For eyewear, circular fashion starts at the source

by John Stapel

This article is sponsored by Eastman.

Consumer demand for sustainable fashion products continues to grow. According to research by sustainability marketing expert Shelton Group, 42 percent say buying green products is tied to their identity. In fact, 26 percent can name, unaided, a brand or product they’ve purchased — or not — because of the environmental or social record of the manufacturer.

What makes fashion green has everything to do with what it’s made from, according to Eastman’s research. Because eyewear crosses the boundary between fashion and functionality, inputs are critical. The inputs must be durable to ensure the longevity of the final product while minimizing environmental impacts of unsustainable farming, logging and extraction as well as water pollution.

Previously, transitioning to sustainable inputs — including recycled content and biobased content — was a costly endeavor out of reach for most brands. Whether you are handcrafting a pair of luxury frames from acetate sheet or injection molding frames for a broader audience, you have access to sustainable materials thanks to new recycling technologies.

However, because the eyewear industry lags behind others in laying out guidelines for how materials should be used, recycled and discarded, recycled content claims are often made with little data to back them up.

Beware greenwashing

Eastman insists that its value chains be third-party certified to assure recycling processes are verified and consumer messaging is backed by credible data. Our company and our partners work with the ISCC PLUS international certification standard for sustainable and traceable supply chains, to ensure accuracy in the materials we use to make our products. This third-party certification provides transparency to track certified recycled content through critical points in the value chain, allowing brands to make claims with meaning.

Learning from industry peers

Helping consumers make informed choices about sustainable eyewear is not an effort any company can take on alone. Driving the industry toward standards and guidelines surrounding sustainability claims will take collaboration across the industry and beyond. Partners that you have never before considered, including startups, material producers and nongovernmental organizations, could be the answer to moving the industry forward if companies are willing to look.

White surface with plastic parts of eyeglasses laid out

Find out more about the collaborations key to our journey to sustainable eyewear by joining Eastman and two leading eyewear companies as they discuss converting their entire portfolios to sustainable materials. This hour-long webcast will highlight:

  • Recent consumer research about expectations towards sustainable fashion accessories
  • Ways members across value chains can join forces to lead the way towards a full switch to sustainable portfolio in an effective manner
  • Key learnings and best practices from two leading eyewear companies on how they quickly and successfully adopted sustainable materials
  • How to build an effective message about sustainable materials and molecular recycling to get buy in from internal stakeholders and consumers

Click here to watch the webcast.