Office priorities

01/05/2012 | With the Jubilee weekend now beginning to fade into memory and with summer in full swing, wet or dry, thoughts in the BMA’s Keele Innovation Office are now concentrating on two major topics. First, the award–winning Water Label and its successful adoption in Europe. Both BMA members and staff are highly delighted that the scheme, the very visible evidence of a water efficient bathroom or kitchen product, has been embraced by CEIR (The European Committee for the Valve Industry) who launched the Water Label at last month’s Green Week in Brussels. Green Week is an annual event and it probably goes largely un-noticed here in the UK, so I thought it was worth mentioning a little more of what it is all about. Green Week is the biggest annual conference on European environment policy. The conference saw around 3000 delegates gather for three days to discuss water-related issues under the banner ‘The Water Challenge – Every Drop Counts’. Stakeholders, NGOs, Government representatives and EU officials discussed and debated possible solutions to key water problems, such as how to safeguard the availability of good quality water against the backdrop of rapid population growth and climate change. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment who deals with things like air and water quality, as well as really complex issues such as biodiversity, wrapped up the huge event which covered some forty sessions. He spoke about our most valuable of resources which needs to be used properly and sparingly. He talked about making sure that we have enough for us all since it is vital for our continued existence on this planet. He spoke about the numerous studies and assessments conducted by the Commission, the European Environment Agency, Member States, national agencies and various stakeholders which have boosted our knowledge and understanding of the current trends, problems and gaps in our water policy. He noted the sheer size of the challenge ahead and reminded us that 2015 is the deadline set by the Water Framework Directive to achieve good water status in the EU. Potočnik said ‘rising water demand and the impacts of climate change are expected to increase the pressure on Europe’s water resources, underlining the importance of increased efficiency and savings in water use. This is why we have to improve our water efficiency.’ The launch of The Water Label in Europe is a feather in the cap of the BMA membership. Members created and devised the voluntary label some 5 years ago without Government pressure or interference. To be honest it has taken a lot sweat, tears and much resource to get it to today’s sophisticated state. We now have almost 2000 water and energy saving products listed on the online database and it is proving to be a catalyst for innovation as manufacturers compete to bring the best products to market. The new European link will see it grow quicker and bigger as a force for good. www.water-label.eu/ The second topic at the forefront of our minds is the Annual Bathroom Conference, Exhibition, Gala Dinner and Media Awards taking place on 09 October 2012. We have chosen the same venue as last year, which proved to be a hit with the 220+delegates who attended, Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire. Over the past decade, the conference has established itself as an unmissable event for anyone involved with the kbb industry. The 2011 conference attracted some 220+ participants from Government, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and the media. The theme this year is ‘The Retail Revolution’ and we will be discussing how all in the kbb industry have to embrace the changing face of retailing. New technologies, the internet, the rapid growth of ‘click and collect’, new payment systems, and branding issues are all on the table for debate. This year we have been extremely fortunate to engage the services of James Max as our host and facilitator. James will be easily recognised as one of participants in the BBC’s The Apprentice – he reached the semi-finals of Lord Sugar’s first series. James is an accomplished writer and TV and Radio presenter. He’s a consummate, engaging and affable talk show host with a successful background in business, property and finance. He is set to keep the conference bubbling.

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