For us, sound economic activities are the basis for sustainable entrepreneurial action. In order to meet our responsibility towards employees, customers and suppliers, our own above-average performance is an important baseline for us. We secure our entrepreneurial position by sober financial, investment and market-related decisions. This enables us to make a valuable contribution to meeting the social challenges of our time.
Under the influence of megatrends – such as decarbonisation, individualisation, digitalisation, internationalisation, connectivity and health – it is a central challenge for Wiegand to continuously develop and reinvent its own business models under changing conditions and lifestyles. For example, in connection with decarbonisation, the energy-intensive glass melting process will have to undergo a very fundamental change. The trend towards greater individualisation also means changes in production processes, the opening up of new sales channels and the expansion of the range of services we offer. Today, digitalisation is paving its way towards the penetration of entire business models and will also bring challenge in corporate management, customer interaction and beyond.
Every entrepreneurial activity has to be embedded in the governmental and national framework in which the company operates. The compliance with the laws and regulations that are relevant for us is one of our main goals, because it gives us security in our own actions, because we make our contribution to the goals laid down in laws and because changes in legal framework also encourage us to rethink in an agile manner. Nevertheless, critically examining the existing legal landscape and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by overregulation remains a daily task.
Due to the high energy intensity of different production processes in our companies, we regularly exchange information with other companies in two differently structured energy efficiency networks. The first step is the joint definition of an energy saving target for the entire network and the selection of the package of measures to be applied. In the Rennsteigenergie energy efficiency network, we maintain contact with a highly heterogeneous group of companies in the Franconian-Thuringian Rennsteig region. Glaswerk Ernstthal is a member of the energy efficiency network GlasNET 2.0. This network was initiated by six companies of the German glass industry. In addition to manufacturers of glass containers, members also include manufacturers of drinking glasses, flat glass, lenses and mirrors.
Similar topics, upcoming challenges and new developments in the common field of activity connect the companies of an industry. The glass and plastics industry has also clearly positioned itself and created opportunities for the cooperation at a national and international level. Our participation in industry associations such as the Bundesverband Glas (BV Glas) and the Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK) in Germany and the Fédération Européenne du Verre d'Emballage (FEVE) are a matter of course for us. By the cooperation, the mutual exchange and the use of synergies, we expect a positive development for our industry and its framework conditions.
Research and development today means creating the basis for the success of tomorrow. We, too, have to constantly evolve if we want to achieve our goals and visions for the year 2030. R&D is always caught between high costs, the risk of failure, one's own limited horizon and the protection of company secrets. We are convinced that great results also require a certain openness, this is why we have been participating in international research communities of the glass industry (IPGR, AGTS and AGRAPSIP) for decades. In addition, we cooperate with universities, regional associations and public authorities in order to continuously improve ourselves. For us, innovation goes beyond technical development, also incorporating the development of new business models and digital processes.