For the last several years, I have been lucky to be able to attend The Vision Council Sustainability Committee. This committee is fairly new, and it’s primary focus is to put together a community of labs to ‘reduce waste and improves energy efficiency while maintaing or improving service to the end customer. The solutions strive to be sustainable, reliable and cash flow positive or neutral. ‘ Translated, that means, they are putting together stories via white paper on how to reduce waste, save or make money, primarily focussed on labs but every member is encouraged to share their thoughts and what they have done to reduce, reuse and recycle.
I have been so impressed with what some of the members are doing. Carl Zeiss is very active in reducing waste in their lab in Tiajuana. They are looking to resell the Swarf, they have reduced cardboard waste, speaking with officials in TJ for reusing grey water. HOYA, made some great recommendation just on saving money for their customers on shipping costs (lowering carbon footprint and $$$). WalMart has made huge strides in recycling. Essilor has a paper on saving Water which is a huge global problem.
At the last meeting, we discussed parts recycling (make some $$$). Think about all that scrap metal that can be reused and or sold.
How does this effect eye care professionals? Think about it: if a lab can reduce their overall cost of goods, that means ultimate savings for you. If a lab can eco-eyez their operations, that saves you the consumer money overall, saves the environment, and it is good marketing fodder.. Best of all helps you compete with online retailers. Going green is not just good for the planet, it is good for the pocketbook.
As an FYI, there are many of The Vision Council member companies that are green in many ways:
- Companies such as Hilco who put up Solar Panels and was written up in their local newspaper.
- Companies such as WileyX– who moved and rebuilt their new headquarters to be LEED Certified. LEEDS certified is the ultimate in green building.
- Companies such as Zyloware who moved into an energy efficient building refitting lighting to LEDs and saving energy and money.
- Companies such as Vision-Ease Lens, who not only make much of their own products in the USA, they are also run on renewable energy.
- Even companies such as Kala, a member of The Vision Council who are making their frames in the USA.
- MODO Eyewear offers not only eyewear made with recycled materials, their ECO Friendly packaging is fantastic.
- Marchon is looking into more Eco Friendly packaging. Their first foray was the flat pack.
- Safilo has released some Eco Friendly Frames. Zeal Optics (division of Maui Jim) offers Eco Friendly Eyewear,
- Equipment companies such at AIT, Briot, Santinelli all offer water saving equipment.
For optical retailers, the same principles apply to you that apply to any of the above companies. We can all save, with switching to solar energy, using LED lights, putting in real plants, recycling and reusing products.
I am excited about this new committee and as it evolves, we will continue to post helpful hints on green and saving. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Vitale, The Vision Council’s Lens Division Liaison, at email@example.com.