Synergies in Shanghai

Features - Conferences & Events

Recyclers will convene in China’s largest city this May for the Bureau of International Recycling’s annual World Convention & Exhibition.

March 11, 2013
Lisa McKenna

As the recycling industry continues to grapple with volatile market dynamics and the increasingly vital East-West connection, few other venues would seem more appropriate than Shanghai.

This city of contrasts between new and old, East and West, will serve as the locale for the Bureau of International Recycling’s (BIR’s) annual World Recycling Convention & Exhibition May 26-29, 2013.

With 23 million residents, Shanghai is China’s largest city when it comes to population. The city also is known as one of the most important economic, commercial, financial and communication centers in the People’s Republic of China.

Described as the busiest container port in the world, Shanghai has long served as a commercial hub between the East and the West. The city offers a singular mix of contrasts, being one of the few places on earth where visitors can find cutting-edge architectural achievements set against the ancient temples and classical Chinese gardens of old Shanghai.

BIR World Recycling Convention meetings are to be held at the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel in East Shanghai, an internationally recognized five-star business hotel located on the famous Huangpu River in Shanghai’s Lujiazui financial district directly opposite the historical Bund. The association has prereserved a number of rooms at the hotel at preferential rates for convention participants. Delegates wishing to take advantage of the preferential rates must register by April 15, 2013, the association notes. The association also has negotiated rates with the Ritz Carlton Shanghai in Pudong, located just opposite the host hotel.

Francis Veys, director general of the BIR, says that in recent years, BIR World Recycling Convention attendance has steadily increased beyond the 1,000-delegate mark, making this event among the most international of business forums for the recycling industry. The association says it expects to reach that mark yet again in Shanghai. In addition to delegates, Veys notes, the event also will include 40 exhibition stands reserved for equipment manufacturers.

Schedule of Events
Registration desk hours begin Sunday, May 26, and a number of committee meetings are planned to occur that day. Meanwhile, convention plenary sessions, open to all delegates, begin Monday, May 27, and continue through Wednesday. Veys says attendees can expect a variety of topics to be covered during these sessions. “The various Commodity Divisions meetings will definitely address the future developments in the market for recycled materials,” says Veys. Other topics will be tackled as well, he adds.

According to the provisional schedule of meetings, Monday brings committee meetings for stainless steel and special alloys, plastics and nonferrous metals. There are also two workshops Monday, the first focusing on Latin America and a second on electrical and electronic waste.

Tuesday the BIR has scheduled its Paper and Ferrous Division sessions along with the International Environmental Council session. Two other major events set for Tuesday are the Keynote Session and the Annual General Assembly, which are scheduled for before and after lunch, respectively.

Set for Wednesday are the International Trade Council meeting as well as Division meetings for textiles and for tires and rubber.

Veys says the association has not yet confirmed all of the speakers for the various plenary sessions; a final list is expected to be released in March. However the association has secured Chandran Nair, founder and chief executive officer of Asia’s Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), as the Keynote Session speaker. (See sidebar, below) Nair’s presentation is set for Tuesday.

Program Details
Although speaker lists are tentative as of press time, the association has invited several well-known names in the recycling industry to speak at various commodities sessions, Veys says. For the Nonferrous Division meeting, the BIR has sought out Xun Min Guo, executive vice president of Dongying Fangyun, one of the largest Chinese consumers of copper scrap; and Huang C.S., chairman and CEO of Ye Chiu Taicang, a major Chinese secondary aluminum smelter.

BIR Keynote Speaker Chang Nair Offers a Unique East-West Perspective

The Bureau of World Recycling (BIR) World Recycling Convention 2013 keynote session speaker, Chang Nair, founder and CEO of the Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), has a breadth of experience in the Asian markets. Nair has advocated a sustainable approach to development in Asia and has helped organizations implement these principles.

GIFT is an independent, nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing the understanding of the shift of economic and political power to the East, global capitalism and evolving social contracts between business, government and civil sectors.

Nair previously served as chairman of environmental consulting firm ERM in the Asia-Pacific region. He grew the company from a small office in Hong Kong to a multinational organization with 500 employees in 12 countries.

He also wrote “Consumptionomics: Asia’s Role in Reshaping Capitalism and Saving the Planet,” which was published in December 2010.

Nair also serves as chairman of Asian boutique investment advisory firm Avantage Ventures, is a visiting scholar at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s School of Business and has advised the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, the World Wildlife Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

Invited to speak at Tuesday’s Ferrous Division meeting are Peter Marcus, managing partner of U.S.-based World Steel Dynamics, and Stefan Schilbe, senior chief economist of HSBC Trinkaus.

A number of business items are expected to be on the agenda at Tuesday’s Annual General Assembly meeting, Veys says. “The General Assembly is supposed to ratify the re-election of Bjorn Grufman, BIR president, after a first two-year mandate,” he notes. Most matters handled during the assembly will be administrative in nature, Veys says, with financial discussions and the President’s Report on BIR activities expected among them.

The issue of metals theft, one that has been the subject of various BIR press reports in recent weeks, is not scheduled as part of the agenda per se, Veys says, “but we might expect an update about metal theft from containers during the International Trade Council meeting.”

Plant facility tours also have typically been part of the BIR convention schedule, and Veys says this year is no different, though details were not final as of press time. “We expect the Chinese member federations of the BIR to organize some plant visits but we have no details yet,” says Veys.

While all these events have a myriad of benefits to offer, Veys says that a few sessions in particular will be especially popular with attendees. “As usual the Nonferrous and Ferrous Division meetings as well as the International Trade Council meeting will be very well-attended,” says Veys. “We expect a large interest from our participants for the AQSIQ and CCIC issues.” AQSIQ is China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, which was established in 2001, and CCIC (China Certification & Inspection Group) is the country’s inspection agency.

Monday evening is the traditional Welcome Evening event for delegates, spouses and guests, an entertaining reception that is always a favorite with attendees. Veys notes that the details of the 2013 Welcome Evening are still under embargo, but attendees can count on yet another memorable occasion. “We can already inform you that the party will be sponsored by Sigma Group, a company which has been affiliated to BIR since the 1980s,” says Veys, referring to the aluminum company based in Shanghai. The venue for this event is yet to be announced, but it is traditionally held in a picturesque, landmark setting in the host city.

As is customary, BIR has also arranged a selection of sightseeing tours that can be booked through conference organizer MCI Group Asia Pacific. Tentative tours include the Modern Shanghai City Tour, an Old Shanghai City Tour and the Tour at Zhu Jia Jiao Water Town.

With all of these programs and events on offer, those that plan to visit Shanghai for the BIR World Recycling Convention and Exhibition are sure to experience exceptional networking and business development opportunities. For more information, visit


The author is managing editor of Recycling Today Global Edition and can be contacted at