BUSINESS: Suppliers Growing Green The Sustainability Journey Accelerates in Eyewear By Marge Axelrad and Gwendolyn Plummer Tuesday, May 24, 2022 2:00 AM RELATED CONTENT Eastman’s Initiatives Propel a Range of Sustainable Eyewear Plastics Eyewear Brands Center Sustainable Practices Burnt Hills Optical Works Sustainability Into Every Day Tasks Contact Lens Companies Amplify Their Sustainable Commitments Download a PDF of Growing Green.While sustainability and environmental concerns are not new, during the pandemic, people have become more sensitive to the environmental impact of their shopping decisions. In fact, much of the world’s recognition of the perils of climate change and accompanying social responsibility combined with shifting consumer priorities have led companies, executives, organizations and private citizens to dub this an era of a “global eco-awakening.” A recent Clarkston Consulting report put it this way, “2021 continued to shed more light on how consumers rely on companies to be held accountable and transparent regarding their sustainability practices. Consumers have always voted with their dollars, but they have begun to choose companies that reflect and represent strong social and environmental values.” Along with major national and regional optical retailers and a host of independent ECPs, participation is increasing as VMAIL continues to report in news, housed within VisionMonday.com’s Sustainability https://visionmonday.com/business/sustainability/ section and other reports at https://www.visionmonday.com/business/sustainability/article/sustainability-rising/. The focus of this special VM special feature is the demonstrable expansion of a number of companies and leaders involved in the production of eyewear—frames and sunglass companies in particular have been growing their own commitments to Green and to sustainable efforts in general. Similarly, spectacle lens makers, Rx laboratories and contact lens companies, too, have increased their activity. Overhauling their approach to how they lead employees, reengineer their facilities, and bring contributions and new processes to their own countries and regions, companies including EssilorLuxottica, Safilo, Modo, Marchon/VSP, Marcolin, Kering, LVMH/Thelios, Kenmark, L’Amy America, Inspecs, Tura, Morel, Mykita, ClearVision, De Rigo Group, Zyloware and brands like Article One, Genusee and literally dozens of others are now more firmly on the green journey forward. We highlight here just a sampling of what’s coming onstream in 2022. Eyewear and sunglass sourcing and supply can be complex but new technologies and approaches to design and product development are taking hold, and Eastman, in particular, has been at the center of many sustainable eyewear material programs. EssilorLuxottica’s Eyes on the Planet https://www.essilorluxottica.com/sustainability program is one prominent example, built on five pillars that address strategic sustainability themes. They include Carbon, for climate change; Circularity, for sustainable product and offering; World Sight, for responsibility to society; Inclusion, for its people and business partners; and Ethics, for fair and ethical practices within its value chain. In 2021, EssilorLuxottica committed to becoming carbon neutral in its direct operations in Europe by 2023 and worldwide by 2025. The company has already reached carbon neutrality in its two historic home countries of Italy and France. Elena Dimichino, head of sustainability, EssilorLuxottica, said, “It is no longer enough for companies to say they care about sustainability—we need to be walking the walk every day, together. From the raw materials to manufacturing to supply chain to our ethics and our commitment to our people and the communities we operate in. It’s a long journey, but one we’re very proud to take alongside others in the industry.” EssilorLuxottica hosted its first-ever virtual Sustainability Week last month, on the robust Leonardo learning platform. A series of virtual classrooms and live streams on sustainability were featured on topics such as tips for managing your practice in a sustainable way; how to address sustainability with customers; the value in choosing a sustainable partner; sustainable efforts of EssilorLuxottica; and the products in the EssilorLuxottica portfolio that are made using sustainable materials and practices. ECPs with access to Leonardo can learn from this content. VM’s sustainability coverage will continue as the year progresses.