New York, August 4th, 2010 – What if you could help change the world by changing your eyeglasses?
Well over 100 million Americans wear prescription glasses, and even more wear sunglasses. Some of us have several pairs. But very few of us have stopped to think about how those millions of glasses add up to a big impact on the environment through the metal, plastic, glass and packaging needed to make and sell a pair of specs.
Alessandro Lanaro, CEO of MODO Eyewear, thought about it and set a goal of making a line of glasses that caused as little harm to the planet as possible. The result is eco (Earth Conscious Optics), the first collection of eyewear that fuses fashion and sustainability for everyone who wants to give back to the environment.
Today, eco has just taken another step on the road to sustainability by joining 1% for the Planet, a global network of companies who pledge 1% of sales – not profits – to environmental causes.
eco’s journey touched all aspects of the business.
“There’s no such thing as a 100 percent sustainable company,” says Lanaro. “We decided that we would not only reduce the footprint of making the product, but look for ways to offset the remaining footprint by giving something back.”
First, eco developed a manufacturing process using recycled steel and repurposed plastic to produce frames with a minimum 95 percent recycled content. They went through a rigorous process of having the manufacturing certified by UL Environment, a new program of Underwriters Laboratories, the world leader in product evaluation. eco is the first consumer brand to receive ULE’s approval, which certifies that the product’s green claims have been validated by an independent third party – “extremely important,” says Lanaro, “in a world where lots of products make sustainability claims they can’t verify.”
Next eco formed a partnership with Trees for the Future, a 1% for the Planet recipient non-profit, that helps communities around the world plant trees, to fight global warming and protects wildlife habitat. For every pair of frames sold, eco donates one tree to the Cameroon Reforestation Project, and expects to plant half a million trees in the West African nation this year.
Then eco looked at the packaging. The frames are shipped in packages made with 100 percent recycled paper, in a pouch of organic cotton. Inside the package is a return envelope for customers to donate their unwanted glasses, via eco, to One Sight, a nonprofit that matches the prescriptions to people in Africa and Southeast Asia who would otherwise not be able to afford corrected vision.
Still not satisfied, in July 2010 eco applied another high third party standard, this time to its giving, by becoming a member of 1% for the Planet, a worldwide network of businesses in 38 countries that give at least 1 % of their annual revenue environmental causes. 1% acts as a third party seal of approval, certifying member company donations each year and approving non-profits for funding.
“Giving a percentage of profits is one thing; a percentage of sales is another,” says Terry Kellogg, CEO of 1% for the Planet. “One is charity, the other is evidence that sustainability is at the center of your business philosophy. Alessandro and eco have gone to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate their environmental commitment, and we are proud to welcome them to the 1% family.”
But what about the glasses?
eco frames reflect the latest trends and styles in eyewear, with no compromise in quality , and at a surprisingly affordable price. By taking a lower profit margin on each pair, eco is able to offer its frames at just $129 to $149 – a price point that means they’re offered at both mass market retailers, at boutiques and department stores, making it possible for everyone to help change the world, just by changing your glasses.
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1% for the Planet