Glass Focus 2016 – organised by British Glass and supported by Glass Worldwide and Siemens – saw UK glass manufacturers joined by raw materials and machinery suppliers, policy makers, researchers and big brands for keynote presentations from:
- Moorgate Capital’s Head of Mergers and Acquisitions (Packaging) Nicholas Mockett
on A view of glass from the City
- University of Newcastle’s Prof Kenny Dalgarno
on Future Manufacturing
- Forum for the Future’s Head of Energy Will Dawson
on Rising Tides: How business can win out from shifting systems.
As Will Dawson’s speech highlighted, in the context of climate change and energy systems, staying the same is not an option. Business will either have to adapt to alleviate climate change or adapt to markets and economies massively altered by its effects.
Making reference to the environmental, economic and political upheavals the UK and the world are facing, British Glass CEO Dave Dalton said in his introduction: “To succeed in an uncertain future the glass industry needs to grasp opportunities and be agile enough to adapt... And succeed it must – because the UK’s glass capability is a vital economic and technological asset.”
A series of workshops – with presenters from the likes of Guardian Industries, Procter and Gamble, Diageo, Zero Waste Scotland, Valpak Ltd, Romag and Glass Technology Services looked at specific areas and challenges for the industry:
- Flat glass for tomorrow’s buildings
- Fresh perspectives on packaging design and supply
- Squaring the circular economy
- Innovation thinking and the valley of death
- Energy efficiency and decarbonisation
A theme which came out clearly throughout the day was the need for collaboration to find and deliver solutions – collaboration between academia and industry, across supply chains and across the sector. As the panellists in the afternoon Q&A discussion commented – competitors within a sector can collaborate in a commercially sensible way to fend off competition from outside.
Dave Dalton reflected: “Glass Focus 2016 opened up some important – and at times very frank discussions: which is exactly what we hoped for. The contributions from speakers and delegates were incredibly valuable.
For us it’s a vital opportunity to understand the wider industry’s stance on key issues – and feed this into serving our members. In the coming weeks I and the team at British Glass will review the outcomes to identify where and how we, as a manufacturers’ confederation, can take action and have an impact for our members.”
The daytime conference was rounded off by the black tie Glass Focus Awards dinner – hosted by TV presenter and Scientific Director of Dynamic Earth, Hermione Cockburn.
British Glass is the UK trade association for the UK glass industry. With more than 50 years’ experience and close working relationships with our members, we communicate the UK glass industry’s value, interests and concerns to Government, the devolved administrations and the European Union.
The UK glass industry contributes almost £2billion to the UK economy annually. It directly employs around 6,000 people with an estimated further 150,000 jobs contingent on these.