Judges Bios

Simona Bonafè is a member of the European Parliament. She was elected to the EP in May 2014 with the highest number of preferential votes among Italian MEPs. She sits in the Committees for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and for Economic and Monetary Affairs. She is vice-chair and co-founder of the Long Term Investment Intergroup. She is the EP Rapporteur for the revision of the Circular Economy Legislative Package.

In 2013 she was elected to the Italian Parliament. Prior to that, she was engaged in local politics in Tuscany, where she served as Municipal Council Member for Environment.

Ton Emans is the President of Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) and Director Group Recycling in CeDO, with more than 25 years of experience in plastic recycling industry. Ton Emans started his career with DSM in Geleen, the Netherlands and worked as researcher in the field of environment and safety. His roles changed as the company underwent transitions and in 2004 was named Supply Chain Managing Director of CeDo Group.

He holds a Master of Science in occupational health and safety from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and has completed several business programs. In 2009 Ton Emans became Vice President and in 2011 the President of Plastics Recyclers Europe.

Cyrill Gutsch is the founder of Parley for the Oceans. He is an award-winning designer and brand and product developer. He created a method called Cross Intelligence, which brings a culture of collaboration to major organizations. In 2001, he co-founded the CCID Center for Media, Knowledge Cultures, Imagination and Development at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, providing a forum for those from the worlds of science and the arts to come together in creative collaborations.

In 2012 he decided to focus on a new client vital to us all: the oceans. He then founded Parley as a collaboration network for creators, thinkers, and leaders to create awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans and to develop and implement strategies that can end their destruction.

After graduating with a master’s degree in English language literature, Karen Laird started out her career as a sworn Dutch – English translator for legal and technical documents. Later she moved into technical writing, mainly for the plastics industry, which in 2001 led to a job as chief editor, and later, assistant publisher of the Dutch-language trade journal for plastics and rubber, Kunststof en Rubber.

Karen subsequently returned to writing in English, and worked for the publication Modern Plastics/Plastics Today, where she was responsible for the sustainability beat, and held the position of European editor. In May 2017, she joined Crain Communications as editor of Plastics News Europe.


With ten years at the helm of Form Us With Love, Jonas Pettersson co-founded the studio with John Löfgren shortly after graduating from university. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Linneuniversitetet design school in Kalmar, Pettersson has worked hands on with some of the most influential brands and companies in Scandinavian and international design.

Today, Pettersson acts as Form Us With Love’s primary business-orientated design strategist and is heavily engaged with the studio’s venture projects; sharing his unique knowledge of design and its business to emerging brands and industry leaders.  

 Richard Thompson is Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University. Much of his work over the last decade has focused on marine debris with numerous publications and significant research funding on this topic. He was a co-author of the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive text on marine litter. He has been a member of numerous international working groups on marine litter including GESAMP, NCEAS, UNEP, UNIRP.  In 2014 he presented his research to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, at the Our Ocean meeting in Washington. The research was also presented to OECD and G7 nations. Recent work by his team directly informed the UK Government decision to introduce legislation on the use of microplastics in cosmetics. He has recently been working with G7 nations on the monitoring of marine litter.  

Rune Thoralfsson is a Norwegian citizen, residing in Oslo. He is the owner and director of Norfolier GreenTec AS, the largest film recycler in the Nordic region. Norfolier is also a leading refuse sack converter using 100% recycled plastics. Rune has previously owned and managed a test-liner mill, a waste incineration plant, and an insurance brokerage firm – all major businesses in the Nordic region. Prior to becoming an independent investor, Rune was a Partner at PA Consulting Group and worked in brand management at Procter & Gamble in USA and Germany. He holds an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor from University of Washington. Prior to his education he was an officer in the Royal Norwegian Navy. Rune is a member of the management committee of Plastics Recyclers Europe and a board member of Plastretur, the holding company of Grønt Punkt Norge.