Sustainability FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Sustainability

We receive lots of questions about our Group Sustainability policy and credentials. Most of these can be answered by referring to our Sustainability Report however we have highlighted some of the key ones below. If you would like further help please email us using the contact form.

1 Do you have a sustainability policy?

Glass is playing an important role in society’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to mitigate the effects of climate change. We aim to be the global leader in innovative high-performance glass and glazing solutions, contributing to energy conservation and generation, while working safely and ethically.

To access our Group Sustainability Policy, please click here.


Do you publish a sustainability report?

We publish a group integrated report, which includes a sustainability report. Previous reports are also available. To access the reports, please click here.

3 What is your environmental policy?

We care passionately about the environment and are committed to integrating sustainability considerations into all our business decisions. As a minimum we comply with all relevant country-specific laws and regulations. Where relevant we take additional internal steps to meet our sustainability objectives, protect the environment and reduce any impact.

The use of many of our products will lead to positive environmental impacts and if adequately segregated, our glass is 100 % recyclable at the end of the product life. For more information on our group environmental policy, please click here.

4 What are you doing to reduce your carbon emissions?

NSG Group is committed to support the mitigation of risks of climate change.

The original Greenhouse gas reduction target of NSG Group approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) in October 2019 was revised during FY22. The new target is significantly more challenging and represents the increased ambition of NSG Group to decarbonize its activities. The new target was formally approved by the SBTi in May 2022 and is aligned with a well below 2℃ global warming scenario. In addition to this increased level of ambition, the new target also includes a commitment to reduce Scope 3 emissions.

By 2030, NSG Group commits to reduce absolute GHG emissions (Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3) by 30% compared to the 2018 baseline level. 

NSG Group announced a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of the FY22 financial results presentation to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (May 2022). This target is aligned to numerous stakeholder requests throughout the NSG value chain. The target covers all scopes of NSG GHG emissions with no exclusions.

For more information on our roadmap to carbon neutrality, please click here.

5 What are you doing to reduce energy usage in your processes?

We work continuously to minimize energy input into all our processes, so that the usage of glass contributes net benefit to sustainability. To view some of our energy saving projects, please click here.

For more information on our group energy policy, please click here.

6 What air emissions are associated with glass manufacturing?

The main emissions from a flat glass furnace come from the combustion of fuel and the decomposition of the carbonate and sulphate raw materials. The raw materials are melted at a very high temperature, so the process is extremely energy-intensive.

The most significant pollutants from a glass furnace are: carbon dioxide, from both the decomposition of carbonates and combusted fuels, nitrogen oxides formed from the nitrogen and oxygen in the air at high temperature; sulphur oxides from the refining agent (and from oil fuel if that is used) and particulate matter derived from compounds volatilized from the molten glass.

We are tackling pollutant air emissions with a range of primary and secondary abatement techniques. Primary methods, such as special burners or carefully chosen raw materials, including more cullet (recycled glass), reduce pollutant formation and can also improve the thermal performance of the furnaces. Secondary abatement removes the pollutants from the furnace waste gases before they are emitted through the chimney.

For more information on projects to reduce our air emissions, please click here.

7 What are you doing to reduce waste and increase recycling?

We promote the efficient use, reuse, recovery and recycling of glass and other materials involved in glass manufacture, processing, packaging, and delivery.

To read about projects that we have initiated to increase glass recycling rates, please click here.

8 What are you doing to minimise water usage in your processes?

In glassmaking, water is used for cooling, and most of our plants operate with closed loop systems and so only require top up. Water is also used for washing glass in plants but there the need is for very high purity, so water is treated and then reused. We seek to minimize our water consumption by working with suppliers to recycle water and to install advanced water treatment facilities. This not only reduces the consumption of water itself but also the chemicals used in the treatment of the water.

To find out more about our water-saving initiatives, and to find the NSG Group Water Policy please click here.

9 What are you doing to minimise packaging?

In Europe, much of our glass is transported on steel stillages - in cycles with the customers - without packaging and utilizing specialist ‘Floatliner’ vehicles for the large raw glass plates. We use a significant quantity of wooden packaging in our operations and work with our suppliers to design reusable units. Due diligence is carried out to ensure it comes from legal and sustainable sources.

For more information on materials for packaging purposes, please click here.

10 Do you operate an ISO 14001 environmental management system?

We aim to certify our manufacturing facilities to the internationally recognized ISO 14001 environmental standard and now have 81 certified sites around the world, representing 70 per cent of our business by turnover.

