The development of the society

Contrasting the field of technology, which is an acknowledged, well known science, commodity knowledge as a field of science is not so popular among academic disciplines. This is amazing as dealing with commodities has much importance for man since his early history, especially relating to commerce. 

In the 18th century scholars began to study commodities on a scientific basis. Deriving from natural science commodity science has soon developed into a discipline of economics. After the Second World War -especially in some west European countries (Germany, Austria, Netherlands) - it had to face competition with newly derived micro-economic sub-disciplines like marketing, whereas in eastern Europe it kept an important role in economics in the field of quality testing. Despite this different development there was a movement in the 1970ies in many, not only European, but also in Asian countries, bundling commodity research and teaching by the foundation of national associations. In the following years the initiative to organize these activities on an international level mainly came from German and Austrian scientists, who wanted to improve international contact among scientists. The aim was to integrate institutions, associations, societies or individual persons, interested or engaged in the field of Commodity Science and Technology.

It was on the 6th of August 1976 in Salzburg, Austria, that the International Association for Commodity Science and Technology was founded by

  • Prof. Paul Fink, ETH St. Gallen, Switzerland
  • Prof. Josef Hölzl, University of Economics and business Administration. Vienna, Austria, (President of the Austrian Society of Commodity Science and Technology)
  • Dipl. Kfm. Dr. Helge Gasthuber, University of Economics and business Administration. Vienna, Austria
  • Dr. Frans Lox, Gent, Belgium
  • DDr. Heinrich Schlick, Mannheim, Germany (President of the German Society of Commodity Science and Technology)
  • Dipl.Volkswirt Otto Gekeler, Ulm Germany (Editor of the Journal Forum Ware since 1976)
  • Also Prof. Dr. Otto Aalhaus from the University in Heidelberg and Prof. Dr. Traebert, Dermagen, Netherlands were among the proponents.

The charter of the association had been elaborated by Prof. Schlick, Prof. Hölzl and Otto Gekeler and the organisation of the association was conforming to Austrian low. In October 1978 the society was officially registered, the office was at the Department of Technology and Commodity Science, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. It was decided that the IGWT should be co-editor of the Journal Forum Ware, which had first been published in 1976 by the German and Austrian societies.

Soon further national associations and individual members joined the society. This process was especially encouraged by the travels and individual contacts of Prof. Josef Hölzl and his assistants, for example Prof. Gerhard Vogel, who undertook to travel to Japan to prepare cooperation. In 1978 the following countries were active in the IGWT: Belgium, Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, and Switzerland. In 1979 the Polish society joined. At present national organizations and members of the IGWT come from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Belarus, China, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

The first President of the society was DDr. Schlick, followed by Professor Hölzl, who held the presidency until the middle of the 80ies, when it was decided to shift presidency every two years to the country organizing the biennial international meeting.

Author: Dr. Eva Waginger, Department of Technology and Sustainable Productmanagment, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria


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