4 Minutes with…Marc Verbruggen, CEO, NatureWorks

August 25, 2014 |

verbruggenTell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

NatureWorks manufactures Ingeo, a bio-plastic (PLA) made from plants, in a large plant in Nebraska.  We sell Ingeo worldwide in a large variety of applications based on the 3P-value principle: Performance + Price competitive + Preference (carbon reduction or safety/health concerns).

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months. 

Over the next 12 months, NatureWorks has to bring the PLA industry to the next industrial maturity level, beyond the “single producer/single plant/single feedstock” situation of today. Further, we have to advance PLA on the product life cycle of targeted applications, where its price/performance can compete with oil-based incumbents.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?

Become the “material-of-choice” in specific applications. Increase the global footprint of its manufacturing base.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?

Early on in the “food vs. fuel” discussion, the bio-plastic industry should have clearly spelled out how it is fundamentally different from the bio-fuel industry as it relates to feedstocks. Would have eliminated a lot of today’s misinformation and would have eliminated some misguided policies (e.g. around cellulosic-for-bioplastics)

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?

What still drives me and a lot of my NatureWorks colleagues is that we can make Ingeo a commercial success while improving the lives of billions of people, whether through a lower carbon footprint or improved health/safety of chemicals.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?

Things are never as bad as they seem – of course, the flip side is also true – things are never as good as they seem. Also, one should always look at adversity as a great opportunity for change.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?

I am an avid reader of the New York Times – unfortunately, because of time constraints, I typically run about a week behind. Thank God for electronic media.

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?

My wife and I have been going on holiday to the Bahama’s for years – we found our little island where the weather is always nice, the food is always great, the beach is always empty and the people are always friendly. And we are not telling anybody where that island is in order to keep it that way.

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Category: Million Minds

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