Our mission to bring more sustainable products and services to customers
As the world’s leading optical retailer with 30+ brands operating in 40+ countries, GrandVision’s presence is big. And we are aware of our footprint regarding carbon emissions, resource use and waste creation. As part of our GrandVision Cares strategy (and in this case, related to the second pillar “Our product value chain”), it is our responsibility to bring positive change to people and the planet by creating a balance between our business activities and their societal and environmental impacts. As we recently celebrated Earth Day 2021 across GrandVision, we reflect on the choices we have made to roll out more sustainable products and responsible services to our customers in the last year.
Our sustainable eyewear evolution with DbyD
DbyD, one of the seven brands in our Exclusive Brand portfolio, is becoming our own pioneer brand in entering the sustainable product space.
“As part of our integrated CSR strategy, we chose to develop DbyD, which drives up to a third of our Exclusive Brands business, towards a sustainable in-house brand,” says Darina Elencheva, GrandVision Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. “DbyD will act as a spearhead and enabler for further sustainable initiatives in our portfolio.”
As of January 2021, 64% of our DbyD optical collection and 100% of our DbyD sunglass collection are made of sustainable materials.
Our DbyD team also developed related initiatives, including:
- The launch of two DbyD product lines made from recycled waste across 15 markets. They were created in collaboration with Envision Plastics and use ocean-bound plastics. Envision Plastics is a leading recycler of HDPE plastics and supplier of innovative Post Consumer Resin (PCR) solutions. Established in 2001, and part of Consolidated Container Company, Envision has produced nearly 1 billion pounds of recycled resin.
- A partnership with renowned Italian manufacturer Mazzucchelli, the world leader in bio-acetate production, to introduce optical and sunglass collections made with M49, a bio-acetate that is responsibly sourced and biodegradable. This line of more responsibly produced products was available across 20 GrandVision markets by the end of 2020.
Our goal is to transform DbyD into a 100% sustainability-driven brand by 2025.
Selling brands we believe in: Karün Eyewear
In March 2021, we announced our exclusive partnership with Karün Eyewear, a brand consciously developed in Patagonia that strives to build its value chain under a circular, restorative and regenerative model.
Karün’s proposition is a special one: It offers long-lasting eyewear that uses repurposed materials, recovers them for recycling at the end of its useful life and creates value for rural entrepreneurs to protect over 400.000 hectares of pristine nature in Patagonia, all of that under Karün Conscious Development Model ™.
Our partnership with Karün aligns with our efforts to work with brands that focus on fairness and transparency in supply chains, the reduction of climate impact and contributing to communities in need.
The brand has launched a sustainable collection developed in collaboration with actress and environmental activist Shailene Woodley, available exclusively in GrandVision stores around the world. As of March 2021, Karün Eyewear is available in more than 1,100 GrandVision stores in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Chile and Argentina.
"We hear a lot of words like sustainability and eco-friendliness, especially in my world of acting and fashion. But you see much less that companies and brands actually take the steps they proclaim," says Woodley. "We have a unique opportunity to lay the groundwork for younger generations and companies to think about the way we do business. With this collection, we prove that fashion can be used as a means of both self-expression and living in harmony with nature and its communities.”
Reducing packaging waste with iWear Slim
We are also working to improve our product packaging to reduce our waste creation impact. In 2020, our Exclusive Brand contact lens team partnered with strategic suppliers to create more sustainable contact lens line iWear Slim. This line’s packaging uses less plastic and aluminum, and take up less volume. And the iWear Slim box is made using recycled molds from our contact lens production process. Customers in 10 GrandVision markets could purchase this product in 2020.
Introducing contact lens recycling at GrandVision stores
On a similar note, in 2020, we focused on the contact lens end-of-product lifecycle. In September, we launched a contact lens recycling program in our Danish retail brand Synoptik, called GenSyn. It's a collaboration with lensmaker CooperVision and corporate recycling company TerraCycle. The program allows all contact lens wearers, even if they are not Synoptik customers, to dispose of their contact lenses and packaging at any of the 100+ Synoptik store locations with dedicated recycling receptacles.
In the first three months of the program, we collected 46kg of waste. For every half-kilogram of contact lens waste Synoptik collects, it donates EUR 1.50 to Dansk Naturfredningsforening, the Danish Society for Nature Conservation.
Additionally, Synoptik stores in Denmark and Sweden have saved more than 54,000 unused packs of contact lenses from waste streams. When changing their prescription subscriptions, customers sometimes end up with unused, unpacked boxes of contact lenses. Now they can return these to our Synoptik stores and our colleagues check if the lenses and their packaging are intact. If they are unused and in perfect condition, Synoptik sends them to other Danish and Swedish contact lens subscribers with the same vision corrections.
In 2021, we will continue to measure the progress of these successful programs as well as to launch them in other markets.
Continuing our sustainable product journey into the future
GrandVision is committed to our ambition to grow as a responsible corporate citizen and align our impact with global sustainable development issues and agendas. Enhancing the sustainability of our Exclusive Brand products and Non-Exclusive Brand products we sell in our stores, as well as services we offer, is in-line with this ambition. In this way, we are one step closer to creating a balance between our business activities and their environmental impact.