Promoting the strategic role of glass

At the opening ceremony for the International Year of Glass 2022 held in Geneva, Şişecam’s Chairman Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kırman emphasised the strategic role of glass for a sustainable future.

Promoting the strategic role of glass

In a world where the importance of sustainability is increasingly recognised and embraced, the strategic role of glass for a healthy future becomes ever more prominent. This remarkable material has been – and continues to be – one of humanity’s greatest solution partners. The year 2022 was declared the ‘International Year of Glass’ by the United Nations (UN) and a wide range of awareness-raising activities are taking place around the world. The opening ceremony for the International Year of Glass was held at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, from 9–11 February (see previous issue, page 18).

Glass manufacturer Şişecam was one of the main sponsors of the event held by the International Glass Commission (ICG) and attended by leading representatives from the global glass industry. The opening ceremony featured a closing speech by Şişecam Chairman Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kırman. In addition, Şişecam Glass Technologies Director Ilkay Sökmen delivered a presentation on innovative products developed by the company’s scientists, explaining how these have added value to many industries, from health care to agriculture.

Supporting modern human history

In his speech Prof. Dr. Kırman pointed out that glass has added value to the development of civilisations and human life from past to present. Glass also promises to be one of the most strategic materials of the future with its sustainability-oriented features. He elaborated: “… Şişecam was founded 86 years ago, in 1935, with the vision and directive of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the founder of the Turkish Republic. As one of the most specific initiatives of a young republic’s industrial-based development drive, Şişecam has sustained its value-creating growth over many years. It has transformed into a strong corporate enterprise with a global reach. Today, our operations have expanded to 14 countries. On one hand, we take great pride in the values we create and embody. On the other, we also feel the weight of our evolving and deepening responsibilities for future generations.”

The history of glass dates back 5,000 years, observed Prof. Dr. Kırman. Glass production is considered one of the most important developments and main supporters of modern human history, he continued: “The perception of glass has evolved immensely over the last two centuries with groundbreaking innovations. Progress in glass technology has helped meet the basic needs of modern society in critical areas – including architecture, transportation, medicine, energy, communication, agriculture, and imaging technologies. There is no doubt that glass, which is already indispensable in its traditional use, will be the main component of many different and new applications in the future thanks to its unique transparency, formability, hardness, low cost, widespread availability and sustainability features.”

Unlimited development

Prof. Dr. Kırman indicated that the world has entered a new era with the Covid-19 pandemic that started in late 2019, noting that: “A material like glass that is 100% and infinitely recyclable is one of humanity’s greatest assets. On this occasion, we should remember that glass has helped humanity face challenges in every arena with innovative products and technologies. A recent example is the V-Block antimicrobial coating technology developed by Şişecam during the pandemic period. The endless potential of glass for development attests to the important position it will surely occupy in the future. As key stakeholders of the glass industry, we are responsible for extending the incomparable contributions of glass to every field it can enter and expanding its area of benefit.

Fighting climate change

Prof. Dr. Kırman emphasised that Şişecam is aware of its responsibilities as the only global company operating in all core areas of glass manufacturing in the world. “One cannot ignore the alarms sounding from nature in many different parts of the world today.” He also said that the world can only achieve 8.6% of circularity at present. Glass is the material with the greatest promise due to its circularity. Prof. Dr. Kırman also stated, “Targeting recovery in every area where glass is used is a crucial opportunity for our planet in the fight against climate change. Şişecam’s 2030 sustainability strategy ‘CareforNext’ responds to the evolving challenges and needs of societies and our planet and is based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Şişecam carries the glass legacy forward, by focusing on ‘Protect the Planet,’ ‘Empower Societies,’ and ‘Transform Life’ pillars. As part of the company’s ‘Transform Life’ strategic objective, Şişecam plans to maintain and expand its sustainable solutions to meet the changing needs of our planet and our societies. Further developing our existing products with research studies based on life cycle analysis is a central part of our sustainability goals. Thanks to its unique structure and value-added qualities, glass contains a huge diversity of uses and richness that directly serve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. With these goals in mind, Şişecam is carrying out many initiatives. We are developing solutions for energy glass, supplying glass fibre for wind turbines, and promoting the transition to low-e glass. In short, Şişecam is taking action in many areas. We are actively supporting intensive R&D studies on advanced furnace control technologies, recycling of glass, electricity generation from renewable resources to power our facilities, and innovative furnace technologies. Şişecam is also continuing its science-based target setting studies to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

Taking responsibility

Prof. Dr. Kırman stated that Şişecam is boldly taking responsibility to protect, empower and transform its ecosystem: “This understanding and sense of responsibility lies at the heart of Şişecam’s intensive efforts to declare 2022 the International Year of Glass”, he explained. “As an active member of ICG [International Commission on Glass] – the most prestigious institution of glass science in the world – Şişecam has supported the goal of United Nations International Year of Glass 2022 from the very beginning. We have maintained steady support for this important designation with all our stakeholders. Şişecam plans to work on further boosting the global focus on glass throughout the year. We are proud to take a pioneering role in the development of glass, a singularly unique material. Glass responds to the world’s economic development needs without any drawbacks. In addition, glass is one of the most valuable materials of humanity, from the ancient past to the modern-day present. We see glass not only as a line of business but as a service to humanity and economic development. Şişecam has the well-deserved reputation of a global leader operating in the glass industry. Our sector provides high employment and plays a critical role in the development of many other industries."

I would like to take this occasion to thank, on behalf of all of us, every stakeholder contributing to the development and transformation of glass,” he added. “This includes all those who work near the hot furnaces, engineers who design furnaces, academics who devise research projects to further develop glass, and associations that stress the importance of glass. The history of humanity is inherently shaped by the tools that human beings use most frequently. As a result, the time is right to raise awareness on the major role of glass in the development of the human mind, language and culture. Şişecam remains committed to taking the lead in adding value to humanity with our industry and improving human lives. We must leave a world as sustainable as glass to future generations. Şişecam will always do what is necessary to ensure a sustainable tomorrow,” he concluded.

Further Information: 

Şişecam, Istanbul, Turkey
tel: +90 850 206 5050


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