First eyewear sustainability certification program

Created, registered, and promoted by ANFAO and Certottica

A matter that is increasingly at the center of global attention is sustainability. In fact, the market is moving toward greater consumer awareness of eco-friendly issues, which often also influences their consumption choices. According to several researchers, 47% of consumers consider it essential to pay attention to the eco-sustainability of their favorite fashion brands, while 83% believe that the design of a product should reduce its environmental impact. This led to the conviction that companies that pursue good sustainability strategies should also be clearly recognized as sustainable by means of a trustworthy label. Precisely in this respect, ANFAO presented the Certified Sustainable Eyewear label at Mido 2024 for the first time.

Certified Sustainable Eyewear (CSE) is the first product sustainability certification program for the eyewear industry. It was created, registered, and promoted by ANFAO, the Italian Association of Optical Goods Manufacturers, in collaboration with Certottica.

According to the organizations, this certificate is destined to become the new product sustainability standard for the eyewear industry, certifying glasses and their components: frame fronts, temples, lenses, small metal and plastic parts. It is possible to certify both individual components and the finished product.

Improving sustainable performance

The new label should help all companies that already operate in accordance with the concepts of transparency and sustainability, to certify in an official and voluntary manner. The purpose of the CSE label is to promote the demand for and supply of those products and services that cause least harm to the environment, thus helping to stimulate a market-driven process of continuous environmental improvement, using the communication of verifiable and accurate information, which is not misleading. Through the CSE process, everyone will know how, when and where each product is made, and the label offers a benefit to customers who want to make responsible choices. 

Entire life cycle of the product is taken into account

After a preliminary study, which ANFAO, Studio Fieschi and Certottica collaborated on with members of the Association’s Technical Committee, the program was pilot tested on five eyewear companies, different in type and size, after which the project was approved.

The certification identifies the most sustainable products, it is voluntary and based on DIN ISO 14020 and DIN ISO 14024 standards. It is open to all eyewear companies, both Italian and international, who will apply for the program.

The CSE label will be issued based on a number of industry-specific assessment criteria that take into account the entire life cycle of the product (resource extraction, raw materials, production, distribution, use and disposal).

The assessment will take into consideration environmental, social, economic, and technological factors, and these criteria will be updated on a regular basis, according to technological advances and market requirements. The general rules and criteria are based on ISO 1402 “Environmental Labelling”, with three years of validity and three levels of label.

Three levels of certification

For each of the categories eligible for the CSE certification program, specific evaluation criteria have been selected on a scientific basis. The criteria are selective and quantified and include threshold values whose fulfillment is verified for the award of certification. Based on the score achieved, one can obtain the CSE label of one of the program’s three levels.

  • For the Gold label, companies need to achieve the gold level on at least 80% of the criteria.
  • For the Silver label, companies need to achieve the gold or silver level on at least 80% of criteria.
  • For the Bronze label, companies need achieve gold, silver or bronze on at least 80% of the criteria.

The three-level certification system makes CSE certification accessible to a larger number of companies and rewards excellence in sustainability. The criteria are updated periodically according to technological development and market needs.

Spectacle lenses

The technical criteria for lenses include for example the following:

  • Criterion 1 Resource extraction: Percentage of material of biogenic origin in the prevailing material
  • Criterion 2 Production: Minimization and sustainable management of processing residues, production process waste
  • Criterion 3 Recycling (chemical or mechanical) of off-cuts
  • Criterion 4 Average water consumption per lens produced
  • Criterion 5 Average energy consumption (kWh) per lens produced
  • Criterion 6 Use of electricity from renewable sources for production
  • Criterion 7 Distance travelled by direct suppliers
  • Criterion 8 Compliance with conventions and commitments to respect human rights and the environment along the supply chain
  • Criterion 9 Distribution: Percentage of recycled material in packaging
  • Criterion 10 FSC/PEFC certifications for packaging (applies only to packaging containing paper, wood and cork)
  • Criterion 11 Recyclability of packaging
  • Criterion 12 Use: Responsible use of potentially hazardous substances
  • Criterion 13 Disposal: Recyclability of end-of-life lenses

Compliance with the criteria is to be monitored. For example, due to annual checks during the period of validity. So far, the evaluation process of ten producers is in progress. As soon as the evaluation is completed, the first labels will be awarded.

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