GGF panel discuss the drive to decarbonise

What steps can our industry take to decarbonise and drive sustainable solutions? Here are the views of three experts who debated this issue at the Glass and Glazing Federation’s members day in September. This is a shortened version of an article published in Glass and Glazing Products (GGP) Magazine.

The industry has long known that it needs to decarbonise its energy-intensive processes and supply chains. But how can environmental goals be met in alignment with commercial and customer demands? Are the two interests compatible?

Yes they are, argued Mike Butterick, marketing director for Saint-Gobain, and the two are necessary for the industry to thrive.

“I believe the climate science,” he said. “It’s ethical for us to try and mitigate our impact on the climate without completely derailing our economic activity. I don’t know of any other major glass manufacturer that would contradict that view. But there’s also a commercial angle to this: clients are asking us to be more and more sustainable.”

Growing awareness of climate issues among customers and future employees cannot be ignored by the glass and glazing industry, according to Richard Hilson, an ESG and sustainability consultant for Gemserv. “In terms of the future staff that your industry needs to employ, and your future customers, the demographic aged between 25 and 34 is extremely important.

“A recent study shows that over 50% of those will reject a job in an industry or company if the ESG credentials aren’t good enough, so decarbonisation is key,” he added. “As a UK industry, we are all being encouraged to achieve net zero by 2050.”

While the UK government’s net zero targets have been the subject of much controversy in the media this year, industry leaders agree that it is important to work with the government to develop new regulations and standards.

“It’s important that we, as an industry, push energy-efficient products, which obviously reduce carbon emissions,” said Dave Borland, head of technical for the Glass and Glazing Federation. “If we don’t work alongside government and existing carbon emission targets, it’s a bit hypocritical.”

This is a shortened version of an article from Glass and Glazing Products (GGP) Magazine. To read the full version, in the November 2023 edition of GGP, click here.

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