“Our glass decarbonisation process is underway,” Thomas Riou, Verescence

Premium Beauty News – How advanced is Verescence in its decarbonisation programme?

Thomas Riou- Our roadmap, which we presented to SBTi [1] last October, has recently been validated. This is a key step because it is important to have our actions reviewed and validated by independent experts. It focuses firstly on reducing scope 1 (emissions linked to our process); scope 2 (emissions from electricity producers that we use in our process), but also on quantifying and reducing scope 3 (investments, transportation, raw materials, etc.).

The bulk of our emissions, (ie, 60%), are concentrated in scopes 1 and 2. Our roadmap includes specific projects, defined steps and a detailed evaluation of the necessary investments. The period between 2019 and 2034 must result in a 40% reduction in our CO2 emissions, bearing in mind that between 2016 and 2019 we had already reduced these emissions by 10%. In France, for example, the progress made will be even more significant, with a 50% reduction in our emissions between 2019 and 2030.

Reducing the consumption of fossil fuels during the melting process is essential in cutting down on emissions. This part alone represents 40% of the effort we will have to make by 2034. But there are many other initiatives that need to be implemented and where we are already involved, such as the recovery of waste heat, the supply in green electricity, the use of PCR glass, etc.

Premium Beauty News – So for the combustion part you have opted for electricity as a transitional solution, to what extent?

Thomas Riou- In terms of electrification, two technologies are available: either the furnace is fully electric or it is a hybrid furnace running on about 80% electricity and 20% gas.

The technological choice will depend both on the amount of PCR cullet we will use and the availability and the level of decarbonisation of the electric supply we can use. Because our roadmap also takes into account the decarbonisation of our electricity to have 80% of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2025. And this target comes with a clear strategy to buy green electricity produced only in the country where we operate. Because if your purchases are made elsewhere and the networks are not connected, the approach is not right. Reaching 80% by 2025 will therefore depend on the maturity of the projects in each country.

Premium Beauty News – Tell us more about this maturity?

Thomas Riou- We are present in France, Spain, the United States and South Korea, and everywhere our choices will be driven by this desire for renewable electricity.

In Spain, we have already signed a contract for a supply of more than 10 years of green electricity with the Iberdrola Group, which will enable us to reduce our electricity emissions by 80%, ie 11,000 tonnes of CO2, or 6% of our worldwide emissions at group level, by 2021. Spain is a very advanced country in terms of renewable energy. There are real concrete projects near our factory.

In France, energy is already highly decarbonized due to nuclear power, so there are fewer projects of this type.

In the United States and South Korea, we are working on it. There are many discussions underway, but these are countries where it will take a little longer. However, I think that things should move very quickly in the next three years.

Premium Beauty News – Over what period will the transition to electrical power take place?

Thomas Riou- It will take place when we upgrade our furnaces, which have a lifespan of about 10 years. The first furnace to be upgraded will be in Mers-les-Bains, France in 2025 and the last one a little after 2030. By then, we will have changed our technology completely.

Premium Beauty News – What is the impact on both costs and output at a time when the industry is already being hard hit by soaring energy costs?

Thomas Riou- There is no doubt that all decarbonisation projects will require very significant investments. Our 2030 roadmap will require an additional investment of over 20 million euros. We are calling on the States in which we are operating to support our company in these massive changes.

We are working to ensure that the introduction of new technologies will not affect our performance, but we cannot exclude that decarbonisation will result in additional costs that will have to be supported by the market.

Premium Beauty News – Verescence is participating in the VERCANE (VERre CArbone NEutre) research and development project, supported by ADEME, which aims to identify the different sources of energy capable of powering glass production sustainably, tell us more about it.

Thomas Riou- The Vercane project is a huge research project that is focusing on several levers such as hydrogen, biogas and electricity. Working on this French project will mean that we will be able to find other ways of improving the future. After 2034, it will be 2050 with a Carbon Neutrality objective, but this will require research and development work in the coming years.

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