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KUWAIT - Industry

Sheikh Ali Fawaz Al Sabah

CEO, Gulf Glass Manufacturing Company


Sheikh Ali Fawaz Al Sabah is the CEO of Gulf Glass Manufacturing Company & Chairman of Jassim Transport and Stevedoring Company. He also holds the position of Chairman of the Basel Club. He is a member of the board of directors of Nafais Company and used to work as the general manager for Rihana Company. He is a professional executive with experience in entrepreneurship, investments, and industrial production. He is a member of the Kuwaiti royal family.

"Initially, this was a government-owned company that was privatized in the 1980s."
More than just banking on success alone, Gulf Glass Manufacturing Company also works hard to make its processes increasingly sustainable with every passing year to do its part for the environment.
What is the story behind the Gulf Glass Manufacturing Company?

Initially, this was a government-owned company that was privatized in the 1980s. Our expertise lies in manufacturing and exporting food and beverage packaging. Thanks to the strategic geographical location of Kuwait, great access to ports, and efficient logistics network, we have been very successful in the region. We are a net exporter, exporting over 87% of our production all around the GCC and the MENA region, North Africa, Southern and Eastern Europe, and even to Singapore. I believe we are currently one of the biggest and definitely one of the most prominent glass producers in the region.

Considering the efforts to diversify the economic strength of the country, how can a net exporter such as Gulf Glass contribute to Kuwait Vision 2035?

Sometimes people do not realize that finding a solution to a problem may be much easier than expected. If we take a look at the calculation of the GDP, we have to take into account our income, budget, consumption rate, and exported value. If you import more than you produce, your GDP goes down, whereas if you produce more than you consume and export the excess, your GDP will grow. Therefore, net exporters are essential to empowering economic production. If we look at this from the perspective of diversification and consider the ways in which Kuwait’s economy could diversify, I believe glass manufacturing can be one of the strongest points to rely upon. Our geographical localization is made for export and trade. Kuwait lies at the crossroads between the three major continents, which is why logistically we have an advantage. Not only can we leverage this to facilitate trade for other countries, but we can also greatly enhance our GDP by exporting more and empowering companies like Gulf Glass Manufacturing Co. to increase production. Pre-oil Kuwait was an economic giant in the region relying on trading and logistics. I believe it could re-establish itself again as such if our leaders would decide to invest back in Kuwait’s true economic prowess and become a trading and logistics hub it used to be.

What is the company’s strategy in terms of sustainable solutions and efficiency?

Glass is one of the few materials in the world that can be fully and infinitely recycled. Our ratio of recycling is literally 1:1. This, in itself, is a huge sustainability advantage. Moreover, our company has been following the directives within the glass industry regarding lowering our carbon footprint and mitigating the environmental impact of our furnaces and forehearths. Gulf Glass is the first in the country, and maybe the only factory currently using fully electric forehearths and hybrid furnaces, which work on natural gas boosted by electricity. If we look at the UN’s directives, the glass industry is highlighted as the most environmentally friendly out of the heavy industries. Without a doubt, thanks to the fully recyclable material and progressing improvements, we will play a major part in creating a greener future for the local economy.

What strategies and technological tools is the company using to improve its operations?

We are progressively introducing more automation into our processes. We call it Industry 4.0, and by implementing highly automated equipment and streamlining processes, we are able to increase production and minimize energy consumption and raw material use. We intend for our process to be fully automated from start to finish. So far, automating the machines has allowed us to save 35% of our energy and raw material consumption on a yearly basis. And that’s just the beginning. Our work is regulated by local, regional, and international organizations, so we really put a lot of effort into making our processes increasingly sustainable with each passing year. In Kuwait alone, the emphasis placed on environmental responsibility is significant. We are constantly reminded and empowered to improve our work and reduce our company’s impact on the local climate.



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