this John established and lead the Australian Workplace Innovation and Social Research Centre at the University of Adelaide for 23 years.

John's major publications include 'The Engaging State - South Australia's engagement with the Asia Pacific Region' with Purnendra Jain, 'State of South Australia - from crisis to prosperity?' and 'Power Politics - the electricity crisis and you'. His latest edited book is 'State of South Australia - turbulent times', published by Wakefield Press.

John is the Patron of the Don Dunstan Foundation and an Honorary member of the Leaders Institute of SA. He is a member of the Australian Design Integration Network, an Advisory Committee member of the Adelaide Festival of Architecture and Design, and a Chief Investigator of the Innovative Manufacturing CRC.

At Powering the change, John will examine the linkages between new technologies and the circular economy in the session Industry 4.0 (Tuesday) and what skills will be necessary in the transformation in the session The future of work - circular skills in demand (Wednesday).

Bill Watt

Manager technology & continuous improvement
Nyrstar (SA)

Over the last five years, Bill Watt has been focussed on on transforming Nyrstar Port Pirie from a primary lead smelter to a state of the art smelter and recycler.

The evolving facility will process difficult-to-treat waste materials such as e-scrap to recover metals and utilise the plastic component as a reductant and for energy. Other initiatives are the treatment of alkaline batteries, and a vision to transform the operation to a zero waste smelter by using waste materials such as the final slag product in the cement industry.

Bill has extensive experience, having held a range technical and management roles for over 25 years in both large and small organisations.

At Powering the change, Bill Watt will be sharing Nyrstar’s journey in introducing pioneering technology in the local marketplace in the session Circular at scale: an Australian story (Monday).

Bede Wolf

Operations Manager of Eco Manufacturing
Fuji Xerox Australia (NSW)

Bede Wolf is Operations Manager at Fuji Xerox Australia’s flagship sustainability investment, the Eco Manufacturing Centre at Rosehill.

Bede’s department implements improvements in reverse logistics, remanufacturing and e-waste recycling to create greater value for Fuji Xerox clients.

Bede has recently returned from an 18 month secondment to the Fuji Xerox headquarters in Japan, where he worked in their Global Recycling System department. He is now focussing on applying Japan’s best practice principles around customer experience and operational excellence to the Australian context.

At Powering the change, Bede will share examples of practical solutions for the circular economy, and how these have unlocked surprising opportunities for other stakeholders at the industry breakfast Manufacture, remanufacture, rinse and repeat (Tuesday).