Daniel Wood, 2017 President of the Natural Stone Institute:
“It is one of the most important elements that we connect with nature. It is an organic product with its own energy. When you look at the construction sector in the future, 70 percent of it will need to be renewed because most of it is made of non-durable materials. Look at Ephesus, an ancient city of 8 thousand years. I touched a 2,000-year-old stone in Jerusalem. Even if it is broken into pieces, its value does not expire. It mixes with the soil and comes to life again. Each of us is a part of nature and we are alone in the world. We have only one fingerprint on earth. The same goes for natural stone. It is a living being. That is why our industry is just as valuable. We must defend it, fight for it and spread it more.”
James A. Hieb, CEO of the Natural Stone Institute (NSI):
“Federations, fair companies, unions and states are doing good work. However, while doing this, the segment that is actually involved in this business can be overlooked. Natural stone has an incredible story worth telling. In order to reveal and explain these facts more, we need to reach people who come into direct contact with the stone in every process of production. We need to spread information, stories and messages about the stone. Touching people's hearts is critical here because stone owners value it so much. For this reason, we need to embrace the process together. We must reach stone producers and provide them with the right resources to improve quality. They should tell us the story of the stone more, record it and share it on social platforms. We should direct them to marketing activities. There are many important studies done in the world. These need to be included. This sector is the sector of all of us and it is a sector that has existed for centuries. We need to protect and preserve it for the next generation. Turkey is one of the most important players in the world. Almost 60 percent of the world's marble industry is met by Turkey. We cannot achieve this without Turkey's support. We need to be motivated to spread this around the world. Our industry will win this fight as long as we spread the uniqueness of natural stone together.”
Herwig Callewier, Chairman of the Board of the Belgian Natural Stone Federation (FEBENAT) and European Representative of the Natural Stone Institute:
“The porcelain and ceramic industry is doing well. The design world is confused. At this point, all components in our industry need to do much better work. It is our responsibility to explain the value and differences of natural stone to designers. Until now, we have always remained in our own small institutions. Now we must think globally. It is true that the world is now turning to mass production, but the reason why people turn to materials that are shown as 'natural' comes from the appreciation for natural stone. Because we are subconsciously connected to nature. Natural stone is a design wonder that makes people happy and need to touch it. There is no such feeling in artificial stones. This is due to the biological properties of the stone. That's why we should bring up the connection with nature so that we can attract everyone's attention."
Prof. Dr. Gerd Center from the German Representation of the European Federation of Natural Stone Industries (EUROROC)
“It is very valuable that we unite within the framework of the global problems of the sector. It is important that we work together. We hope that we will get closer with the Turkish federations, because we can clearly see that we are all in the same boat. We do state-wide business. We discuss how we make the stone sustainable, what our problems are, how we promote it. Turkey is a multicultural country with strong exports. It evaluates the different demands of other countries. We must come up with smart solutions. We should read people's thoughts and act accordingly. Natural stone is part of the earth, and we must use our minds to spread this message to the whole world. We must spend millions of dollars on scientific research and share the results free of charge with all manufacturers. I am hopeful for our industry. Of course, we have our problems, but I think we are on the right track and this forum has been a very good step”
Girish Gupta, Executive Vice President of the Federation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI):
“Your use of natural stone is decreasing. This may be due to inadequate marketing efforts. Maybe we do not work as well as those who market artificial stones. We need to invest more in marketing. We need to raise people's awareness of quality and scientific features. If they know these, they will not prefer artificial stones in the long run.
Anıl Taneja, Director of Litos Magazine and former President of the World Natural Stone Organization:
“If there is anything more valuable for a country than natural stone resources, it is the fact that natural stone is a cultural heritage. If that country adopts this perception, it will use all the means at its disposal to evaluate its potential. In order for it to develop, it must first protect its heritage and pass it on to the next generation with new applications. Even when global and local economies collapse, natural stone remains the same in our industry. Stone is a natural formation. It is possible to design natural stone for any object you can think of, from the inside of your house to the street you walk on to the place you work. We just need to develop the right technology, then put it through the right processes and market it very well. This way we can increase the value of our heritage.”
Ali Şayakçı President of World Natural Stone Association (WONASA):
“The biggest problem of the natural stone industry in the world is artificial products. With the digital printing in recent years, ceramic tiles in small sizes started to be made first. The most logical move that the natural stone industry will make is to spend more energy on marketing and promotion. Since our industry is so fragmented, joint action is much more difficult. We must find a way to reach the end of the consumption chain with a common language. We must act together. We should talk about the beauties and advantages of natural stone. Otherwise, we will have big problems in a short time.”