Glass and glazing experts spoke at the second and final day of the United Nation’s Year of Glass ceremonies discussing the industry’s efforts to continue sustainably and its hopes for the future. The ceremonies began at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday, February 10, and concluded on February 11. Friday’s events included several speakers from various sectors of the glass industry who discussed the importance of glass in everyday life, construction, and architecture, among others.

Nancy Mammaro, Mappi CEO

Philippe Bastien, chairman of Glass for Europe and regional president for AGC Glass Europe, began his discussion by asking attendees to imagine the glass and glazing industry 30 years ago, in the early 1990s.

“The glass industry has changed a lot since then. So has society and our thinking about climate change,” Bastien said. “The concept of a low-carbon economy was in its infancy– the first global agreement on tackling climate had just been adopted in 1992.”

He said working towards a sustainable future should no longer be a topic of debate, as it is a reality sought by the global Paris agreement and guided by global policies such as the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goal.

“We are actively contributing strongly today to a more sustainable, low-carbon future by providing recyclable materials essential to innovate buildings… and helping increase the share of renewable solar energy,” Bastien said.

He also explained that high-performance coated glass could help save nearly 100 million tons of CO2 from buildings annually, just in Europe alone. He spoke on the efforts of the European flat glass industry to continue working towards sustainable processes.

“We have also made huge strides in reducing CO2 emission from our own activity. As we all know, any glass production is an energy-intensive process with resulting CO2 emissions towards the EU flat glass industry. We have also worked very hard to reduce our CO2 emissions incurred during production. Since 1990, we have managed to reduce emissions by 42%.”

Bastien said he is optimistic about the collective contribution to a healthier environment.

“I am confident the industry can and will deliver on sustainability,” he said.

Vitrum officials were also present at the international event. Its president, Dino Zandonella Necca, delivered closing remarks on Friday.

“Indeed, glass is, without doubt, a wondrous material for our daily modern life. It’s recyclable, environmentally friendly, healthier, and architecturally expressive,” he said.

Nancy Mammaro, Mappi CEO and vice president of GIMAV, the Association of Italian manufacturers and suppliers of machines, accessories, equipment, and special products for glass processing, was also present at the ceremony. She said there were around 80 participants from all around the world including a variety of speakers who spoke about glass “as if they are reciting poetry.”

“We really love glass– this is the best slogan for [the Year of Glass Opening Ceremony],” she said.