In the first six months, the industry produced 10.9 M tonnes of glass compared to 10.7 M tonnes in the first half 2011. The increase was striking in countries such as Portugal (13 per cent), Poland (7 per cent) as well as in the North & Central Europe (6.2 per cent) and South & East Europe (5.1 per cent). Other EU countries like United Kingdom (2.9 per cent), Germany (1.4 per cent) and Spain (1 per cent) kept the steady trend of previous years while other countries recorded a slow‐down after strong growth in 2011. Turkey confirms a highly positive trend (8.3 per cent).
Despite encouraging results, the impact of the long‐winded financial crisis on the industry continues to weigh heavily on the competitiveness of the EU industry. Increasing energy prices, unilateral CO2 costs, fluctuating and unfavourable exchange rates, and high labour costs hamper the cost competitiveness at global level of the container glass sector. Combined, these challenges delay long‐term investment decisions and rather become incentives for the delocalization of production sites and R&D investments outside the EU to more industry friendly environments with lower costs.
The EU manufacturing sector, including the container glass industry, continues to be the main driver of productivity growth in the EU. According to the European Commission, Europe accounts for about 30 per cent of global consumption, and the European industry is clearly the most important sector for European international trade accounting for over 90 per cent of overall exports of goods.
We strongly support the policy strategy of the European Commission, focusing on the manufacturing industry as powerhouse of the EU economy – comments Stefan Jaenecke, President of FEVE – The container glass industry is making major efforts to adapt and innovate itself while continuing to meet market demand for a high quality and highly competitive packaging solution. These efforts need however to be supported by a legislative and economic framework that encourages the industry to look beyond short term results and fix long‐term and sustainably sound objectives.
 Production of container glass for food and beverage, flacons for perfumery, cosmetics and pharmacy.
 Including Switzerland and Turkey
 See e.g. COM(2012) 582 final communication from the EC to the EP, the council, the EESC and the CoR – A Stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery “[...] Energy prices for European industry went up by 27 per cent in real terms between 2005 and early 2012, which is higher than in most of other industrialized countries, especially US”
 See above EC communication “A Stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery”
FEVE is the European Federation of glass packaging and glass tableware makers.
Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Brussels, FEVE is an international not-for-profit association, which currently numbers over 60 company members and 22 corporate groups across the European Union, Switzerland and Turkey.
What is the role of FEVE?
FEVE is the official voice of the glass container industry at European level. It promotes the common interests of its members throughout Europe and is actively engaged in dialogue with European stakeholders and NGOs.
FEVE champions the position of the industry in the European debate on sustainability and it ensures collaboration with members and national glass associations on both Europe-wide projects and country-based actions.
FEVE ensures that members are constantly informed about EU developments in Life Cycle Assessments, Packaging and Packaging Waste initiatives, developments in sustainable production and consumption, European Emissions Trading Scheme, REACH, and many other dossiers.
The Association promotes glass as an ideal packaging material for its unique environmental, economic and social assets. It actively supports the forum ‘Friends of Glass’ which brings together consumers who consider glass packaging to be good for themselves, their families and the environment.
The FEVE Life Cycle Assessment for container glass
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool to measure, assess and orient improvements in the environmental performance and impact of a product from raw materials through to production, use, and end-of-life phases.
Cradle to Cradle
The FEVE study is a full Life Cycle Assessment from Cradle-to-Cradle for one kg of formed and finished glass ready to use, enabling us to meaningfully estimate the overall environmental impact at the level of a single bottle.
Cradle-to-Cradle is the ultimate test in assessing the environmental impact of a product because it ensures that all aspects of a product’s life, end-of-life and reincarnation are accounted for. Only the Cradle-to-Cradle scenario tells the whole story for products because it is the only methodology which properly accounts for reuse and closed loop recycling.
However, sustainability is about the entire product not just the packaging, which is a delivery system to support demand for actual products. It does not exist for its own end and therefore it cannot be considered in isolation. The FEVE Life Cycle Inventory can thus be used as background input data for overall life cycle assessments of products packed in glass.
The FEVE LCA is comprehensive and peer reviewed
The European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) and member companies commissioned together with GPI - the US container glass trade body - PE America and PE International, to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on container glass production in Europe and the US.
The purpose was to measure the industry’s environmental footprint, focusing on cradle-to-cradle assessment and including raw materials extraction to manufacturing and end-of-life recycling. Not of least importance was to enable the industry to actively and directly participate in the international debate on environmental sustainability and Life Cycle Analysis.
This is the first multi-continental transatlantic LCA for a ready-to-use packaging. It is the most comprehensive Cradle-to-Cradle, peer-reviewed LCA ever commissioned on one segment within the packaging industry.
The European part of the LCA was a FEVE initiative. Participating companies in this research programme are: Allied Glass; Ardagh; BA Vidro; O-I Europe; Saint Gobain Packaging; Siseçam; Vetropack; Vidrala and Zignago Vetro. The study is representative of all EU countries, Turkey and Switzerland and it represents a volume of 14.31 million tonnes of produced glass corresponding to 72 per cent of European production in 2007.
The study underwent a peer review of four independent experts under the Chairmanship of Professor Matthias Finkbeiner, Technical University of Berlin, Institute of Environmental Technology. The other experts were: Professor Dr. Ir. Ruud Beerkens, Senior Research Fellow at TNO, Dr. Arpad Horvath, Berkeley, California and C. Philip Ross – President – Glass Industry Consulting International (GICI).
Glass packaging and the economy
Glass manufacturing actively participate in the economic prosperity of the regions in which they are based, and are also committed to glass recycling systems in all regions of Europe – being the first packaging material to create value from waste. Some of Europe’s most prestigious products are packed in glass and have become icons in their field.
The manufacturing plants are located across 23 European States and include global blue chip and major companies working for the world’s biggest consumer brands. The container glass industry accounts for 60 per cent of the total glass production in Europe and is spread throughout almost 160 plants, including Switzerland and Turkey. The EU is the world’s largest producer of container glass. The glass container industry in Europe employs 46,000 people.
Glass is good for your purse
Glass is often associated with more expensive products. It is not always true and you will be surprised to see that in many cases the same product packed in different materials comes on the shelves at about the same price, or is even cheaper when packed in glass.
However, it is true that high quality products just choose glass because it is the most reliable material in terms of taste preservation and because it guarantees a much longer shelf life. This means that these products can be kept for longer and that there is no need to throw them even when they have not been consumed.
Glass has class
As most of the consumers, we actually make a decision on which product to buy when we are in the supermarket in front of the shelves. It is important that the packaging lets you having a truthful and instant appreciation of the product inside, while at same time jumping off the shelf, speaking to you, providing instant convincing information about the quality of the product. The packaging has therefore the prime tasks to be appealing, while being functional and reliable.
Unlike other materials, glass adds a touch of class to the products contained inside while guaranteeing the highest level of protection and longer shelf life. You can easily sense the elegance and the beauty of a bottle of champagne, of a wine glass or flacon of perfume.
No other packaging material matches the shelf impact of glass. The clarity, shape, and feel of glass containers contribute to the premium image of products, ranging from fine perfumes to liquor to gourmet foods and beverages.