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19 June 2024

EUROPUR & EURO-MOULDERS Annual Conference 2024: Istanbul – Crossroads of Trade, Innovation & Culture

The 2024 edition of the Annual Conference of EUROPUR and EURO-MOULDERS – respectively the association of flexible PU foam blocks manufacturers and the association of polyurethane parts producers for the automotive industry – took place in Istanbul on 12 and 13 June. Around 530 participants attended the event, with another ~60 joining online. Together, they represented more than 160 companies, including 60+ foam producers from all over Europe and beyond.

Day 1: Keynote Speeches, Market Insights & Industry Trends

As it is customary, the first day of the conference was dedicated to ‘general’ topics, such as market sentiments and industry trends, discussions about upcoming EU legislation, as well as  keynote speeches and a sponsor presentation. 

The conference kicked off with an insightful keynote presentation ‘Geopolitics, Competitiveness, Climate Change – Can Europe Face it All?’ by Georg Riekeles, Associate Director of the European Policy Center. Georg painted a sobering picture of global geopolitics and their  consequences on trade, as well as onwhat this means for Europe, giving practical examples for the flexible PU foam industry. His conclusions underlined the key message given by EUROPUR’s President in his opening speech.

This was followed by an interactive panel discussion entitled ‘European Flexible PU Foam Markets, Upstream & Downstream – With Focus on Türkiye’. Experts from the companies Chemical Market Analytics (Tobias Spyra), CSIL (Giulia Taveggia) and Turkish Automotive Industry Association, OSD (Irem Bacdar) provided insights on chemical raw materials, as well as on the main downstream markets for flexible polyurethane foam (namely upholstered furniture, bedding and automotive), whilst having a particular focus on the host country, Türkiye. The panellists reflected on various topics, notably on the global trade relations of mattresses with the EU, setting the foundation for the next panel discussion.

Clint Raine from Belvedere and Partner presented data on the flexible PU foam production for 2023. Despite volatile market conditions, the total production of flexible polyurethane slabstock foam on the European continent (incl. Russia and Türkiye) in 2023 was 1.38 million tonnes; an increase of about 1.8% compared to 2022. Türkiye again recorded a significant increase and – for the first time ever – surpassed Poland as the largest producing region of slabstock PU foam in Europe. Clint reported large disparities amongst European regions, with Western Europe recording significant falls in production while, on average, the East & South kept steady production levels. If we look only at the EU + UK, the slabstock PU foam industry has recorded a -5% drop compared to the previous year.

Continuing with market themes, an additional panel discussion was held on ‘Global Polyurethane Foam Markets’. The experts were representative of various organisations; IAL Consultants (Philip Propst), Polyurethane Foam Association, PFA (Philippe Knaub), PUdaily (Audrey Liu) and Indian Polyurethane Association, IPUA (Sunil Minocha & Siddharth Malani). The panellists discussed common challenges – and opportunities – the PU industry is facing globally, whilst delving into region-specific examples. Both panel discussions were moderated by EUROPUR’s President, Bart ten Brink.

Transitioning to automotive topics, another panel discussion was held on ‘The Draft End-of-Life Vehicles Regulation – What Changes for the Automotive Supply Chain?’, with delegates from a good part of the automotive supply chain. Moderated by Michel Baumgartner (EUROPUR/EURO-MOULDERS), panellists discussed the possible impact the proposed ELV Regulation will have on polyurethanes and plastics in vehicles. The panel consisted of representatives of EURO-MOULDERS (Theodoros Mardas), Adient (Sebastien Gentil), Plastics Europe (John Mortell), EURIC – The voice of Europe’s recycling industries (Alejandro Navazas) and Ford Otosan (Aysemin Top Gül).

In the second keynote speech of the day, Wim Vermeulen, Director of Strategy and Sustainability at Bubka, a Belgium-based advertising agency, gave a science-based presentation on the importance of authenticity in sustainability marketing. Wim’s message is straightforward: your [the company’s] voice matters – but only if it is credible. To close the day, Dr. Claudine Mollenkopf, President of the Specialty Additives division at Evonik, delivered a speech on ‘Evonik Goes Beyond: Our Quest to Drive Sustainable Innovation for the Polyurethane Industry’.

In the evening, attendees had a relaxing setup for networking:  a cocktail reception at the shores of the Sea of Marmara, followed by a dinner at a traditional Turkish restaurant – a courtesy of Evonik, the sponsor of this year’s event.

Day 2: New Solutions & Technical Innovations

The second day, traditionally dedicated to ‘technical’ topics, saw 33 presentations in total: 11 on topics of sustainability, 6 on automotive and product stewardship & novel raw materials, and 5 on machinery & digitalisation and health & safety.

EUROPUR’s Secretary General, Michel Baumgartner, closed proceedings, thanking everybody involved in the organisation and announcing that the next Annual Conference will take place in Alicante (Spain) on 3-5 June 2025. The sponsor of the event will be the company Interplasp, who will next year celebrate their 50th anniversary.

For more information please contact Damir Andrasek, Communications Officer (E:, M: +32 492 10 7576)



EURO-MOULDERS is the European Association of Manufacturers of Moulded Polyurethane Parts for the Automotive Industry. Its members produce the vast majority of the moulded PU foam used in automotive seating as well as many other parts used in car interiors and acoustic insulation.


EUROPUR is the European Association of Flexible polyurethane (PU) Foam Blocks Manufacturers. Its members operate more than 120 slabstock PU foam plants in  32 countries and produce around 90% of the flexible polyurethane foam made in the region. Additionally, over 60 organisations from the flexible PU foam supply chain are Associated Members, ranging from chemical raw materials suppliers and machinery manufacturers to various service providers, like logistics and recycling companies.