06/18/2014

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Europur & Euro-Moulders General Assembly - New faces, new format, new future

The event celebrated several firsts: the first time that a consortium of three German machinery manufacturers, Albrecht Bäumer, Fecken-Kirfel, and Hennecke sponsored the gala dinner; the first time that the general assembly and technical conference have been combined into a single event; and the first event organised by the new team of Michel Baumgartner (General Secretary) and Technical Chairman Wolfram Frank.[image_0] The theme of the two-day conference was sustainability, which also encompassed thoughts on the sustainability of Europur as an association. "The future of Europur has had a Shakespearean theme during the past two years, 'to be or not to be'," explained Ward Dupont. "It is hoped that with the conclusion of an EU investigation into price fixing, the industry can start to move forward together on the many challenges it faces.” To address these current and future challenges Europur has regrouped into three working groups: Product Stewardship and Impurities, Worker and Plant Issues, and Communication. "This new format is better structured to suit our needs and has attracted new participants from members who have previously not participated at this level. So we have many reasons to be optimistic,” he concluded. The new structure will help the flexible foam industry to respond to concerns such as indoor air quality, workplace asthma and to offer better crisis communication and become more effective at lobbying EU members, national MPs and regional government about the economic benefits of the industry. The communications committee has already started work on a new website, a new format for a newsletter and the creation of a vision statement for the association, while the product stewardship and impurities committee is working on monitoring, updating standards for CertiPUR, monitoring and evaluating end of life analysis for foams as well as updating the Ecoprofiles for various PU foams. Issues being worked on by the plant and worker safety committee continue to promote "best practices”, monitor the occurrence of workplace asthma and work with foamers for the protection of the environment and worker. Euro-Moulders will continue to work on the publication of a "seating bible”, study VDA 278 and VOC emissions from seating foams as well as continue to engage the automotive OEMS at technical level on projects including a standard test such as humid ageing. Michel Baumgartner and Wolfram Frank were appointed in November 2013 and have worked hard to implement the findings of an internal Praesidium to drive the associations forward and offer a greater value proposition to its members and the wider European flexible foam community. Baumgartner, a graduate in EU law and international relations, was appointed as General Secretary to both Europur and Euro-Moulders in November 2013. Multilingual, he is well versed in PR and communication strategy having previously worked as a lobbyist in Brussels for 15 years on behalf of other associations with Kellen Europe and Eurobat, an association for the battery industry. He is assisted by Wolfram Frank, former secretary general of Isopa, who can provide a fountain of industry knowledge.

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