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NatureWorks Announces Program for Global Biopolymer Forum

Innovation Takes Root 2010, April 13-15, Dallas Four Seasons Resort and Club

MINNETONKA, Minn., February 5, 2010 – Participants from Sony Corporation, International Paper, All Nippon Airways, Michigan State University, Frito Lay and Target Corporation are among the list of speakers announced today for the Innovation Takes Root 2010 conference, April 13-15, at the Four Seasons Resort in Dallas, Texas.  According to conference organizers from NatureWorks LLC, the lineup reflects the vibrancy and innovation now taking place in the global biopolymers market.

“Designed as both a conference and an exhibition, the two-day forum, ‘Innovation Takes Root,’ will be unique on two fronts,” said Marc Verbruggen, president and chief executive officer of NatureWorks.  “It is dedicated to polylactide, the first of a growing class of biopolymers expected to be produced on a global scale, and it captures for the first time in one forum the innovations occurring with this material throughout the supplier chain, from resin to retail,” he explained, adding that attendees will learn about the latest bio-based market introductions, green marketing approaches, new fiber and plastics technologies, product developments, and advances in after-use, ‘cradle-to-cradle’ options, he said.

“This conference was developed in response to what the market has been requesting for this new class of low-carbon materials,” added Verbruggen, “Specifically, it is a conference that encourages collaboration and exchange between developers of products and processes, innovative green marketers, those interested in emerging legislation, and those people participating in the new business options that such a conference generates.”

The Keynote and Plenary session will provide a macro view of opportunities in the field. Frito-Lay’s group vice president for Sustainability and Productivity, David Haft, will speak on environmental sustainability. The USDA’s Ron Buckhalt, BioPreferred program manager, will describe the federal government’s efforts to create markets for biopolymers with its bio-based consumer labeling initiative. Leaders in the field are also expected to discuss the increasing importance of carbon footprinting at the consumer level.

A moderated panel discussion will focus on the green business case for moving beyond fossil resources. Retailers and brand-owners will share their views and experiences with a range of markets and products, from food packaging and service ware to baby wipes. Participants include Target Corporation, Sun Chips, International Paper Food Services, and Elements Naturals. All Nippon Airways, one of Asia’s leading airlines, will describe its multi-year campaign to raise environmental awareness among its millions of airline passengers.

“One of the most exciting – and yet for some, in the short term, frustrating – aspects of bio-plastics,” explained Verbruggen, “is the potential for new treatments after their initial use.”  In a session titled Cradle-to-Cradle, a cross section of stakeholders representing different end-of-life options will share their experience and views on what’s working, what’s not, and what’s needed to successfully move toward cradle to cradle bio-plastics applications.  Participants include industry expert Joseph P. Greene, a professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing at California State University; Frederic van Gansberghe, chief executive officer of Galactic, one of the largest lactic acid producers in the world and the first to commercially recover the lactic acid feedstock from post-consumer polylactide waste; and Ashley Leidolf, of Frito-Lay’s Packaging Sustainability and Advanced Materials Research Group, who will describe the journey to produce the world’s first compostable chip bag.

In a session dedicated to Ingeo™-based product developments, presentations will range from consumer electronics — by Sony Corporation — to foodservice ware, flexible packaging, performance bio-based replacements for polystyrene, exhibition carpet, and more.

Three technical tracks with more than 15 breakout sessions at Innovation Takes Root 2010 are designed to allow a thorough exploration and discussion on the latest in developments in both fibers and plastics markets.  Two tracks will focus on tailoring Ingeo performance and properties, with either an additives approach, or a blends approach, while a separate track is dedicated to the latest advances in Ingeo fibers & nonwovens.

There are two pre-conference technical workshops scheduled for Tuesday, April 13. Dr. Ramani Narayan, distinguished professor in the department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University, will lead a workshop on the overriding principles and concepts of bio-based and biodegradable materials. Dr. Jim Valentine, Dr. Joe Schroeder, and Jed Randall, all from NatureWorks, will give workshop participants practical tools for characterizing and understanding product performance in biopolymers.

Early bird, online, and other specials — register online
Participants who register before February 15 will receive $200 off the onsite registration fee. The fee covers two full conference days, plus breakfasts, lunches, refreshments, and evening receptions. Read more and then register online.

About NatureWorks
NatureWorks LLC is a company dedicated to meeting the world’s needs today without compromising the earth’s ability to meet the needs of tomorrow. NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer a family of commercially available, low-carbon footprint biopolymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based plastics and fibers.  For more information, visit www.natureworksllc.com.

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Ingeo and the Ingeo logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NatureWorks LLC in the USA and other countries.

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