President Hermann Graser: “We are better prepared for the challenges of climate protection, sustainable production methods and competition among building materials than we were a few years ago“
Euroroc is the umbrella organization of the European natural stone associations. Its General Assembly 2021 was held at Marmomac (October 01), as usual. We publish a short version of the minutes:
* In his welcome speech, Mr. Hermann Graser, Euroroc president and head of the German Naturwerksteinverband (NSI), “pointed out that never before in our lives we had to deal with a pandemic, both professionally and personally. The restrictions are so great that many economic sectors have to fear for their existence. As much as we have had to get used to video conferencing, there is no substitute for face-to-face conversation. We are not spiritual beings, but flesh and blood people who want to meet in person.
How did our industry fare last year? After the initial scare, it was clear: we must not let ourselves be paralyzed and must seize every opportunity to get orders and work. Stagnation is deadly for the industry. Fortunately, the outlook is better than expected. Despite ever new threats from variants of the pandemic, we have learned to deal with them. Our industry is growing and we cannot complain.
We are better prepared for the challenges of climate protection, sustainable production methods and competition among building materials than we were a few years ago. We will get a lot of ideas this morning.
According to the views of the participants, the situation of our industry in Europe is quite positive. We follow the still good economic situation in the construction industry.“
In his “Report from Brussels“, Euroroc General Secretary Gerd Merke listed several initiatives on European level with relevance for the stone sector:
On June17, 2021, the NEPSI Council received the application of the European
Association EUROGYPSUM to become a signatory of the European Social Dialogue
“Agreement on Workers’ Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products Containing It”, signed in April 2006. As of 2019, the European Social Agreement is composed by 1 European trade federation, representing the employees and 18 European industry sector associations (3 being voluntary sectoral associations), representing the employers. Eurogypsum is the European federation of national associations of producers of gypsum products, including plaster, plasterboard and other gypsum-based products. The companies which mine gypsum also process it and manufacture the value-added products and systems used extensively in construction and other industries.
Through its past-affiliation to IMA-Europe, Eurogypsum reported on the application in the gypsum sector of the Agreement on Workers Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products containing it. Eurogypsum members also belong to group companies which are supportive contributors of the European Network for Silica (NEPSI) or are affiliated to national associations which actively contribute to the NEPSI reporting on voluntary basis. Having considered the application letter of Eurogypsum and its commitment to the role of NEPSI, and in conformity with Article 13 (1) of the Agreement which states that “This Agreement is open for signature by additional parties”, the NEPSI Council hereby unanimously approves EUROGYPSUM as new signatory with entry into effect as of 20 September 2021.“
19 industry associations signed NEPSI, among them Euroroc.
* Industrial Emission Directive (IED), letter by NEEP
* Digital and green transition
* Reports from the member countries
– United Kingdom: From the UK, the stone industry has received some government Covid support, but these loans need to be repaid. Brexit and Covid have created supply chain issues that are quite acute, many building materials are in short supply and if anyone fancies becoming a long-distance lorry driver, please come to the UK now…. The residential market is currently strong, but may subside as ‘lockdown’ work is completed. Commercial is still slow but progressing and we hope a return to offices will encourage new work. Environmental issues are being discussed, but currently not being considered as the final stone selection is being made, but we expect and hope that will change. Having EPD’s and Net Zero Carbon target dates may be important for the future and the stone industry has lots of advantages over other building products but we struggle to get that message out and heard.
– The Continent: It could be unanimously stated that the situation can be described as highly positive under the given circumstances. Countries like Norway and Finland are noticing the desire of many consumers to upgrade their homes, and natural stone is also benefiting from this. Exports within Europe and to the USA range from satisfactory to good. The granite industry in Spain and Portugal, for example, is experiencing a real upswing. The Asian market has turned out to be very difficult for some companies. Export markets in China have collapsed and, conversely, imports can no longer be planned due to the container crisis. Even though the overall impression remains positive, some export companies have been hit very hard. The advice here is also that it is better to stand on several feet. In the natural stone industry, too, one should serve very different areas even if not every business idea is successful at all times. The other view, the socalled core theory, is “only do what you know very well how to do”. Both views have their advantages and, in the end, nothing is as successful as success.
– EU-research project WinSTONE (Reiner Krug)
– Lizette Vosman: True Stone, Belgium
– EPD U.S: Jim Hieb and the National Stone Institute
– WONASA: New President, Mr. Paulo Giafrow: How do we reach the most
important consumers: architects and interior designers?
Impressive statement about marketing. Mr. Giafrow always collaborated in some way with the development of the natural stone sector, whether in Brazil or abroad. He understands that the stone sector will be strong only when companies get educated, prepared and trained to reach the most important consumers: architects and interior designers.
– Date of next meetings2022: Stone+tec fair Nuremberg and Marmomac Verona.
– Presentation of Henning/Thilo Könicke, AFAG Messen, the new organizer of the Stone+tec in Nuremberg. Meetings with Izmir fair and other Turkish export organizations.
Brazil: CENTROROCHAS is now the Brazilian Association in charge of the
promotion of the natural stones from Brazil. Mr. Tales Machado is the President and Mr. Fábio Cruz is the director of CENTROROCHAS. There is some room for mutual cooperation between Nuremberg Stone Fair and the CENTROROCHAS. On top of that as President of WONASA – World Natural Stone Association Mr. Giafrow would like to leave open the possibility of holding an event together during the next fair in Nuremberg. Wonasa can hold seminars and lectures for architects and interior designers on market trends, use of natural stone and stone textures and finishes for various purposes.
(12.01.2022, USA: 01.12.2022)