In an exclusive interview, André Jasienski addresses issues such as the evolution of FEBELCEM, the Belgian cement industry’s main challenges in the upcoming years, as well as the steps it can take towards a more sustainable production approach.
This interview originally appeared in CemWeek 49. Click here or on the image to read the full interview
Despite being called FEBELCEM only since 1994, the Belgian cement professional organization was founded in 1949. How has the organization evolved since its inception to the current day?
The inception of FEBELCEM dates back to 1924. In that year, the Belgian cement producers, called in the French GPC, Groupement des Producteurs de Ciment (at that time, more than 30), and decided to create a non-profit association, as per the British and American examples.
After World War II, national legislation was enacted in order to stimulate industrial research. In 1949, the information center of the cement industry was created. By then, the Federation was renamed the Federation of the (Belgian) cement industry: FIC (Fédération de l’Industrie Cimentière), finally becoming FEBELCEM in 1994.
Ever since then, FEBELCEM’s main objectives have revolved around controlling cement quality, and extending and improving the use of concrete. The Federation achieves these goals by collaborating with the Université Libre de Bruxelles, through testing and certifying the quality of the ‘C’ and ‘CM’ labels. In parallel, we constantly produce and update documentation and in-house publications, from technical sheets, to annual reports, etc.
So far, how has FEBELCEM succeeded in stimulating and promoting the Belgian cement sector?
Despite considerable economic importance, the Belgian cement industry has long been unknown to the public. As such, our basic philosophy and guideline since the 1920s have focused on ensuring the quality of products and of execution. In parallel, the same goes for the quality of information we report to the media and the broader audience – which is always focused on technical promotion rather than on marketing.
Some of that technical promotion regarding Belgian cement and concrete entails to inform public administrations and providing them with technical assistance. We also maintain a network of contacts with architects, architects associations, schools of architecture, and more.
Since 2004, FEBELCEM has widened its efforts to include ‘B2C’ communication with future house builders and/or owners. Additional communication channels include our concrete platform (‘infobeton.be’), together with sister associations (ready-mix concrete, precast, and so on), partnerships with TV special-interest channels, and social media (...)
Read the full interview in CemWeek 49