Sisecam’s Prof Dr Ahmet Kirman received the Phoenix Glass Person of the Year award at a glittering ceremony on Friday night.
Prof Kirman was the 51st recipient of the award, which highlights those who have made a substantial contribution to the glass industry in their career.
At the event in Lake Como, Italy, Prof Kirman told the approximately 150 guests that it was a tremendous honour to receive the award.
During his acceptance speech he called on the glass industry to play a leading role in what he described as the three critical issues facing the world today – income distribution, the environment, and increasing the number of females in the workplace.
“The biggest issue facing the world is unequal income distribution which is on the verge of becoming uncorrectable,” he said.
“In addition, the unequal distribution of income by the rapidly increasing world’s population is causing the problem to become chronic.”
He said spend on glass industry workers has increased to $60 million, up about 30% over the last 15 years
“Providing better economic conditions is also a must for the future liability of the industry.
“We should adopt a more constructive and conclusive approach that can reach not only our shareholders but also our employees. We must go beyond explaining everything with cost, EBIT and EBITA and step up our efforts to correct the income distribution within the glass eco system.”
He called on the glass industry to collaborate and share its wisdom in its sustainability efforts.
“We must not overlook the fact that although we manufacture a product that can be recycled endlessly, our operations create a sufficient environmental impact that must be reduced.
“We need to leverage shared wisdom to address these issues. This is an important opportunity that requires working together. In addition to the individual efforts the glass industry is large and effective enough to play a major role in addressing these issues.”
He added: “We must create shared wisdom, free from the desire for profit and focused on collaboration rather than competition. We all know that there is more than one way to achieve this so we have to make an effort to lead.”
Touching on the theme of women in the workplace, he said the female employment rate in the glass world is 23% and that there was much to be done in this regard.
“Critical issues such as these require rising above day to day concerns and developments with future plans and understanding that go beyond today. I hope humanity is up to the task.”
He thanked banquet chairperson Dr Diane Nicklas and Sisecam's Selma Öner and Arzu Ozcan for their work to organise the event.
Earlier in the evening Phoenix Chairman, Lincoln Brown had introduced Prof Kirman and described Sisecam’s achievements in the glass industry under his leadership.
This has included the opening of Europe's largest glass R&D centre in Istanbul, Turkey, its Care for Next sustainability strategy, the One Sisecam initiative to combine five publicly traded companies into one entity and a digital infrastructure transformation.
In addition into expansion in glass manufacturing, Pro Kirman has also guided the Istanbul-headquartered company into other areas of the glass industry such as in refractories production and into a top two position in soda ash manufacturing.
"Through the use of technologies, continuous research and an unwavering commitment to quality, Sisecam has pushed the boundaries of what is possible and this has enabled the company to become a global leader in al sectors of the glass industry.
"I cannot think of any other company which has manufacturing facilities in all the disciplines of the glass sector," said Mr Brown.
On handing the award Mr Brown said: "Prof Kirman’s achievements in the glass industry are a testament to the power of curiosity, innovation and an unwavering dedication of a truly magnificent leader.
"His pioneering spirit has not only elevated our wonderful industry but it will also leave an indelible mark upon the world."