Our Automotive business was one of the first in the automotive industry to achieve a corporate certificate for environmental management. A single ISO 14001 certificate from TUV SUD Management Service GmbH covers group functions and the vast majority of our Automotive plants worldwide.

To access our ISO 14001 certificate for our manufacturing operations in Architectural Glass Europe, including UK operations, please click here.

11 Are you independently assessed for Corporate Social Responsibility?

Yes. EcoVadis operates an independent, external platform allowing companies to assess and benchmark their environmental and social performance on a global basis.

The process assesses company policies, implemented procedures and published reports with regards to environmental, labour practices and human rights, fair business practices and sustainable procurement issues. The assessment is conducted by Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) experts of EcoVadis on the basis of company answers to a survey which is dynamically adapted to country, sector and size, using scorecards covering 150 industry categories and 21 CSR criteria. The rating is based on supporting documentation, public and stakeholder (NGOs, trade unions, press) information.

For more details on our Corporate Social Responsibility rating, please click here.

12 Do you have Environmental Product Declarations for your products?

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) provide a means for manufacturers to provide transparent data about the environmental sustainability of their products and for specifiers to make informed purchasing decisions. 

We have EPDs for a comprehensive range of Pilkington products for use in architectural applications. Each EPD is arranged by product groups. Registered via The International EPD® System programme with the operator EPD International AB, these EPDs have been verified by an independent third party. They are based on a cradle-to-grave and module D approach in accordance with the requirements of EN 15804:2012+A2:2019/AC:2021 and PCRs in accordance with EN 17074: 2019.

Visit our EPDs page - click HERE.

13 Do you have third party certification for responsible sourcing?

We are not a member of a third-party certification scheme for responsible sourcing. However, many of the suppliers of our main raw materials, sand and soda ash, have third party certification to ISO 14001 for their environmental management systems.

The NSG Supplier Code of Conduct can be found on this link:

14 Do you have a Health Product Declaration for your products?

We provide a published Health Product Declaration (HPD) with full disclosure of known hazards for float and coated glass in compliance with the HPD Open Standard. Our HPD for flat and coated glass has been pre-checked for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credit MRc4 Options 1 and 2.

To access HPDs for our products, please click here.

15 Can glass help the world become carbon neutral?

NSG Group announced a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of the FY22 financial results presentation to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (May 2022). This target is aligned to numerous stakeholder requests throughout the NSG value chain. The target covers all scopes of NSG GHG emissions with no exclusions.

For more information on our roadmap to carbon neutrality, please click here.

According to a Glass for Europe publication, the flat glass sector is indispensable to the massive decarbonisation of the building, transport and energy sectors, which represent the lion’s share of Europe’s CO₂ emissions. Flat glass manufacturing is also an energy-intensive activity. The sector takes it as its duty to reduce its own CO₂ emissions, which represents a significant challenge in moving towards carbon neutrality. In today’s climate urgency context, the flat glass sector wants to offer its vision of a rapidly actionable virtuous decarbonisation cycle.

To access the Glass for Europe flat glass decarbonisation, please click here.

16 Does NSG Group have a Conflict Minerals Statement?

'NSG Group and its subsidiaries support the aims and objectives of the US legislation on the supply of Conflict Minerals.

NSG Group will not, for humanitarian reasons, knowingly use raw materials such as tin, tungsten, gold or tantalum which directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups or cause human rights abuses. If we discover the use of such conflict minerals in any material, parts or components we procure, we will implement an urgent action plan to eliminate the use of such materials.'

Please click here for more details.

17 Do you use recycled glass in your manufacturing processes?

Yes. The NSG Group is fully committed to reduce adverse environmental impact by maximising the reuse, recycling or recovery of resources and minimising the production of waste involved in glass manufacture, processing, packaging, and delivery.

Although current levels within the flat glass industry are low, we are seeking to increase the levels of pre-consumer recycled content in our manufacturing processes. We do make active use of recycled glass, referred to as cullet, in our processes to improve our environmental performance. Internal and pre consumer cullet consists of broken glass generated from edge trimmings and off specification product. While internal and pre consumer cullet is generated from the manufacturing process, it is reintroduced into the float furnace and makes up approximately 20 % of the batch materials used to manufacture flat glass (dependent upon product). The use of cullet is essential to the manufacturing of quality flat glass and has the benefit of improving the melt of other batch material, reduces the amount of virgin material that must be extracted and generates a net energy savings. Since combustion processes are heavily involved in the manufacture of flat glass this energy saving reduces emissions into the atmosphere.

