Sustainability Gains Traction in Optical Industry: VM's Cover Topic

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NEW YORK—In this year like no other, the topic of sustainability is gaining ground in the optical industry. As individuals, families, companies and businesses large and small start to reprioritize as a result of new examples of climate change, economic challenges, social causes and the pandemic, there is more concern about companies' and brands' approach to the matter. In VM's November issue, the cover topic explores some of the latest findings about consumers' changing attitudes towards the subject.

In a study released this spring in association with The National Retail Federation (NRF) and the IBM Institute for Business Value, the authors wrote, “Sustainability has reached a tipping point. As consumers increasingly embrace social causes, they seek products and brands that align with their values. Nearly six in 10 consumers surveyed are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. Nearly eight in 10 respondents indicate sustainability is important for them. And for those who say it is very/extremely important, over 70 percent would pay a premium of 35 percent, on average, for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible."

Old stereotypic ideas about what types of consumers are concerned about these matters are moving on. Sustainability priorities transcend age, new studies validate. While Millennials may be leading the charge in sustainability awareness, every age group indicates that sustainability, environmental, and/or personal wellness attributes are significant considerations in selecting brands.

While Gen Z cites health and wellness as their top priority, clean products are most important for the other groups. Interestingly, natural/organic attributes are of lower importance across age groups.

More from the new 11th Annual PwC/Consumer Insights Report 2020: The Consumer is Transformed. “The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the pace of behavioral changes around the world—how people work, eat, communicate, play and learn. And this extends to consumption patterns, too, in every category."

Within the optical and eyewear sector, there is a crescendo of new developments spanning recycling efforts at contact lens companies, laboratories, and eyewear/sunwear product manufacturers. Read about it in Vision Monday's cover topic this month here.