Annual Report 2020

2.6 End-of-product lifecycles

Although eyeglass frames and sunglasses have long lifecycles and are replaced every two to three years, we find ways to extend their usage to create more purpose and reduce environmental impact. We also contribute to shaping better consumption patterns and provide donations to help people in need.

Our GrandVision retail brands in seven countries currently offer second-life programs throughout their networks and collaborate with NGOs to collect and donate secondhand eyewear to communities in need. And an additional four countries are planning to introduce a second-life program in 2021 in their markets.

In cases where we can't sell all our inventory, we need to dispose of obsolete, high-quality products. We donate as many of these as possible to NGOs and research or educational institutions to help people who can't afford corrective eyewear, or to help students and researchers advance their studies.

You can read more about these collaborations and donations in Section 'Giving back to our communities and reducing environmental impact' in this report.

Contact lenses: A surprising source of pollution

Did you know that billions of contact lenses are not properly disposed of and add to the plastics pollution problem we currently face? According to research from Arizona State University, Americans alone flush nearly 2.9 billion contact lenses down the drain every year. This is why 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 102 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 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 continue to launch them in other markets.