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Association Spotlight – World Energy Council (WEC)

WEC Logo: WEC is an organisation focused on helping countries, companies, and citizens achieve a successful energy transition.
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Tania Baumann, Chief Operating Officer - 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?
International organisation federated with member committees on national basis in 90+ countries worldwide. HQ Secretariat is based in London. Worldwide, 3,000+ member organisations and companies. 
3. Who are your members?
Energy companies (power, utilities, oil, gas, technology, equipment, resources), governments, institutions, development organisations, financial services, entrepreneurs, consultancies, academia.
4. What is your mission & aim of the association?
Our mission is the sustainable supply and use of energy for the benefit of all people. In particular we are an organisation focused on helping countries, companies, and citizens achieve a successful energy transition.
5. What are the major challenges facing your association?
The energy world is becoming broader and broader. No longer simply large companies, many new players and sectors are becoming closely involved and interested in energy – e.g. transport, cities, technology. This is a challenge and an opportunity for us. Our events need to convene even broader audiences and stakeholders, and many of our country members continue to face challenges of access to energy. We need to be able to connect with all our members in a complex and sometimes competitive environment for messaging.
Like many organisations that have members who contribute to our work, it is also a challenge to encourage contributions and expertise, so our focus is on ensuring how we bring value through our insights and convening.
6. What kind of events are organised by your association?
Small (less than a day): 
  • Workshops to test or develop concepts and ideas for further exploration, or of members and invited guests to communicate Council concepts. 
  • Webinars to communicate topics and ideas.  Anywhere from 40 pax to 100 pax, usually hosted with a partner.
Medium (up to four days): 
  • Four-day community events comprising of internal governance gatherings and dual track content streams (World Energy Week). Mainly for members but also open to guests. Hosted by the winning bid of a Member Committee. Between 300-600 pax.
  • Annual two-day community events comprising internal governance meetings and content workshop hosted in London. 
High level (1.5 days): 
By invitation only World Energy Leaders’ Summit curated event bringing CEOs and Ministers to two destinations annually, hosted by the Minister (or even Head of State) of the country. Limited to 100 pax. Held concurrently with World Energy Week, and one other location during the year – occasionally alongside major international meetings (e.g. G20).
Huge (4 days): 
World Energy Congress – triennial congress hosted by winning bid country. Bids received five years prior to the year in which the Congress is held. Multitrack (70+ sessions) 300+ speakers consisting of CEOs and Ministers, and other C level leaders. 4000+ delegates, 7000+ visitors. Preceded by internal governance gatherings over two days (200+ pax).
7. What is the decision process behind the selection of a destination/venue?
RFP released to all member committees c.6 months prior to due date. Bids may only be received from a member committee. There is no rotation, so bids are welcome from all members, however they must be able to meet the essential requirements set out in the RFP.
The Secretariat reviews the bids and if they meet the essential requirements, they are released to members for review. 
Members vote on their choice of destination and are able to view the bid books and any information submitted from the bidders after the bidding has closed.
Members make their decision based on different reasons – strategic, political, location, relationship, proximity.
8. Can you share your insights about the latest trends within the association community?
To a degree. We are not a classic association as we are federated and an international organisation, but I think some of the challenges of working in an association are the same everywhere: 
  • We have to bring real value and impact to our members 
  • The sweat equity model is frequently under pressure and as resources are constrained understanding how to keep up to speed with changes in technology to deliver great value is very important
  • A federated structure brings strength but challenges in bringing all your members with you
Disruptors and entrepreneurs are not big “joiners” – but our incumbent players want to connect with them – so finding value models that work is essential
9. What does your association do in terms of legacy, do your meetings have a societal impact on the destination?
I hope so. Our mission is very legacy focused, and the issues we discuss (on energy, climate, innovation) have a big impact on local industries and governments – who are very present at our events, bringing home what they themselves might be able to action at the policy, city, or company level. 
We do specifically also ask bidders for our large events to indicate what social impact they expect the event to have.
10. Are you looking to forge collaborations with other associations? If so in what areas of expertise?
We have positive relationships with a number of associations that operate in the same sphere. Of course, interested to learn more about how other organisations bring value, convene and share insights.
For more information on WEC please check their website:
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