Sustainable Habitat Cluster received European recognition as a Cluster of Excellence ("Gold Label")
In March of 2015, the "Gold Label" of the European Cluster Excellence Initiative awarded the Sustainable Habitat Cluster the highest level of international recognition for the clusters of competitiveness. We are one of the first clusters in the field, that gathers the solutions for construction materials, construction and real estate, to receive such a distinction in Europe.
As part of the European Union's efforts to create more world-class clusters across Europe by enhancing cluster excellence, the European Commission launched in 2009, within the Innovation Program, the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) . At the same time, the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) was created to advise and analyze the Cluster management organizations. Today, ESCA is a network of cluster experts from 27 countries whose objectives are:
- To promote excellence in cluster management through benchmarking and quality labelling of clusters and cluster management entities, being responsible at the European level for the evaluation process.
- Support policy makers and program operators with advice on developing programs for the clusters.
ECEI, initiated by the Enterprise and Industry DG, developed methodologies and tools to support cluster organizations and improve their capabilities and skills in cluster management and network, by developing a set of quality indicators and a classification system for clusters, which translates to a label with 3 levels (Gold, Silver and Bronze Label). To qualify for this label, the management bodies of a cluster need to achieve "levels of excellence" with 31 indicators related to the cluster structure, its governance, financing, strategy, services and public recognition. The Gold label represents the highest and most demanding level of all.
The Sustainable Habitat Cluster was submitted to a thorough evaluation which culminated in the visit of 2 experts from ESCA's international expert bureau. This evaluation is carried out every two years and by 2013 the Cluster had already received the "Bronze Label" classification, thus rising in 2015 to a level of excellence (Gold Label), joining the remaining 51 "Gold Labels" from 10 other European countries.