Written by: Nica Lourens

2024 Copperleaf Summit in Brussels: A Hub of Innovation and Collaboration

Following the success of our Whistler Summit, we were thrilled to bring the Global Copperleaf Summit to the vibrant city of Brussels. Known as the de facto capital of Europe, Brussels offers a unique blend of historic charm and impressive infrastructure, making it the perfect setting for our event.

The Copperleaf summit is a platform for global perspectives, with speakers from many regions sharing unique challenges, solutions, and experiences on effective Asset Investment Planning (AIP) strategies. Interactive sessions, workshops, and panel discussions facilitated lively exchanges.

Here are some highlights this year:

Summit Kick-Off and Keynote

Stefan Sadnicki, Managing Director for EMEA at Copperleaf, welcomed the community with highlights from the past decade’s remarkable growth and the shared responsibility of managing trillions of dollars’ worth of assets around the world. He outlined Copperleaf’s vision for the future of asset management, emphasising strategic priorities such as technological innovation, sustainability, and expanding market opportunities.

Stefan emphasised the summit’s role as a nexus for networking, knowledge exchange, and continuous improvement in AIP practices. His opening remarks set a celebratory tone, recognising the power of cross-sector collaboration in shaping the future of AIP, and how this diversification creates new opportunities for every industry to expand knowledge and expertise.

Keynote speaker David Zenner, Chief Assets Officer at Elia Group, the Belgian transmission system operator, shared critical insights on the shift transmission system operators must make—from reactive to collaborative, value-based decision making. He underscored the importance of breaking down barriers to achieve integrated and effective AIP strategies.

Product Roadmap and New Technology

Many sessions showcased new technology that will help address challenges and improve AIP strategies. A detailed product roadmap session laid out our path forward, and interactive “Ask the Expert” sessions provided an opportunity for participants to engage directly with Copperleaf experts to shape future solutions.

Laurianne Peeters, Portfolio Analyst from Elia, explained how Risk Manager helps consistently identify and manage risks, establish clear visibility throughout the risk lifecycle, and optimise risk exposure. Another Portfolio Analyst, Jesper Poulsen from Cerius-Radius, shared insights on how Self-Serve Analysis empowers teams to use existing and operational data to generate insights, deliver on-demand information, optimise planning, and make better investment decisions.

Our Managing Consultant Cigolène Nguyen presented visual snapshots of how our interactive GIS experience offers a geospatial view of an entire asset base. This combination of GIS and asset data helps companies better visualise, understand, and communicate the impact of different portfolios and scenarios to increase trust with regulators and stakeholders.

Topical Breakouts and Workshops

John Green, Strategic Value Manager from Anglian Water, hosted an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Value Framework workshop with Copperleaf’s ESG Practice Lead John Harvey. They shared how organisations can get started with value-based decision-making on a common economic scale, and expand this framework to include ESG metrics aligned to organisational goals. The capability to compare benefits and disbenefits helps organisations uncover the best value, not just the least cost.

David Gatward, Chief Engineering and Technical Services Officer from AD Ports Group, led a breakout session on capital allocation with Stefan Sadnicki and Ibon Escribano, Technical Sales Team Lead. They showed how companies experiencing rapid growth can maximise the value of their investments and drive profitable business transformation through effective and strategic capital allocation.

Fabien Fortoul, Asset Strategy Lead from Teréga, and Zena Tulemat, Managing Consultant from Copperleaf, demonstrated how using FMECA-based modelling within an AIP solution enables organisations to create optimal investment strategies, with the highest value and risk mitigation, aligned to performance indicators. Because this methodology is versatile, it can be used across different industries, and can be adapted to different levels of data availability and decision-making maturity.

Another standout session was on Copperleaf Accelerate, featuring compelling presentations from Danielle Ruddick, IS Governance, Risk and Compliance Product Manager from Northumbrian Water, and Fjalarr Páll Mánason, Specialist from Landsvirkjun. Both speakers compared their organisations at different stages of the AIP journey, illustrating the power and benefits of using an AIP solution in the short and long term. This session provided an opportunity to discuss the acceleration and adoption of Copperleaf through dedicated services—emphasising the need for proactive planning, best practice implementation, and the ability to adapt to organisational changes and evolving industry standards to optimise AIP and performance.

Case Study Spotlight: Powerco’s AIP Journey

Richard Lance, Power Assets Fleet Manager, and Anthony Conning, Investment Optimisation Manager from Powerco, New Zealand’s second-largest electricity and gas distribution utility, shared how value-based decision making helps optimise network investment plans. This approach ensures the lowest risk and highest value within resource constraints. A transparent and consistent approach to AIP supports alignment with strategic goals and builds confidence among stakeholders and regulators.

Social Time and Sightseeing

At the close of the first day, participants were invited to make their way to the beautiful Parc de Bruxelles, where they boarded people-powered beer bikes to take in the sights while enjoying a mobile social hour. On the morning of day two, Cristiano Martincigh, Copperleaf’s Regional Director for EMEA, hosted a 5km comic strip run exploring the magnificent comic murals around the city centre. This activity not only provided a fun way to see Brussels but also highlighted the city’s rich comic strip heritage.

Looking Ahead

The 2024 Copperleaf Summit in Brussels went beyond just presentations and discussions. It was an opportunity to cultivate a community of professionals passionate about advancing AIP. The valuable insights and strong connections formed at the summit are set to drive future projects and innovations.

We sincerely thank everyone who participated and contributed to the success of the 2024 Copperleaf Summit in Brussels. We look forward to seeing you at our next event!