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HomeminewsSafilo for People, Product and Planet

Safilo for People, Product and Planet

As the world’s second largest eyewear creator, with five design studios located in Padua, Milan, New York, Hong Kong and Portland, owned production facilities, and a network of qualified manufacturing partners, Safilo is very much aware of its impact on the global environment.

Angelo Trocchia, Group CEO at Safilo.

Angelo Trocchia, Group CEO at Safilo, says it’s with this in mind, that his company has established a long-term, comprehensive approach to sustainability, across three pillars: people, product, and planet.

Recently speaking with mivision while on a trip to Sydney, Mr Trocchia highlighted the “concrete” actions being taken by Safilo in Italy and right around the world, including at the company’s local Australian office.

Mr Trocchia’s personal commitment to consistently and arduously exploring new opportunities for sustainable practice was evident in his enthusiasm. Company-wide, the commitment is articulated in its 2020-2024 strategic plan, which states that “sustainability is the key strategy that sustains and drives purpose into every aspect of our business”. Furthermore, the strategic plan states that to Safilo, “Sustainability means, first and foremost, protecting the environment and using renewable resources and materials and greener production processes, but it also lies in our commitment to bringing our products into the world, and their impact on people and local territories”.

Such is the focus at Safilo that it has established a sustainability committee, headed by none other than the company Chairman.

PROTECTING THE PLANET

Protecting the planet by embracing new technologies – small and large – across its vast global network has been a key first move for Safilo.

“We’ve been taking action in our plants and offices throughout the world to reduce our footprint on the planet – to reduce consumption of water and chemical components in our manufacturing processes, to install more environmentally friendly lighting, to reduce packaging materials, and to use eco-friendly and recycled materials in the manufacturing of our frames and lenses,” explained Mr Trocchia adding, “We have introduced hybrid cars and have fully electric cars coming next.”

INNOVATING WITH PRODUCT

Under the pillar of product, Mr Trocchia said Safilo is also making solid progress by partnering with suppliers to explore new materials for both frames and lenses.

By partnering with Evonik, a global leader in specialty chemicals, a new sustainable material is already being used to manufacture premium lenses for use in the BOSS collection. Moving forward, Safilo is exploring a way to produce 3D-printed lenses on demand, which he says will save enormous resources.

Working with Eastman, Safilo is producing sunglass and optical frames under the Polaroid brand in sustainable resins known as Eastman Acetate Renew and Eastman Tritan Renew. Tommy Hilfiger eyewear is being produced from Econyl, an innovative material obtained by regenerating synthetic (nylon) waste such as fishing nets, carpets, and textiles; and bio-based plastic and recycled materials are being used to produce pouches and trade materials.

Additionally, Safilo has partnered with the not-for-profit Ocean Clean Up – which collects plastics floating in the ocean. These fine plastics are turned into tiny pallets which are then transformed into frames.

“If you’d asked me three years ago whether this process was achievable, I’d have said no way, but technology is moving fast. By working with external suppliers, our technical team has been able to come up with a viable solution to create frames from recycled materials that are equal in quality to those made from virgin materials,” Mr Trocchia said.

Aside from plastics, Safilo has been working to improve the way metals are used in the production of its eyewear. To protect employees, consumers and the environment, nickel-free finishing treatments have been implemented across all production lines in Italy that beat the strictest quality standards specified in current legislation. Additionally, Mr Trocchia reported that a strategic partnership with specialty chemicals company Coventya, has enabled Safilo to become the first player in the eyewear sector to exclusively use ‘Metal X’. This innovative product reduces the use of precious metals in galvanic treatments to produce optical frames and sunglasses by 90%.

The company is also committed to only sourcing precious materials, like gold and palladium, from ethical, certified suppliers of materials.

PEOPLE

Safilo’s third pillar for sustainability is ‘people’ and to this end, the company is investing in the growth and development of both its staff and the local communities where it operates.

Since 2003, Safilo has supported the Special Olympics, and through the Opening Eyes global prevention program, offers Special Olympics athletes eye examinations, glasses, and important information on eye care. Safilo’s employees take part in organising events on a voluntary basis, donating time and know-how to athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Additionally, the company supports the Save the Children Italia ‘Punti Luce’ network of high-intensity educational centres in Italy, where children and teenagers aged six to 16 can participate in a wide range of cultural, recreational, and sporting activities.

With companies around the world currently facing staffing shortages, Safilo’s focus on the sustainable development of people, product and planet is likely to become increasingly valuable when vying for strong talent to take the company forward.

“Countries are in different stages of maturity when it comes to demanding action on sustainability. Australia is in front, but we see this need growing up in Italy and in other geographies – when we interview graduates from universities, they want to understand Safilo, and what we stand for.

“As a company we need to be more than just product – we need to be a company that has values, we want people to be able to identify with our authenticity.

“We’re being really clear on the three areas in which we’re working – it’s a journey and while we will keep adding activities, we will always be consistent on these three dimensions.

“The important thing is not to think that we can turn the dial and say we’ve done it. We have to keep exploring new possibilities. We have a structured plan across our three key areas of people, product, and planet, we have dedicated resources, and a strong internal technical team, but consistency is most important – as we keep working, more ideas will keep coming.”