Interviews - September 9, 2019

Sergio Barbarino, Expert of the month – August 2019!

Sergio Barbarino

Written by Sabrina Cipullo 5 min read

This month our award goes to Sergio Barbarino (Ing. ,MBA, and FRSC) as a recognition of his hard work and dedication, Thank you so much for your great contribution!

In this interview, we had the chance to learn more about Sergio, his work at Procter & Gamble, as well as his passions and drivers for being an Advisory Expert at the Solar Impulse Foundation and an expert evaluator for the European Commission.


Sergio Barbarino is an R&D Research Fellow at the Procter & Gamble Brussels Innovation Center where he leads the P&G C+D (open innovation) team. Sergio is also the Chairperson of ALICE, the EU Innovation Platform for Logistic aimed at realising the Physical Internet. 

Born in Naples, Italy, Sergio has a master degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Napoli Federico II and an MBA from the Solvay Business School in Brussels. Sergio has created in 2007 the first group of Supply Chain & Logistic R&D within Procter & Gamble, called Supply Network Innovation Center, of which he was the Scientific coordinator for 10 years. Sergio has been the scientific leader of 2 EU FP7 projects: the C03 consortium aiming at increasing shipper collaboration on Logistics in Europe and Modulushca, aimed at the development of new shareable and reusable logistic standard modules for the last mile delivery. In the Chemical Engineering Domain, Sergio has represented P&G in the Large Collaborative projects Impulse and F3 on innovative micro processing leading some of the best demonstrators. Sergio has developed the manufacturing Processes of many well-known P&G Brands (e.g. Mr. Clean, Viakal) and has been the chief designer for P&G of Innovative Liquid Manufacturing systems for developing markets. He is also responsible for several P&G Academic Partnerships and has been Visiting professor - among others - at the Ecole des Mines de Paris, the City University of London, Laval University Quebec, Solvay Brussels School, Georgiatech and Purdue.

Last but not least, Sergio is a certified Sommelier and is co-owner of the onlygreatwines company that imports many small producers wines in Belgium and runs the lovely Winehouse Osteria in the center of Brussels.

Could you tell us more about P&G’s activity?

P&G is the largest consumer good company in the world: about 5 billions people use one or more P&G branded products (e.g. Ariel, Pampers, Gillette, Always, etc). 

As you have extensive experience in multilateral partnerships across the industry and Academia, what would you say is the most challenging part of managing collaborative research projects?

Mutual understanding of the respective interests and motivation (and respecting those) is essential for the formation of strong successful consortia.

While environmental concerns (such as resource scarcity and increase in waste production) have raised increasing interest towards the concept of circular supply chain management (and more broadly circular economy), a number of challenges still remains. What are, in your opinion, the approaches and instruments that could contribute to achieve the goal of integrating design/manufacturing systems in harmony with the physical distribution requirements?

The key issue is that current supply chains and Physical distribution networks are unidirectional (from raw material to waste)….rewiring them for the circular economy requires a collaborative effort of industry, public authorities and most importantly consumers. Especially the regulatory framework needs to be deeply revisited to remove the current very restrictive norms on waste management.

What is the value of being an Expert for you, and more in general what means being part of World Alliance?

Evaluating SI's solutions is an amazing opportunity for P&G Scientist and Engineers to get out of the “P&G bubble”. By looking at sustainable solutions in other domains we get inspired for our own projects….and it has already happened that some solutions are directly applicable by P&G as well.

Have you get the chance to participate in our Experts’ Challenge, if yes, how was your Experience?

Yes I did. I find very interesting to meet people from other companies sharing the sustainability interest…saving the Planet cannot be done competitively…there must be a collaborative effort…and you are creating an amazing community.

Have you come across any interesting Solution that you would like to see in our 1000 Solutions portfolio? If not do you have any Solutions that you wish to see in our portfolio?

There are some solutions that P&G is championing in the industry for which we are preparing applications (for example on plastic recycle).

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I am an expert evaluator for the European Commission. The project evaluation methodology they use is very rigorous and fair, but has several limitations. I really like Solar Impulse Foundation's assessment methodology, that I think is much more advanced that the one used for EU funded projects, for example the "chatbox tool" is extremely effective. I am trying to get some people from the Commission involved in the expert community so that they can see it by themselves.

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