PolyTalk 2016 - Stop Plastics to the Oceans
Role: Content Director
Media Partner: D'M&S
Period: 2015 - 2016
In 2016, PlasticsEurope hosted a multi-stakeholder conference welcoming more than 250 participants equally coming from NGOs, industry, science, policy and media discussion how to stop plastics ending up in the oceans.
Under the lead of the communications department, a whole team worked more than six months on this event. As the Marine Litter Solutions programme manager, subject matter expert and direct contact to the marine litter world, I supported the communications team and the directors in developing the narrative, the interplay between major subjects, challenges and solutions and led the debate on finding and setting the right speakers (>50) from around the world. A further important element was the design of the interaction modules and to define the right environment essential for a constructive dialogue, D'M&S and the colleagues did an amazing job to bring the ideas to perfection.
For me it was the first time to be deeply on decision level involved in a large, high level public event as sort of content director. I turned into the person behind the scenes, having the team standing at my desk minute after minute to discuss all related to content and people from the larger picture to the many many details. And I will never forget the question to me in a meeting "who is deciding this" and to see how we all grew around the table as I said "As we know this best and if we think it is right than we decide and carry it". To be frank, to make such a event come true with this team was an absolute joy.
For me and I guess for most participants the event was a great success and personally it was a once in a lifetime honor to welcome global leaders from the Marine Litter sphere like Richard Thompson (Plymouth University), Roz Savage (Ocean Rower), Markus Eriksen (5Gyres), Emma Priestland (Seas at Risk), Maria Westerbos (Plastic Soup Foundation), Sue Kinsey (Marine Conservation Society), Joao Sousa (IUCN), Plastic Change, Plastic Whale, Race For Water, the EU Commission, OSPAR and to introduce them to many high level leaders from the plastics companies. All bright and passionate people I really enjoyed and feel blessed to have worked with during my Marine Litter Solutions time.
At the end we enabled everyone on stage and off stage to have a constructive controversial debate where needed, to understand each others' views and to form synergies needed for a potential joint future actions. It was a day at which everyone was quenching every available second during the coffee breaks to talk, explain, discuss their views and experiences.
Next PolyTalk will take place in Malta, Spring 2018.
The video by D'M&S (which was the media partner and did an incredible job to theme the whole venue) catches some insights from that event.