Growing global concerns over climate change are putting an increasing focus on sustainability. This report is part of an occasional series on sustainability in industry which examines the opportunities and challenges facing various industrial sectors and the role that the International Finance Corporation can play to support their efforts and contribute to a greener planet.
Glass is present in a myriad of products used in both daily life and manufacturing, from beverage containers to windows to fiber optic cables. Its many properties and affordable cost make it an essential material for development, whether in the construction of houses and high rises where people live and work or for use in industries such as agribusiness and automaking.
Glass is also attractive because of its sustainability—a growing consideration for countries, companies, and consumers as the world seeks to address climate change. Because glass products are 100-percent recyclable, the industry lends itself well to the circular economy. At the same time, glass can be used to help other industries become more energy efficient and sustainable.
The industry’s own high energy use remains a challenge, although in the last few decades companies have introduced innovations in glass production processes to reduce waste and boost efficiency. With support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the private sector, the industry can continue to improve its energy efficiency while meeting increased demand for sustainable glass products.