Driving Public Policy to create a Circular Economy in the EU and North America


A Green business perspective

Side Event on World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) organised by the ASBC and Ecopreneur.eu

29 September 2020, 16:30 – 17:45 (UTC+3)

Public policy is key in creating large scale change towards a circular economy. In this session we will explore how shifts in business practices, new innovations and catalyzing our power as businesses can help shape policy change at the USA/EU, (member) state and local level. What are the public policy opportunities to incentivize a circular economy, the reduction of waste, and encourage the use of reusable, post-consumer and biodegradable materials?  What campaigns are presently underway and are different businesses doing to support these efforts? And, how can we work collaboratively to influence the change we need?  Join us for an interactive dialogue with business leaders about what green businesses are already doing and what more can be done to accelerate the shift. 

  • Explaining the role of business in influencing policy, including examples
  • Policy measures already being taken in the EU and the USA
  • What are the principles that can guide our efforts
  • How to ensure green recovery from Covid-19
  • Sharing information on the business campaigns to tackle the waste from packaging
  • Who are the legislative allies?
  • What are the opportunities for engagement


Timothy Glaz, Head of Corporate Affairs, Werner & Mertz

Thomas Oppel, Executive Vice President, American Sustainable Business Council

Arthur ten Wolde, Executive Director, Ecopreneur.eu

Martin Wolf, Director, Sustainability & Authenticity, Seventh Generation

Joanne Drake, Deputy Director-General, European Commission DG Environment

David Levine, President & Co-founder, American Sustainable Business Council (host and moderator)


16:30 Opening by David Levine

16:35 Driving Public Policy to create a Circular Economy in North America, by Thomas Oppel

16:40 The EU Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan – by Joanna Drake

16:45 Driving Public Policy to create a Circular Economy in the EU, by Arthur ten Wolde

16:50 Best practice from USA company - by Martin Wolf

16:55 Closing the loop for detergents – best practice from Werner & Mertz, by Reinhard Schneider

17:00 Panel debate responding to questions from the audience – led by David Levine

17:40 Closing words

17:45 End of Side Event


Timothy Glaz has been Head of Corporate Affairs at Werner & Mertz since 2014. With brands such as Erdal and Frosch, Werner & Mertz is well established on the Europan market as an innovative company manufacturing products in cleaning, care and conservation products. Timothy is specialized in circular economy solutions (legal framework and implementation). During his professional carreer he has worked as head of the Environmental Department for the Federal German Retail Association, key-Account Director for Nestlé and Head of Sustainability fr DSD-Der Grüne Punkt (Packaging collection & recycling).

Arthur ten Wolde is the executive director of Ecopreneur.eu, the European Sustainable Business Federation of which UnternehmensGrün is a founding member. Ecopreneur represents about 3000 businesses in six member states, mostly SMEs, which strive to deliver sustainable products and services. Arthur is internationally recognized as a circular economy expert, motivational speaker and (co-)author of several reports and numerous articles in magazines. In addition, he is a member of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform Coordination Group (ECESP-CG), the EU policy expert for MVO Nederland, Trainer Circular Design for CIRCO and Head and Owner of Circular Future. Arthur worked earlier for various employers including the Dutch Industry Confederation VNO-NCW. He has a Ph.D. in experimental physics and is certified polymer technologist.

Arthur’s profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arthurtenwolde/   Ecopreneur: www.ecopreneur.eu

David Levine is the co-founder and president of the American Sustainable Business Council. He has worked as a social entrepreneur for over 30 years focusing on the development of whole systems solutions for a more sustainable society through building strategic partnerships and broad stakeholders initiatives. Previously, he was the founding director of Continuing Education & Public Programs at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. From 1984–1997, David was founder and executive director of the Learning Alliance, an independent popular education organization. David is also a principal partner at Miracle Springs Farm, a goat dairy and family farm in the Hudson Valley.

Thomas Oppel, Executive Vice President, ASBC; Former Chief of Staff, Secretary of the U.S. Navy, has more than three decades of experience in management, communications, policy and political campaigns.

From 2009 to 2017, he served as Chief of Staff to the 75th Secretary of the United States Navy, Ray Mabus, responsible for overseeing the development, execution and communication of the Secretary’s policies, goals and objectives. After leaving Navy, Mr. Oppel relaunched his own strategy and communications firm, O2 Strategies, and co-founded Mabus Group, a strategic advisory firm focused on resiliency.

Joanna Drake has been the Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for the environment since March 2016. In this role, she is in charge of the coordination of Resource-efficiency policies and other legal instruments. She also chairs a cross-cutting Task Force spear-heading strategic positions for the DG on (inter-alia) the post-2020 Commission financial framework negotiations, Brexit co-ordination, the urban agenda and the future-proofing of the EU’s environmental regulation. By training, Joanna is a doctor of laws from the University of Malta, where she also lectured full time in the Department of European and Comparative Law. She acquired a post-graduate degree

in Advanced European Legal Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. She held various legal and management posts in the private and public sector before joining the European Commission as head of the European Commission Representation in Malta in 2005. She also had a key role in the Malta-EU accession negotiations as member of the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee. Between 2010 and 2015 she was director for SME’s and Entrepreneurship in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. During her tenure in DG GROW she also led the Commission’s Task Force on The Collaborative Economy, New Business Models And SME’s.

Martin H. Wolf creates the frameworks for design of sustainable products at Seventh Generation, Inc., a manufacturer/distributor of ecological household and personal care products. He also creates frameworks for more sustainable systems of commerce, and for working with other businesses, industry associations, legislators and regulators to implement those frameworks. Wolf brings over 40 years of experience in industrial and environmental chemistry to his work. He has conducted studies of environmental fate and metabolism for agricultural chemicals, the occurrence of hazardous chemicals in the environment, and the life cycles of product systems; and has also designed more sustainable household cleaning products. Prior to joining Seventh Generation, he was president and CEO of Cambridge Analytical Associates (Boston, MA), a  publicly traded, environmental testing and consulting company.