Two panel-audience debate sessions on sustainability in the marine industry will be taking place on the METSTRADE Innovation Stage during the first two days of this year’s show. Both debates will see contributions from a panel of industry experts with technical or commercial backgrounds relevant to the subject matter. The audience will be encouraged to ask questions and provide input.

On Tuesday, November 14, the Innovation Stage programme will include activities on the subject of the end-of-life of boats. This will involve a round-up of the latest developments from various countries and marine organisations related to this substantial threat to future sustainability, which could potentially affect as many as 40 million boats around the world in the coming decades.

The session will aim to bring the subject to a wider audience, and encourage a more entrepreneurial focus on ways to address the challenges while keeping track of financial realities.

The panel will be moderated by Albert Willemsen, environmental consultant at ICOMIA, and include Neil Chapman (CEO of, Willem Dekker (president of the European Boating Association), Jeroen van den Heuvel (HISWA membership manager), Pierre Barbleu (president of the APER boat dismantling network, France) and Albert ten Busschen (professor of plastics technology at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences).

On Wednesday, November 15, the Innovation Stage will focus on the leisure marine industry’s plans to cope with future requirements in terms of environmental regulations and expectations. It will look at how boat design and construction techniques can be adapted to minimise the harmful impact on the environment over their entire lifecycle without reducing profitability and growth. Ways to follow environmental trends set by other sectors, such as those seen in the circular economy, will also be considered.

Moderated by Patrick Hemp, technical manager of ICOMIA, the panel will feature Christoph Ballin (CEO and co-founder of Torqeedo), Renaud Tourte (R&D director of the Beneteau Group Boats Division), Michaël Steenhof (yacht building manager at HISWA) and Shyaam Ramkumar (knowledge & innovation manager at Circle Economy).

“After the successful conferences on environmental issues held alongside the two previous METSTRADE Shows, we are now bringing sustainability into the heart of the event for the 2017 edition,” says RAI Amsterdam's maritime director Irene Dros. “This will enable us to reach the widest possible audience.”

METSTRADE 2017 runs from November 14-16 at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam.