The umbrella organization of the European natrure stone associations elected a new chairman at its general assembly
Hermann Graser Jr. was elected President for the next 2 years at the Euroroc General Assembly on October 02, 2020. Euroroc is the umbrella organization of the national natural stone associations in Europe. Since 2009, Graser and his brother have been the head of Bamberger Natursteinwerk Hermann Graser GmbH, a company based in Bamberg near Nuremberg, which operates more than 20 quarries in Germany. He started his career with an apprenticeship as a stonemason, followed by the title of master craftsman and additional qualifications as a technician and restorer. Peter Becker from Stone-Ideas.com spoke with him about the stone sector in Germany and in Europe.
Stone-Ideas.com: In your short acceptance speech after the unanimous vote you said that the voice of natural stone should be better heard. Which ways do you see to achieve this?
Hermann Graser: Sustainable building is a central topic of our time and architects and builders, but also political decision makers, have recognized the priority of this topic. Just recently, on October 18, 2020, Ursula von der Leyen, The President of the EU Commission, insisted on the increased use of natural building materials in the context of the European Green Deal. As a natural raw material, stone is one of the most sustainable building materials of all and has helped shape European building culture for thousands of years. Here it is important to bring natural stone more into the focus of decision-makers again.
Stone-Ideas.com: Let’s talk about the current state of affairs: How can the stone sector effectively counter the strong competition from artificial stones and large ceramics?
Hermann Graser: Here, too, the issue of sustainability is extremely important. Natural stone as a natural building material has been available in nature as a finished raw material for millions of years and does not have to be produced using energy-intensive processes. There are also no contaminated waste materials. These unbeatable advantages of natural stone must be communicated more. The German Stone Association’s sustainability study with its life cycle assessment of floor coverings is helpful here. The study clearly showed that the production and use of natural stone floor coverings generates significantly lower CO2 values than other covering materials such as ceramic tiles.
Stone-Ideas.com: What are the most urgent areas where the stone sector needs to improve?
Hermann Graser: We have to become better in our public image. If we all work together, we have a powerful voice.
Stone-Ideas.com: What are the lessons the stone sector can learn from the Corona crisis?
Hermann Graser: In my opinion, it is important to position itself more strongly on the domestic market. Especially now in the Corona crisis it has become clear that although the development in the building industry is losing momentum due to the crisis, the demand in the private sector for regional materials is pleasingly positive in all countries. This opens up new opportunities to bring natural stone as a building material closer to the consumer.
Editor’s note: the office of Euroroc President is honorary and is not remunerated.
(14.12.2020, USA: 12.14.2020)