"International Year of Glass" Launches with Celebrations in Geneva
Glass has been a touchpoint of celebration, commerce, culture and science for over two thousand years – now, 2022 is being marked as the ‘International Year of Glass’, with hundreds of events taking place around the world to celebrate the unique characteristics of glass in all its forms. An ancient material with a rich cultural heritage, glass is more important to modern life than ever before: versatile and easily innovated, it is a potential enabler of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Celebrations for the International Year of Glass kick off today with a two-day Opening Ceremony to take place in Geneva at the UN Palace of Nations. Bringing together glass communities from across the world, the programme features 30 renowned speakers who will share the latest scientific and technical insights, and thoughts on how glass will be key to shaping the sustainable society of the future in line with the UN 2030 Agenda.
The ceremony in Geneva is the culmination of five years of effort by the International Year of Glass Council to acknowledge the mark glass has made – and continues to make – on civilisation. Glass has accompanied humankind for centuries, as one of the most important, versatile, and transformative materials in history. Used in everything from packaging food and drink in containers to vaccine distribution, glass is a leading example of sustainable packaging – and its footprint also extends to construction, medicine and dentistry, communication technology, and beyond.
As efforts to build a truly sustainable future accelerate, glass is an ideal packaging for adopting sustainable production and consumption patterns including reuse and recycling. Vitaliano Torno, President of the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) and O-I Glass’ President of Business Operations & O-I Europe, commented:
"We have a unique opportunity to celebrate glass. Glass is endlessly recyclable, guarantees quality and safety no matter how many times it’s recycled and it’s virtually inert. It’s the healthy choice, beautiful, it builds brands, and it is loved by people of all generations. That’s what makes it the perfect choice for brands, retailers and consumers alike."
To this end, a recent report on consumer trends published by FEVE researched over 150 expert reports to understand what drives consumer behaviour, and how brands and retailers can leverage these trends in the years to come. The results confirm that glass directly addresses consumers’ priorities: more than ever, people care about environmental sustainability and circularity, hand in hand with prioritising their own health and wellness. This extends to the products they purchase and the packaging those products come in. Fortunately, when it comes to packaging that delivers both on environmental credentials and helping brands tell their story authentically to today’s consumers, glass is at the front of the pack.
Representing the International Year of Glass Council, John Parker commented:
"Whether you’re a brand looking to make your product stand out or a consumer keen to celebrate an iconic material, 2022 is the year to recognise glass for its many proven credentials and build on a longstanding cultural heritage for example by advancing its contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Europe enjoys the world’s highest glass recycling rates, and significant progress has been made in glass manufacturing in recent years to increase sustainable production and consumption. There is further potential to progress towards a climate-neutral Circular Economy, by moving to renewable energies and advancing the sustainable use of natural resources. This all starts with encouraging more people to choose and recycle glass, to appreciate its recycling and reuse as an inherent part of our future consumption patterns, and to do it right, so that more glass ends back in new production loops."
In short, it's time to celebrate the past, present, and future of this iconic material, and reflect on how glass is driving progress towards UN Agenda 2030 goals. That’s why the container glass industry invites all brands, customers, and retailers to join in the celebrations, to promote, enjoy and recycle products in glass as the packaging of tomorrow, for the health of the public and the planet.
For more information on how you can participate in the International Year of Glass celebrations, please visit https://iyog2022.org.
About FEVE – The European Container Glass Federation
FEVE is the Federation of European manufacturers of glass containers. Its members produce over 20 million tonnes of glass per year. The association has some 60 corporate members belonging to approximately 20 independent groups. Manufacturing plants are located across 23 European States and include global blue chip and major companies working for the world’s biggest consumer brands. The Container Glass sector in Europe, makes a significant contribution to the EU Economy and supports essential sectors. More than 125,000 people work in the glass packaging value chain across Europe. It guarantees resilient local supply chains, with a proximity of service to its suppliers and clients. Every year €610 million is invested in upgrading plants for better energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions (a significant 10% of the operational and maintenance costs). The sector exports around €1.2 billion (empty bottles and jars) and if we take account of items almost always or often packed in glass, glass is an enabler of extra EU exports of around €250 billion (data 2019).