The findings of the recent UN report on climate change were eye opening. The overall consensus of the report was that to limit global warming to 1.5° C it would require “rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.” It also stated we would need to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as well as finding a way to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere.

More and more major manufacturers are understanding the implications that climate change is having and will have, and are committing to ever greater sustainability targets. The container glass industry is certainly no exception. Not only does it make environmental sense, but it makes good business sense to take sustainability seriously. As consumers become more environmentally conscious about the food and drink they purchase, brands are responding by demanding an ever more sustainable product, with cleaner and less carbon intensive supply chains.

With glass we are already working with a product that can be recycled infinitely with no loss of quality. The bottles we produce have up to 80% recycled glass content and over the last 20 years have become lighter and less energy intensive to produce.

Looking at the wider picture, the glass industry is working with Government on a 2050 glass decarbonisation plan. As a sign of this commitment the industry, under the name Glass Futures, is planning a centre of excellence for research and development. Glass Futures links universities, major manufacturers like Encirc with 40% of the Ireland and UK markets for glass containers, and Government together and as part of its work is providing a scaled down production facility for container glass manufacturers to train on and develop more sustainable practices.

Within Encirc we pride ourselves on sustainability. Our plant in Derrylin is set to undergo some of the biggest sustainable developments in its history in 2019 -

The Gas to the West project will link our plant up to the national gas network, and allow us to power our two furnaces with gas instead of fuel oil,

Our short to medium term multi million pounds investment plans, will see all our furnaces replaced with much more efficient furnaces.

We will Bio-methane generated from farm waste to provide up to 40% of the electrical energy needs of the plant through a sustainable CHP plant.

All of these projects we will save thousands of tonnes of C02.

However, it is not just the pure carbon savings that we pride ourselves on at Encirc. We try to take a holistic approach to sustainability. For example in 2017 we were hugely proud to achieve CORE - the Standard for Responsible Business. CORE is a certification for businesses in Northern Ireland that recognises organisations at the forefront of corporate social responsibility – those who go above and beyond to establish their business by having a real commitment to people, place and planet.

We encourage innovation amongst our people to make Encirc more sustainable. For example, one of our engineers found a way to heat our recently opened changing room and shower block and our new state-of the-art on site gym, free to use for all our staff, using waste heat from another part of the factory.

We are running a biodiversity project with local schools where local school children have researched all the local wildlife on our site and are producing information booklets for employees and visitors to read.

For us at Encirc sustainability involves being a responsible employer, working with local communities and providing a business that puts the health and wellbeing our staff at the centre of all we do.

We will continue to make the big changes as we move forward in our long term goal of a zero emissions container glass industry, and we know it will be our own people who will be central in driving us towards that.