Top Glass Manufacturer Is Lead Innovator for Industry Sustainability Efforts World-Wide
As the leading European and the world’s third largest producer of glass packaging for the beverage and food industries, Verallia has developed a strong knowledge in eco-friendly and high-quality glass solutions.
Given that Verallia supplies 10,000 companies worldwide with 16 billion glass bottles and jars each year, the company has positioned itself as an innovation leader for sustainability efforts across the industry.
Verallia’s clients range from local family producers to major international brands – but large or small, the concerns about the environment and the economy are the same; the need to do more with less while leaving a lighter carbon footprint for the financial health of the industry as well as for the generations to come.
According to Verallia USA General Manager Felix Lamolinerie, “Glass is an inert material that is 100% and infinitely recyclable.” Efforts are well underway, beginning with lightening the weight of premium wine bottles without sacrificing quality.
“For champagne bottles, for instance, we have gone from 900 grams per bottle, to 835 grams,” explains Felix Lamolinerie, “and we are currently doing a trial with Champagne Telmont (co-owned by Leonardo Di-Caprio) in France going from 835 to 800 grams.
“At Verallia we consider it’s important to maintain bottle integrity in the ranges we are working with, while at the same time offering more sustainable packaging.”
Therefore, they also developed innovative ranges such as the “EGO” range: ultra-premium bottles that are on average 20% lighter than similar products on the market. This unique eco-designed range features all the characteristics of a premium bottle (high punt, generous and refined shape) while being lightweight.
Verallia is actively working towards decarbonizing the glass industry. Even as the glass manufacturer is working on growing its capacities, the investment in low-carbon furnaces (electric and hybrid), and the development of renewable energy is part of their roadmap to achieve the very ambitious target of reducing their CO2 emissions by 46% on scope 1&2 in absolute terms by 2030 (in comparison with 2019).
Felix points out that manufacturing is not the only part of the sustainability equation. He says that Verallia is focused on the “circularity” of glass packaging, maximizing the use of cullet in its furnaces to have a more sustainable production process.
“We are looking to increase on average the rate of cullet uses from 49 percent in 2019 to 66 percent by the year 2030 within the 11 countries that Verallia operate factories.” The glass manufacturer is also exploring and assessing reusable glass projects.
Verallia has had a proud history of cooperative partnerships since the company’s inception as a glass manufacturer nearly 200 years ago.
In addition to working with a host of different agents, consultant, subcontractors, and suppliers around the globe, Verallia is part of the international Glass Packaging Institute and the Federation of European Glassmakers.
Felix Lamolinerie says Verallia is committed to working with those partners to buy green energy and promote sustainability on every level and in every instance they can.
“Our purpose is to reimagine glass for a sustainable future” Felix Lamolinerie notes. “The wine industry is changing. People feel the effects of climate change in this industry specifically in California.” Verallia is now ready to offer them a wide range of product to fit their specific needs while reducing the average glass weight by offering dedicated product like the EGO and Ecova range.
Felix Lamolinerie is confident sustainability can and must be accomplished. “We know the challenge is important, and we will overcome it for the good of our industry and for humanity.”
This piece was originally published in Wine Industry Advisor.