Silke Schlinnertz, Head of Operations & Events - introducing her association
1. When was your association founded?
2. Where is your association based, how many members do you have & in how many countries?
- Based in Brussels, Belgium
- 128 members from 31 countries
3. Who are your members?
Organisations such as companies (utilities/operators, manufacturers/equipment suppliers…), associations, federations, universities, research centres/institutes, consultancies…
4. What is your mission & aim of the association?
Euroheat & Power is a unique network of district energy organisations and professionals, connecting industry players, decision-makers and academia in a joint effort to drive forward sustainable heating and cooling.
The organisation’s members come from over thirty countries and include national district heating and cooling associations, utilities operating district energy systems, industrial associations and companies, manufacturers, universities, research institutes and consultancies active in the sector. With a relentless focus on service, Euroheat & Power’s team aims to provide their members regular, relevant and up-to-date information and political intelligence, and advocates key issues meant to accelerate the development of district energy.
The organisation’s vision and mission are clear: our future depends on the choices we make today. Choosing district energy means saying no to spending on imported fossil fuels, and yes to investing in renewable energy and efficiency infrastructure at the heart of our communities. For all its technical complexity, at its core, district energy is based on a vision of elegant simplicity; the connection between local resources and local needs. District energy means connecting people, connecting communities, connecting buildings, connecting technologies.
5. What are the major challenges facing your association?
- Policy - Decarbonising the energy sector
- Operational – guarantee best suited communication with members and partners in this digital mass information area.
- Event – keep creating relevant, delegate centric and unique event experiences.
6. What kind of events are organised by your association?
Conferences, congresses, workshops and seminars, webinars
7. What is the decision process behind the selection of a destination/venue?
Detailed process available on ICCA’s database.
EHP congress has an official bidding & selection process:
- After 1st submittal a maximum of 5 shortlisted destinations are presented to the Board.
- Maximum 3 cities are put forward for detailed analysis by the board members.
- EHP’s events team performs site inspections and feasibility studies.
- The cities have the opportunity to fine-tune their bids till end of September.
- This review, comparative files and analysis is the outcome of the final bid documents received and the different site inspections.
- Board to take final decision, through anonymous voting before the last board meeting of the year.
8. Can you share your insights about the latest trends within the association community?
Every industry and every association will face disruption at some point in their lives one way or another. You may ask why? Currently, our society and we as individuals are transforming constantly and faster than ever before. This is due (but not only) to technological shifts, digitisation of almost everything, combined with cultural, economic, political and social differences that makes our lives so interesting.
The challenge for associations is to understand these new drivers and their impact. This requires a balancing act between fresh forward thinking on how to successfully attract and hopefully retain the members of the future on one side. On the other, non-profit organisations, professional societies and the likes have to be careful not to upset the long-established relations with their current members and partners.
The new generation of members and the wider community have, most likely, different – or at least additional – expectations from an association than the long-term members. This new society expects transparency, real-time interaction, instant feedback combined with personal and professional collaboration, that might be challenging the traditional categories of members and partners, and their accustomed way of exchanging, collaborating and learning.
In order for associations to remain relevant and thrive over the next decade and not vanish as the dinosaurs did, each one must understand and respect a fundamental principle: the deepest untapped value for engagement.
Put simply, business lies within your network, your relationships with your current members and the broader community – definitively not by doing more of the same kinds of standard services, products or other conventional forms of value you have always produced.
This will require associations to bring everyone on board by continuously evolving and by imagining novel experimentation-driven business models that impact and connect a broader range of members and contributors in the most meaningful, co-creative and collaborative way.
Read more about Silke’s views here.
9. What does your association do in terms of legacy, do your meetings have a societal impact on the destination?
Euroheat & Power takes responsibility for any impact that our activities may have on the environment, society, members and individuals attending events. We aim to hold sustainable and healthy events while ensuring minimal environmental impact and minimal impact on an individual’s personal health. We approach these issues ethically and transparently. Therefore, our association supports/requests from the venue or supplier selected to ideally be accredited for one of the schemes listed: Healthy Venue (World Obesity Federation), Sustainable Event Alliance, Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS), Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). Or other initiative in this case the venue/supplier must indicate which sustainable, environmental or health measures have been taken in the past or to come.
Through those initiatives, Euroheat & Power aims to increase its ‘environmental print’ and ‘health print’ by delivering healthy and more sustainable meetings.
- Venue: we look into the chosen energy carrier (DHC, renewable share etc.)
- Catering: Local (organic preferred) and healthy/energising products and of course crockery for all items served. We try to avoid food waste to a maximum for non-used we use redistribution of surplus food initiatives. For the remainder which cannot be redistributed, we try to find local initiatives which collected biodegradable waste for composting in urban or semi-urban areas.
10. Are you looking to forge collaborations with other associations? If so in what areas of expertise?
Energy, renewable/sustainable district heating and cooling and kindred technologies
For more information on AISBL please check their website: www.euroheat.org