Our story is not simply a history of insulation or building supplies, or even the dates of inventions and buildings: It’s an intricate tale of innovation and growth spurred by reinvention, curiosity, and strong partnerships built over decades.
Our roots reach back to an 1800s lab experiment that, through an unexpected twist, produced mineral wool insulation. This set off a wave of innovation for what would in time become the insulation industry we lead today. Over the decades that followed, we experimented with glass, partnering with organizations along the way to develop new applications and production methods for our innovative products.
At the turn of the 20th century, glass manufacturing was focused on containers. By the 1920s, Owens Bottle Machine Company had a strong foothold in bottling. However, the advent of U.S. Prohibition and the Great Depression brought a series of challenges that drove the exploration of glass’s other capabilities. Experiments with glass fibers led to products such as glass block and, notably, the first glass mineral wool insulation. This convergence of glass and insulation led two of America’s then-leading glassworks companies, Corning Glass Works and Owens-Illinois, to form a partnership in 1935 to share knowledge and costs to explore fiberglass developments. The partnership produced a variety of new materials, processes, and applications in glass and insulation, and in 1938, the Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation was officially formed.
The company, which became known simply as Owens Corning, continued to innovate and form partnerships to expand and strengthen our capabilities in the years that followed. As we found new uses for our materials, we launched our roofing and asphalt business in the 1960s and composites in the 1990s. Other businesses were created and divested as we grew. We survived a hostile takeover attempt in the 1980s, supported global architectural feats throughout the 1900s and 2000s, and have consistently earned numerous awards and distinctions for safety, sustainability, corporate leadership, and product quality.
Our team has grown to more than 19,000 people in over 30 countries around the world, and we have pioneered processes and materials while driving new opportunities and industries for Owens Corning and global manufacturing. Through it all, we have consistently shown a strong commitment to building a sustainable future through material innovation in a way that builds a better future for our customers, suppliers, employees, and world.
Together, our Mission, Purpose and Values are the foundation of our unique culture and guide the way we live and work locally and globally. They describe what we do, why we do it, and who we are - it is the essence of our commitment to our customers, shareholders, partners and each other.
Our mission provides focus to ensure that employees at all levels of our company have a clear understanding of the businesses we’re in (and aren’t in) – both today and into the foreseeable future.
The phrase “to build a sustainable future through material innovation” leverages the dual meaning of several terms. “Build” refers to the literal application of our products as well as the future we are building. “Sustainable” references both the enduring and responsible meanings of the word to describe our future-oriented activities. And “material” speaks to both the importance of our innovation efforts, as well as the manner in which we literally innovate materials to create valued product solutions.
Our purpose is our company’s reason for existence. It reflects our heritage and explains the “why” driving our journey as a company. As our guiding star, our purpose is inherently aspirational.
Perhaps no words describe the essence of our company more accurately than “our people and products make the world a better place.” This speaks to what drives our day-to-day activities as well as the higher purpose that propels us – professionally and personally. This phrase is intentionally broad in nature to enable every one of our employees to see themselves within it and be proud to contribute to it.
Our company values describe who we are through the lenses of what we believe and how we behave. Our values serve as our behavioral compass and are non-negotiable; they establish a set of fundamental, strategically sound, and unwavering beliefs that are applicable across the enterprise.
Owens Corning employs the phrase “global in scope, human in scale” to describe the positive duality of an enterprise that is present with resources in markets across the globe while maintaining a personal nature – 19,000 people working together – that makes our company so special. Accompanying this statement are four key characteristics that describe who we are: caring, curious, collaborative, and committed.