In an exclusive interview to CemWeek Magazine, Koen Coppenholle, Chief Executive of CEMBUREAU, shares his insights on issues such as the role of CEMBUREAU, Europe’s economic challenges, and, in particular, the European cement industry’s worldwide leading position regarding alternative fuel usage.

 “A passion for European law and international politics has driven my career, starting with a strong focus on EU institutional law as a research and teaching assistant at the ‘Katholieke Universiteit Leuven’.”

That’s how Koen Coppenholle starts to describe the journey that would take him to CEMBUREAU, where he currently serves as Chief Executive.

“My year abroad for a Master of Laws at Harvard Law School allowed me to study US federalism as a possible blueprint for the further development of the European Union. The three year stint at the European Court of Justice in the cabinet of Judge P.J.G. Kapteyn allowed me to deal with a wide array of cases in all areas of EU law, a perfect preparation for my career as an attorney with Linklaters De Bandt where the focus was also on EU competition law and state aid. As from 2000, I entered the area of government relations where I gained experience on ‘EU law in the making’, first with General Electric and then for ArcelorMittal. As an energy-intensive industry, the steel industry’s challenges and opportunities are similar to those of the cement industry. So, CEMBUREAU was an obvious next step, which allowed me to add management skills to my legal and policy expertise.”

CemWeek had the pleasure to interview Koen Coppenholle, and now shares his insights on a wide range of pressing topics, from the role of CEMBUREAU to Europe’s economic challenges, and, in particular, the European cement industry’s worldwide leading position when it comes to alternative fuel usage.


The European Cement Association plays a significant role in the industry. How do you characterize the evolution of CEMBUREAU to date?

The role of CEMBUREAU is to link EU policy initiatives to the bottom-line relevance of cement companies. This involves three major areas of activity and CEMBUREAU has made significant strides to improve its performance in each of these over the years:

  • Early warning role: CEMBUREAU has built an unparalleled early warning system whereby our Members are not only alerted about the most recent policy initiatives but can also get information on the status of legislative files, next steps in the procedure and the workings of the institutions in general. This function allows our Members to always be on top of any developments and provide timely input.
  • Analysis of the impact of policy on the cement sector: CEMBUREAU is continuously working on its position as a trusted partner in its relationships with policymakers and for that it mobilizes the cement sector to provide input, data and facts that are then translated into sector positions on specific policy initiatives. CEMBUREAU has, over the past years, invested considerably in external studies that underpin the arguments we make vis-à-vis policymakers or reinforce the strengths we set out for cement and concrete.
  • Communication: the voice of the cement sector needs to be heard and that is where our communication comes in. Here as well, CEMBUREAU has made considerable efforts over the past years to not only tell the stories of our industry and workers, but also to position cement as a product championed by policymakers. CEMBUREAU has also engaged in a longer-term communications and public affairs campaign to align our messages with those on the EU agenda and reach out to EU institutions and citizens at large and share the solutions that the industry can offer in a modern society. This effort is coupled with our other initiatives, for instance, The Concrete Initiative, which aims to promote the unique contribution of concrete to a more sustainable built environment.


Read the full interview in CemWeek Magazine 44

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