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  • BIR Amsterdam Convention - “The Challenge” Live: Sustainability: The Commercial Case “Show me the Money!”

BIR Amsterdam Convention - “The Challenge” Live: Sustainability: The Commercial Case “Show me the Money!”

  • 31 May 2023

by Michael Lion, ITC Chairman and host of The Challenge

Lights – camera – action! It was time for another edition of “The Challenge”, the much-acclaimed live (and live-streamed) opening session* at the latest BIR World Recycling Convention in Amsterdam.

Anticipation was high for the appearance of the show’s regular Three Amigos, but regrettably co-anchor contributor Marvelous Mark Sellier was unable to attend the session, and likewise fellow cohort, the inimitable Majestic Murat Bayram was detained in Hamburg for the most pressing of reasons, the then imminent birth of his new daughter, little Mariella Bayram, who we join in welcoming to the world!

So, then there was one – host of “The Challenge” and Chairman of the BIR International Trade Council Michael Lion – but help was at hand in the unsurpassable guest Amigo, that star presenter and producer of the ground-breaking series on recycling now imminently being picked up by Amazon Prime: “Mr Repurposed” John Sacco, owner and CEO of Sierra International Machinery.

And what a zinger of an edition these Two Amigos provided to mark the party, party, party of the 75th  Anniversary celebration of BIR.

With a uniquely entertaining, lively and most importantly informative chat the duo of recycling personalities examined the crucial role that messaging and influencing plays in presenting the fundamental importance of recycling in the raw material supply chain and the vital need for recognition of the commercial case for sustainability under the theme of the edition: “Show me the money”.

The magnificent messaging that “Repurposed” delivers and the images of Majestic Murat with King Charles the Third and F1 champion Nikko Rosberg provide invaluable examples furthering our cause.

*recording available here: https://www.bir.org/events/the-challenge

The Two Amigos were then joined by their special guest Uwe Schmidt, CCO and Board member of the major copper consumer Montanwerke Brixlegg for a lively discussion of the interactive role this leading recyclable copper consumer plays in the raw material supply chain.

Mr Schmidt provided a superbly erudite, informative and well-reasoned exposé of his company’s contribution to the supply chain in their use of recyclable copper, which, as Michael Lion pointed out, demonstrated the overwhelming positivity and interdependence our two branches of recycling contribute to the global economy.

The one challenging aspect of export controls was examined in a vigorous exchange where under Lion’s inimitable probing questioning (after all, not for nothing is the show called “The Challenge”!) Mr Schmidt conceded that they import recyclable copper and Lion pointed out reciprocal controls would significantly impair their supply chain, while Uwe noted that he favoured free markets, providing it was with a level playing field – a subjective arbitrary concept Lion suggested.

The discussion was indeed a revealing and very valuable addition to this important debate with much mutually positive input.

Rounding off the show with “The Challenge’s” much loved one-minute Hot Seat takes, which in celebration of the “75th” focused on the contributions, some less often identified, of individuals through the years. 

In rapid succession Lion greeted Robin Wiener (also celebrating her 25th anniversary as President of ISRI this year); the long-serving past Director General of BIR, Francis Veys; Chair of BIR’s International Environment Council, Olivier Francois; a perspective of the future from Young Traders Chair Niels Keyaert; Secretary General of EURIC, Emmanuel Katrakis; a veteran President of the Non-Ferrous Metals Division, Marc Natan; our illustrious Director General, Arnaud Brunet and ultimately our splendidly successful outgoing President in recognition of his superb tenure, Tom Bird.

Thanking guest Amigo John Sacco for his fantastic contribution along with much appreciation for special guest Uwe Schmidt and our dedicated production team, host Michael Lion closed a memorable Anniversary edition of “The Challenge” with a typically cheeky musical nod to the racy closing bars of “This is the greatest show” from the renowned movie “The Greatest Showman” – perhaps a stretch, but surely a nod to a heck of a fun edition of the show!