Date: 15 February 2022
In a world where the importance of sustainability is increasingly recognized and embraced, 2022 was declared the "International Year of Glass" by the United Nations (UN) with the contributions of Şişecam to draw attention to the role of glass in developing sustainable societies. The International Year of Glass, which includes a wide range of awareness raising activities planned around the world throughout 2022, was inaugurated at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, from February 9th to 11th. Şişecam was one of the main sponsors of the event held by the International Glass Commission (ICG) and attended by the leading representatives of the world 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 the innovative products developed by Şişecam scientists and how these products have added value to many industries, from health care to agriculture.
In his closing speech at the opening ceremony of the International Year of Glass, Şişecam Chairman Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kırman pointed out that glass has added value to the development of civilizations 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: “One of the few companies that come to mind when glass is mentioned in the world today, 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."
“A material like glass that is 100 percent and infinitely recyclable is one of humanity's greatest assets.”
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kırman stated that the history of glass dates back 5,000 years. Glass production is considered one of the most important developments and main supporters of modern human history, he added: “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.”
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kırman indicated that the world has entered a new era with the pandemic that started in late 2019, continuing his speech: “A material like glass that is 100 percent 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."
“Recycling glass is a major opportunity in the fight against climate change”
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kırman emphasized 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 “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 fiber 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.”
“We see glass not only as a line of business but as a service to humanity and economic development.”
Prof. Dr. Ahmet 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 by the UN. As an active member of ICG – 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. 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.”
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