Markets: Pan-Continental Network

(November 2009) Founding a global trade organization for the stone branch, was the topic of a special meeting at this year’s Marmomacc. The brain-storming-session was conceived by organizers of the Verona Fair and hosted by the pan European Organization Euroroc, the umbrella trade organization for the various European national organizations. About 20 people attended with the balance of representation going to the Western World: next to representatives of the European and US-American Organisations respectively only 2 representatives were dispatched from India.

USA-Representatives presented their campaign „Genuine Stone“, launched in 2007, which is offering information for buyers under its new label (see below). „Genuine Stone“ has also initiated media coverage with the aim of market integration.

The ensuing discussion brought forth two preferred forms for global cooperation. One group wanted a world-wide logo for the stone branch to avoid confusion of trade marks and conversely to foster a global corporate identity.

The other group saw the need for global cooperation particularly in setting up technical standards. The need stems from increased global ecological awareness reflected in the initiation of local standards by national politicians. The stone branch is called upon to agree and publish fact sheets to avoid collision of national laws which would make international trade difficult.

One case in point is the Environment Product Declaration (EPD). This new European Union Law requires disclosure of the energy consumption during production of and the possibility of recycling all materials used to build public buildings. Euroroc has just commissioned a study to assess the requirements and repercussions; Australia already has a points-system called Eco Label.

Attendees agreed to exchange names and addresses – an important first step in knitting a network. The next meeting is scheduled to take place after the results of the European EPD-study are in. This could take several months.

 Genuine Stone is the logo of the marketing campaign which bears the same name and was called into life by the US-American Stone Branch. As a rule, the logo is at the disposal of members of the trade branch. But non-members may apply for permission to use it as well. There is no fee involved, but it is expected that the user contribute to the campaign in kind. The campaign website makes no reference to the contributing companies.

  Natural Stone is the European logo translated into many languages. It came into being after a lengthy and tedious process by Euroroc. Whoever wishes to use the logo must buy a licence costing in some countries 100 € per year or in others being included in the membership-fee to the national organizations. Germany steps out (German): they charge at least 150 € for the licence, depending on the size of the company, up to 1,800 € for a non-member in an organization. The Euroroc website and the national initiatives refer to and name the licencees. There are presently about 620 firms using the Natural Stone Logo. The logo depicted here is in Finnish.