In addition to cullet, batch material also includes silica sand (one of the world's most abundant naturally occurring minerals) and other abundantly available minerals such as limestone. 

For more information on re-use and recycling of glass, please click here.


Does the NSG Group have a policy to reduce packaging?

We aim to eliminate or minimise the amount of packaging used to deliver products to customers. Specialised floatliner vehicles are used where possible to eliminate the need for packaging. Returnable metal and a small proportion of recyclable wooden stillages are used where this is not possible. Cardboard spacers can be returned to us and reused.


How much CO₂ can be saved using our products?

Float glass manufacture is an energy-consuming process, but many of our products reduce energy consumption when used in buildings. It is important to consider this overall balance when assessing environmental impact.

Energy issues are key to the building glass industry, as glass products can make an important contribution to combating climate change. Different types of glass we have developed over the years, especially low-emissivity double glazing and solar control glazing, can significantly reduce the need for heating and cooling in buildings, thereby reducing energy consumption and associated carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions.

In regions where the ambient temperature is often uncomfortably hot, the increasing tendency, as people aspire to a better lifestyle or have more disposable income, is to install air conditioning and that of course brings with it an energy and carbon burden. In that case, the primary objective is to keep heat out. Residential and non-residential buildings that use more energy than necessary to stay cool are a major source of unnecessary CO₂ emissions. Solar control glass allows sunlight to pass through glazing while radiating and reflecting away a large degree of the sun’s heat. The indoor space stays bright and much cooler than would be the case if normal glass were used.

The huge potential for energy savings and CO₂ emission reductions from using high performance glazing in Europe has been quantified in a study from Glass for Europe.

Commissioned by the European trade association of flat glass manufacturers, of which NSG Group is an active member, comprehensive modelling was undertaken by Dutch scientific institute TNO.

The research reports energy and CO₂ savings that can be realised for heating and cooling of buildings across EU Member States by 2030 and 2050.

If all buildings in Europe were installed with windows incorporating high performance glazing, the study found that:

  • 75 Mtoe1 of energy could be saved annually, equivalent to a reduction of energy consumption of nearly 30% in buildings;
  • Almost half of these energy savings can be realised in 10 years, by doubling the annual window renovation rate;
  • Up to 94 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions per year could be avoided.

1 Mtoe is one million tonnes of oil equivalent.

The findings of this research emphasise the need for EU and national policies to put energy efficiency first and increase renovation rates of our building stock using high performance glazing available on the market today.

More information about this study, including a breakdown for each country, can be found in the Glass for Europe 'Glazing Potential' publication: 


What percentage of glass is reusable?

There is no reason in principle why a window or other glass structure could not be reused. However, in many constructions the frame and size of glazing units is bespoke which would limit re-use in this form. Having said that, most window and glazing materials can be re-used in some form and, in several countries, some companies are actively collecting and recycling windows.


What percentage of the product is recyclable?

Glass is 100% recyclable. One of the significant sustainability advantages of glass as a material is that, unlike many other materials, it can be recycled indefinitely. The only real constraint in glassmaking terms is colour. Whilst it is possible to use clear glass cullet in the production of coloured glass it is not practicable to do the reverse. However, this does not mean that all glass products can be recycled easily. Removal, segregation and transport impacts can affect the viability and environmental impact of recycling. The level of contamination determines if the glass will be used in the float, container, fibreglass or aggregate industries.


Do NSG Group products contain hazardous substance?

In most cases, the finished product does not contain hazardous substances. Glass is produced from non-toxic, naturally occurring substances (e.g. sand, limestone, dolomite etc.). Glass is an inert material. Hazardous substances may be used during the subsequent processing of the glass. These are carefully managed on our sites to ensure no harmful release to the environment and are rendered harmless in the final product. The Group is active in ensuring that its most critical supplies are REACH compliant.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are not used in the manufacture of flat glass. Although they may be used during the back painting process, there are no VOCs present in the finished product.


Do you use responsibly-sourced timber?

In Europe, much of our glass is transported on steel stillages – in cycles with the customers – without packaging and utilizing specialist 'Floatliner' vehicles for the large raw glass plates. We use a significant quantity of renewable wooden packaging in our operations and work with our suppliers to design reusable units. Due diligence is carried out to ensure that timber comes from legal and sustainable sources.

For more information on materials for packaging purposes, please click here.

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