GW: How relevant is FEVE now and in the future as the voice of European container glass manufacturers?
In the globalised context in which we operate, it is fundamental to have a common and strong European voice for our industry towards EU institutions and all stakeholders along the whole value chain. We strongly rely on FEVE to federate members under a common industry vision, which is a major and very challenging task. Besides the political and legislative mandate, it is already 10 years that FEVE has been leading the industry platform Friends of Glass to engage with consumers and promote glass packaging assets in the marketplace. As members, we want to continue to invest in FEVE as our European industry representative.
GW: During your involvement prior to becoming President, how has FEVE evolved?
I am quite new within FEVE but for sure, I can say that there is a strong industry will to progress, driven by the Board and enabled by the FEVE team. The priority is to innovate and to position glass as the packaging of the future, the sustainably-sound solution to many issues that food and beverage markets are facing in terms of packaging. I have also noted a renewed dynamism driven by the producers of flacons for the cosmetics, perfumery and pharmaceutical sectors, who are eager to position their knowhow and added value towards their European and global customers.
GW: On which areas will you focus in the short, medium and long term during your presidency?
Today, there is no option than to radically change the way we move towards a dematerialisation and decarbonisation of production and consumption. Business models, including ours, are under scrutiny for their environmental credentials and entire value chains are under threat if they are not able to adapt.
Our priority is to turn these challenges into opportunities. On one side, through FEVE we are focusing on how to decarbonise production and design the furnace of the future. We have built a working group at FEVE to examine all technical solutions and partner with the supply chain to bring these solutions to reality.
On the other side, we want to get the most from the environmental and economic benefits of glass recycling and we want to increase the quantity and quality of recycled glass available for production. Today, 74% of glass put on the market is collected for recycling*, we want to fill the gap and bring substantially all glass packaging back in the loop. We are federating forces and resources around this common objective. We want to continue to communicate about glass as a sustainable material and packaging solution and enhance our industry’s reputation towards all stakeholders.
In my role, I would like to see national and European priorities aligned to work better together. We all have a deep interest in playing our role in supporting each other to build a strong, sustainable and competitive glass packaging sector for food and beverages, as well as pharmaceutical, perfumery and cosmetics industries in Europe.
GW: How important will the contribution be of Vitaliano Torno, FEVE Vice-President and other members of the executive team to achieving FEVE’s goals in the next two years?
My role of President can’t be separated from that of Vitaliano, as we work as a team. Vitaliano is a glass man with huge and long-dated experience in the industry. He is an exceptional resource for me and for the whole industry.
But not only Vitaliano, the whole FEVE Board has a fundamental role in driving a common industry vision, bringing forward ideas and enabling their enforcement at an industry level.
GW: What legacy does your predecessor, Johan Gorter leave behind from his time as FEVE President?
Johan left me with already well-shaped projects and strong support behind them. He has been able to lead FEVE in an assertive but consensus-based way, allowing for debate and reflection but driving decisions when needed. Johan was an example of leadership and commitment and my role in replacing him will be very demanding.
GW: In your opinion, how important is Friends of Glass and will the campaign continue to be a priority during your term?
For some years now, Friends of Glass has witnessed growing success in positioning glass packaging as a sustainably sound choice among consumers to help the planet. Through the Endless Ocean campaign, the industry continues to promote glass as a positive solution to plastic pollution.
A first for the industry, Friends of Glass is securing partnerships with globally recognised NGOs like Surfrider Europe, Spain and France, Legambiente in Italy and the Marine Aquatic Museum in the UK. Over 100 key influencers are engaged to ‘amplify’ the reach of our campaign.
This year, a viral campaign centred on a series of candid cameras, capturing the reactions of unsuspecting shoppers, as they found themselves face-to-face with a pod of dolphins who thanked them for choosing products packaged in glass. In one month, over 11 million social media users were reached and 4.1 million people viewed the video, proving that when it comes to making the ocean-friendly choice, glass packaging continues to resonate with consumers. Most astonishing is the number of positive reactions and engagements the campaign is sparking. A sign that today, sustainability is no longer a buzzword but truly a priority for consumers. We have a lot of opportunities there we must seize.
GW: In general, how is the container glass industry currently performing in the European countries covered by FEVE members?
Signals from the market are positive. FEVE market data recorded consistent growth in 2018, confirming the positive trends of previous years. Overall production now stands at 21,755,000 tonnes and 78,662 million units, 10% and 9.8% increases relative to 2012 levels respectively. Glass is more than ever the leading packaging material for spirits, wines and beer, while it is increasingly gaining share in the food, water and dairy sectors. It the second leading packaging material in Europe in terms of volume.
GW: In the long-term, does Europe still represent a cost-effective manufacturing hub for hollow glass production?
Europe is the world’s second leading economy and it is pioneering a transition to a future decarbonised and circular economy. Currently, it is a very challenging period for Europe. It is also a relatively mature market. However, glass packaging is gaining a renewed traction in several segments, due to the issues encountered by plastics and other packaging materials.
I also think there will be many opportunities in European and global markets once we have managed to design the industry of the future and decarbonise production. Therefore, I believe, Europe will continue to be a competitive and privileged manufacturing hub for production and reference in terms of quality.
GW: Glass Worldwide acts as FEVE’s preferred journal and is the only magazine to be an official partner of Friends of Glass. How has this co-operation benefited the industry?
Glass Worldwide is a major source of information for the industry. It is very useful to have such a comprehensive snapshot of what is happening in the glass industry in terms of research, innovation and market. It provides a useful insight to all aspects of glass manufacturing and is an important international reference point for our industry.
The co-operation with Glass Worldwide is of great benefit to FEVE as one of the main communications tools to address the industry audience and share with them the latest news and developments of the European container glass industry. Glass Worldwide is an important and preferred source of information for many people in our company.