Sustainability in the Eyewear Industry

Sustainability In The Eyewear Industry

How the Eyewear Industry Is Taking Steps Towards Sustainability


As environmental consciousness among consumers grows, industries are increasingly finding ways to make products and manufacturing processes more sustainable. In a previous post,  we discussed a few ways that the beauty industry can mitigate its environmental impact through sustainable sourcing, eco-friendly packaging, and energy-efficient manufacturing. Similarly, the eyewear sector has been proving its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

From pioneering plant-based materials to driving material traceability in its supply chains, eyewear brands are making significant strides toward a greener future. Here are some of the initiatives propelling change within the industry –

Setting Product Sustainability Standards


Since 2019, MIDO, the foremost international eyewear exhibition held annually in Milan, has been championing greener eyewear with its Certified Sustainable Eyewear (CSE) Award. Brought to a panel of judges, exhibitors can nominate glasses and cases to be judged in compliance with the principles of sustainability. Some of these criteria include the use of recycled materials, reduced consumption in the production and distribution processes, maximization of the supply chain, elimination of waste, and more.

During this year’s exhibition, the Italian Association of Optical Goods Manufacturers (ANFAO), in collaboration with CERTOTTICA, announced the launch of a broader CSE program. Rather than a few brands receiving a CSE Award, the new sustainability certification program encourages all eyewear companies to strive to meet product sustainability standards, with the aim of improving the environmental impact of the sector as a whole.  

Recycled and Bio-based Materials


The push for circular solutions in the eyewear industry has also prompted several brands to opt for eco-friendly materials. For instance, in 2020, Marchon Eyewear partnered with Eastman, a specialty materials company focusing on molecularly recycled material made from hard-to-recycle mixed plastics. The partnership led to the release of a range of products made with Eastman’s Acetate Renew recycled plastics. More brands soon followed suit, with the aim to reduce the 5,000 metric tons per year of waste produced globally by manufacturing demo lenses.

Eyebuydirect, a leading eyewear retailer that offers glasses online, is another trailblazer that’s keeping sustainability top of mind. In 2023, the brand expanded its collection of eco-friendly eyewear made from renewable, recyclable, and bio-based materials. All frames in the collection are uniquely crafted from injected plastic materials, with 45% bio-based raw material sourced from castor oil.

Additionally, for its 5 TO SEE collection, the brand uses five recycled plastic bottles to create one frame. A portion of 5 TO SEE proceeds are donated each year through 1% for the Planet, a global network of organizations tackling environmental issues. In September 2023 alone, the brand donated $15,000 to the cause. 

Sustainable Sourcing and Manufacturing


Meanwhile, Kering Eyewear, a luxury eyewear retailer,  has been zeroing in on reducing its environmental footprint by making its production processes more transparent and sustainable. Last year, the company hosted its annual Sustainability Day, attended by its Italian key supply chain partners to present its ambitious sustainability goals.

Key among these goals are efforts to reduce consumption, empower people, and foster innovation through effective solutions and resolutions at every level of its supply chain. Aligning with the company’s Crafting Tomorrow’s Luxury strategy, the group is also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by -40% by 2035 on a 2021 baseline, covering all the scopes of the greenhouse gas protocol. 

As the world increasingly moves toward environmentally-friendly practices, the eyewear industry stands at the forefront of innovation and change, making significant strides to minimize its carbon footprint. While challenges remain, the collective efforts of these companies signal a promising shift to a more sustainable future.

To stay updated on the latest industry news and trends in sustainability, visit the Green City Times website!