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As millennial children get deeper into the best phase of their career, India begins to change. The new aspirational India is beginning to practise in part the western culture of living in the present. A lot of Indians having travelled and seen the rest of the world want to shore up their residences and their mid-sized offices with aesthetically appealing splendour. This generation is also concerned about global issues, including climate change.
Some of these are finding expression in a large factory located on the Chennai-Bangalore Highway. The city’s pride, French major Saint-Gobain Glass, has its state-of-the-art glass plants here. The company’s concern for the surrounding community as also for ecology has endeared it to the local population. On 28 January 2019 the company inaugurated its third float-glass plant in its World Glass Complex at Sriperumbudur by TN Chief Minister
E Palaniswami.


As high-rise buildings begin to dot the urban skyline, concrete is fast going out of fashion. After all, walls add weight, curtail space and restrict creativity. Glass is the new concrete. Its weight reduction capability is immense. Plus there is the seamless entry of natural light that offers the place a spacious look. Sunlight generates less heat compared to artificial lighting and leads to cost saving of about 40 per cent. Glass as a fire-resistant wall can withstand fire for 120 minutes. It can be toughened to make room partitions, strengthened to face seismic pressures and provide for excellent acoustics. Unlike concrete buildings that crumble to rubbles during an earthquake, glass buildings suffer just a few minor cracks. These are finding resonance with the young.
Saint-Gobain has constantly kept the innovation bell ringing. There have been continuous investments in not just glass manufacturing capabilities but also in a wide range of other building materials like gypsum boards, plaster boards, abrasives… The company has set high standards in manufacturing processes, energy efficiency, ecology, sustainability and HR practices with deep social concerns. It continually works on improved handling, packaging and transportation. Half of the glasses of various sizes is today shipped out naked saving precious wood, plastics and steel. Can you really imagine that!
SGIPL’s social concerns deserve mention. It picks school drop outs from the peripheries and puts them through a four-year course in machine technology on a learn while-you-earn model. These boys from disadvantaged socio-economic background get the opportunity to work in a world-class organisation and with handsome salaries.
SGIPL is a model for emulation: it makes great use of its vast roof areas for harvesting rain water and for generating power by placing SPV cells over the roof. Through these it has substantially reduced purchase of water and power.
In continuation of this ecological concern, SGIPL has created a thick rain forest to reduce the mean temperature of the factory by a couple of degrees.
A socially-conscious citizen.

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