Anne Cooper

When I was in high school, I had a book titled, “50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth.” It had been published a few years prior, and was a guidebook of sorts for those of us who were, or who were trying to be, environmentally minded. After the title was first released around Earth Day 1990, it soon became a bestseller, and has since been reissued numerous times in various iterations and translated into approximately 20 different languages. I recall that the book offered practical tips, giving guidance on actionable steps such as composting, recycling, and trying to use less gas.

As I look back with the welcomed gifts of perspective and time, I can see there are tips the book suggested more than 30 years ago that are still quite relevant, like separating out aluminum cans, glass, plastic, paper and cardboard for recycling. While it’s important for each of us to take steps such as these individually, as a family and within our communities, it feels now as though the stakes are higher, and that a movement that started decades ago is finally starting to get its due.

In our feature this month, “Growing Into Sustainability,” VM explores how consumer attitudes toward sustainability are now shifting, and how the optical market is responding. Research by experts such as Deloitte and Bain & Company point to the increasing influence a company’s sustainability practices have on consumer purchasing decisions. Harvard Business Review goes so far as to say we are nearing a sea change in patterns of consumer consumption, with sustainable practices expected to soon play a starring role in what consumers decide to buy.

It seems the message is clear—sustainable practices matter, not just for our planet, but also for the bottom line. This issue’s feature showcases how eyewear companies, labs, spectacle and contact lens makers are taking steps to incorporate greener practices into their day-to-day. I hope it plants the seeds for sustainability-minded practices now and into the future.