Stijn Renier and Kristof Callebaut from Belgium share their presidency for the term from 2018 to 2020
Euroroc, the umbrella organization of the European natural stone trade organizations voted for 2 presidents for the term from 2018 to 2020: they are Stijn Renier and Kristof Callebaut, both representatives of the „Union des Carrières et Scieries de Marbres de Belgique”, Euroroc’s Belgian member. Renier is one of the owners of Renier Natuursteen, Callebaut is chief geologist at Brachot Hermant Group. Peter Becker of Stone-Ideas.com asked them where they see their fields of action.
Stone-Ideas.com: Where must the stone sector become stronger?
Stijn Renier: The stone industry is a very fragmented industry. Not only are most companies enterprises of small and medium size, so-called SMEs, but they are also spread out over the EU. Therefore we must work more closely together, this in a lot of different fields. Communication and collaboration are the key issues.
Kristof Callebaut: We must learn how to better communicate the special qualities of our material. And, again: because the industry is very fragmented, we must work together. In Belgium, for instance, we have done a campaign to promote natural stone with different federations – why can’t we do that on a European level? This is a big challenge for Euroroc.
Stone-Ideas.com: What is the sector’s biggest asset?
Stijn Renier: It’s difficult to name it, there are so many…
Kristof Callebaut: Our material has been proving its quality for centuries! Does anybody doubt the quality of Travertine from Tivoli? Or Marble from Carrara or Estremoz? Or Jura Marble? Or Belgian Blue Limestone? Most alternative building materials cannot present such a track record.
Stijn Renier: Natural stone can be used for all kinds of application, and the variety in colours and structures is immense: from white to black and all colours in between, and smooth or rough surfaces, depending on the application. Surface finishes can also easily be changed in-situ if needed.
Kristof Callebaut: Each stone is unique and the original. Ceramics with a look like stone are only a copy of our original.
Stone-Ideas.com: How is the sector’s position in the field of „green” materials?
Stijn Renier: Our material is the „greenest” that can be found, no doubt. It does not need to be created – it’s there, and we just cut it and polish it! Not even wood can say this because it needs chemical or thermal treatment, otherwise, it rots away.
Kristof Callebaut: Another example: floor tiles made of stone can be refurbished and reused many times. As to active Quarries: they do not destroy the landscape but open new habitats even for endangered species. Many abandoned quarries are nowadays turned into attractive concert spaces, leisure parks, even open-air museums.
Stone-Ideas.com: What do you plan in respect of Euroroc during your presidency?
Kristof Callebaut: Part of our Communication strategy mentioned above will be to put more content on Euroroc’s webpage, content like educational programs, a digital library, and links to all the knowledge available on natural stone. Regularly, a newsletter should be sent out to our member associations. Social Media is another field of action.
Stijn Renier: Part of the Collaboration strategy will be sharing best-practic-examples about security, stone testing, marketing, all this without adding significant costs to our members. We will create Virtual Teams to cooperate and share the knowledge.
Stone-Ideas.com: Why do the Belgians send two guys to their term of presidency?
Kristof Callebaut: We believe the president should be very active, so the consequence is that it consumes a lot of time. That’s why we proposed a co-presidency to the Euroroc General Assembly at Marmomac 2018. And our proposal was accepted.
Stijn Renier: It’s not only that. We also plan to interlink the presidents in charge with those before and those after. So the past president, Peter Harrison, will stay on as an advisor to us, and during the second year of our term, we will bring the coming president into the loop.
Please note: the work as president of Euroroc is honorary and is not paid.
(25.10.2018, USA: 10.25.2018)