Looking back at a successful 3rd European­ Mortar Summit

The European Mortar Summit is the biennial gathering of the manufacturers of mortars, plaster and renders, adhesives, screeds and ETICS to exchange views on topical subjects and future trends. It was initiated and is hosted by the European Mortar ­Industry Organisation (EMO). For the 3rd European Mortar Summit on 21.05.-22.05.2015 in Lisbon/Portugal, EMO responded to the feedback from previous events by adapting the concept and extending the event’s duration. For the first time the European Mortar Summit 2015 hosted both a technical and business conference, as well as a high level congress. The conference and the congress were held on two consecutive days.

Lisbon being his home town, it was a “special pleasure and honour” for Carlos Duarte, President of EMO and Secretary General of the Portuguese mortar and ETICS association APFAC, “to welcome such a great number of participants and partners to the 3rd European Mortar Summit”. With a view to the market he was pleased to inform that “after years of downturn in 2014 the Portuguese market has finally seen a slight rise!” In Portugal, where site mixed mortars continue to play a very important role, the higher quality and efficiency of factory made dry mortars continues to be an important sales argument. “APFAC fights to safeguard the high quality image of factory made mortars with information and qualification schemes to ensure the appropriate products are used in the right way!”

The need for adequate information and communication was also the recurrent theme in Hans-Joachim Riechers’ presentation. “To be right is not worth anything if the information does not address the basic and simple questions of the public!” With vivid examples he showed where and how communication went wrong in the past and how the German EMO member IWM is learning from these lessons. “The protection of the environment is a key issue in European politics and a particular concern for the public. Since both politics and the public make the industry responsible for ensuring a clean and healthy environment, let us take the lead before others take it for us!”

The conference following the opening speeches gave technical and business experts a platform to present recent technological and product developments as well as market trends and challenges. The variety of topics addressed by 30 papers was very extensive and the parallel sessions well attended. Despite the tight schedule of presentations, speakers and participants took the opportunity to exchange and network – last but not least at the gala dinner at the historic and impressive venue Casa do Alentejo.

The congress on Friday, 22.05.2015, with selected speakers returned to the environmental challenges and was dedicated to the main theme “Moving Towards a Circular Economy”. José Inácio Faria, Portuguese Member of the European Parliament, presented his views on the circular economy underlining the challenges related to resource design and efficiency policies for countries and industries which still need to embrace a stronger model of circular economy. Following the presentation by Beatriz Marques about a project called “Shared Waste Solution” which tries to bring together producers of potential waste and users who may be able to utilize it as secondary material, MEP Faria was “thrilled to see how countries like ­Portugal embrace Circular Economy policies as an opportunity for new business and jobs.”

Jose Blanco from the European Demolition ­Association (EDA) highlighted some of the issues of this industry, underlining that end-of-life considerations need to become an integral part of design and installation of construction products. Luis Silva, Chairman of the EMO Technical Committee, concluded the congress with a presentation showing today’s contribution of the mortar industry to resource efficiency and the circular economy leaving no doubt that despite the challenges that lie ahead, the industry has long been part of the solution.

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