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Employee Q&A: Building a Circular Business in Europe

Petra Inghelbrecht, Senior Sustainability Leader

Employee Q&A: Building a Circular Business in Europe

Petra Inghelbrecht, Senior Sustainability Leader

Published 06-26-24

Submitted by Owens Corning

Petra Inghelbrecht and another next to bicycles, a scenic view behind them.

Our people making a difference is a series featured throughout Owens Corning’s 2023 Sustainability Report.

With over 25 years’ experience in environmental management, circularity, decarbonization, and policy, Petra Inghelbrecht brings a wealth of insight to Owens Corning. She has unique insights into sustainability on a global level — the large brands driving trends, the push for increased legislation in the region, and the spread from Europe into other regions around the world. Petra shares some of her insights here, and offers her perspective on our approach to building a circular economy.

On the need to rethink our approach to waste 

Waste needs to become a raw material. If you do that, you can really grow without being that dependent on your resources. There is a sustainability element to this, but also a bit of a strategic element, because we cannot keep mining and extracting our raw materials. In Europe, we’re at that stage where this is what the markets expect from us. Circular business models also allow us to work in closed loop systems with our customers and value chain. If we take back waste and bring it back as recycled content in our product, we are working in a closed loop, which is good from a sustainability point of view, but also very strategic because we are working with customers, making us both stronger — this is the double win on circularity.

On what set Owens Corning apart in circularity 

First of all, there’s a strong, innovative, technology-driven focus here, in combination with a marketdriven approach. We work with our customers and value chains to see things from their perspective. We understand the markets and the regulations, and this is the basis for the strategies we set.

Secondly, we are an innovative company that is really agile, enabling us to develop, test, and implement new things, and this combination is quite powerful. It’s a collaboration across teams and businesses with a lot of interaction and overlap, and we are progressing extremely well. The team is really enthusiastic, and I’m amazed by the level of engagement I see in the people. They’re really growing in their leadership and pushing it further. This is really a positive dynamic I see in Owens Corning and circularity, and I really like that a lot.

On the need for an integrated strategy for sustainability 

Circularity is not one solution fits all. You need to be circular and decarbonize and reduce environmental impacts. This is an important thing about circularity — it’s about winning together. We provide solutions for customers’ waste and we give it back as a solution for them. We are first focusing on our customer’s waste, where our customers win and our end markets win — and we are an essential part of that chain. We need to do it together. On circularity, it’s not only internal with Owens Corning. It’s really about collaborating across the value chain, with customers, recyclers, transporters, and end-markets. Together, we can create a positive impact on the market.

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Owens Corning

Owens Corning

Owens Corning is a global building and construction materials leader committed to building a sustainable future through material innovation. Our three integrated businesses – Roofing, Insulation, and Composites – provide durable, sustainable, energy-efficient solutions that leverage our unique material science, manufacturing, and market knowledge to help our customers win and grow. We are global in scope, human in scale with approximately 18,000 employees in 30 countries dedicated to generating value for our customers and shareholders and making a difference in the communities where we work and live. Founded in 1938 and based in Toledo, Ohio, USA, Owens Corning posted 2023 sales of $9.7 billion. For more information, visit

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