SEPAWA 2017 2 SEPAWA CONGRESS Location, location, location: the 2017 edition of SEPAWA proved the classical real estate mantra to be true. Moving SEPAWA, one of the most important on detergents and personal care in Europe, from the little Fulda to the world city Berlin, consolidated the event as a worldwide must for the industry. The international stage brought the deserved exposure to the 234 companies exhibiting. The three-day program was packed of exciting scientific talks, with topics ranging from surfactants to nanoparticles to natural products. The ambition of SEPAWA seems to aim beyond the atmosphere, as the keynote address was held by former German astronaut Ulf Merbold, who flew twice on the Space Shuttle. The general mood of companies was positive. Many exhibitors chose SEPAWA 2017 to present new innovative products. Most, if not all companies reported growth, in the words of WeylChem “We see a lot of positive developments in 2017 compared to 2016” or Sabo “Last year was very positive. Our turnover increased by 8% and in the last months we noticed an increase in the demand. ” Biolin Scientific “Our business is doing good!”. Even if many, such as Lubrizol , acknowledged that “there is a lot of competition, especially in the European market”: consequently players look more and more to emerging countries for growth opportunities. This brings its own cultural challenges and opportunities: Lubrizol “something that would be rejected in Europe could be great in Africa, and viceversa”. Political shifts such as Brexit or the Trump administration are met with a wait-and-see attitude: the British distributor Surfachem sums it up well: “It is like living under a big question mark.” while Croda reassures that in the US “The federal mandates will have much less impact than people think.”. Philosophically, WeylChem stated that “Every regulatory change can be a challenge or an opportunity, depending on which side you stand.” Almost everyone reported that customers -especially but not only in personal care- definitely demand natural ingredients, sustainably collected, especially in the Western markets: Schill+Seilacher “More and more companies are trying to go green”; KLK Oleo “the regulatory demand for company sustainable business is growing”; Silab “We see a trend towards naturality”; Surfachem “We definitely see a demand for natural, environmentally-friendly products”; Sabo “We have a lot of care in optimizing our manufacturing process and to minimize the environmental impact” and even towards vegan products: Sepawa interviews: