You might be thinking: a sunglasses brand committed to sustainability? What does that even mean? We pledged early on to be a business that contributed to the betterment of our planet even before we had a business plan (we never had one of those anyway) and before we designed sunglasses.
Today, we want to let you in on what we mean by being a sustainable sunglasses brand, and why saving the planet is so important to us. Read on to understand how we are doing out part, from how we make our shades to how we give back.
What is sustainability at Sunski, and why is it important?
Recycled plastic frames
When Sunski first started, a sustainable frame material wasn’t available that didn’t sacrifice on flexibility, comfort, or durability. Our goal was simple: develop a sustainable frame material that was indiscernible from the original Sunskis that our customers have come to know and love. So we invented a way to turn post-industrial scrap plastic from the United States into sunglasses frames—our very own recycled frame material. It is unique in the sunglasses industry.
Our forever warranty
Our lifetime warranty is an important part of our sustainability because it helps to extend the lifespan of our sunglasses.
In addition to being lightweight and flexible, our recycled frame material is also incredibly durable. That’s why we feel confident in standing behind all of our products with a lifetime warranty. If your shades break (and they shouldn’t!) then we’ll try to repair them. If they can’t be repaired, we will replace them. We strive to fix as many sunglasses as possible.
Another way we strive to keep sunglasses out of the landfill is by offering replacement lenses. If your Sunski lenses scratch, you can head to the Sunski site to pick up a replacement set of lenses. Rather than throwing away a perfectly good pair of shades, you can give that frame a longer life with a fresh set of lenses. Once you’ve received them, just pop them in and voila! Brand spankin’ just-like-new shades.
We get questions sometimes from customers asking us if they can recycle their old lenses or frames. At this time, the lenses unfortunately can’t be recycled. Our lenses have multiple layers of different kinds of plastic that are fused together for optimal eye protection, and many recycling facilities will not be able to process them. The same goes with the frames: since they have metal hinges and paint on the plastic frames, recycling facilities won’t be able to properly sort them.
The lifecycle of our products is important to us. We hope one day to find a way to make our sunglasses recyclable. Like us, our sustainability initiatives are a work in progress.
1% for the Planet
We believe that companies have a responsibility to make the world a better place. That’s why Sunski has been a proud member of 1% for the Planet since day one. As part of our membership, Sunski donates one percent of our sales to environmental non-profits. With every Sunski purchase, our customers directly contribute to incredible charities working to protect our environment. Together, we’ve contributed more than $100,000 to non profits like Save the Waves, the Conservation Alliance and Adventure Scientists, to name a few.
Belonging to this community that cares about the planet connects our products to our mission. Not only have we been inspired by other brands and other member organizations, we are also humbled to know that we have been able to inspire others to take on the pledge. As 1% for the Planet’s co-founder, Yvon Chouinard has said: “this is the only way to do business.” To date, 1% for the Planet has raised more than $225 million for the environment. We are excited to see the 1% for the Planet community continue to grow and offer inspiration worldwide.
Our Climate Neutral commitment
Our journey to greater sustainability doesn’t end with our product or our dollar commitment, it continues with an audit of our manufacturing process, supply chain and product lifecycle to make sure we’re minimizing our impact then offsetting the rest.
In 2020, this dream became a reality. We’re partnering with Climate Neutral, an independent non-profit organization, to measure, reduce and offset our carbon footprint. Carbon offsets are investment projects that either prevent carbon from being emitted, like renewable energy, or remove carbon from the atmosphere, like planting trees.
So what does Sunski’s carbon neutral sustainability initiative entail, and how are we doing it? We asked the same questions last year when we knew we wanted to take this on, but had no idea how. Luckily, Climate Neutral has the system of measuring our carbon footprint figured out. We just had to do some of the dirty work to understand where we were emitting.
Measuring our emissions
Emissions are grouped into three categories called “scopes.” Scope 1 emissions are related to direct emissions, those that we own and control. Scope 2 emissions are related to indirect emissions, like purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling. Scope 3 emissions are another layer of indirect emissions occurring in the value chain associated with the production and consumption of our product, like purchasing of materials or shipping and delivery. To say the least, we had no experience in tracking this, so it was quite the doozy, but totally worth it, of course.
Once we measure and offset our carbon emissions, we can have a better idea of where we can reduce them. We’re still understanding the best way to do this, but we already know that team travel is a good place to start reducing our emissions.
Doing our part to save the planet
Our dirt road path to sustainability is really what inspires us to keep doing what we do. We believe that any company, big or small (like us!) is able to do the right thing for the planet no matter what. Sometimes, it’s just about getting the word out that it’s possible, and other times it’s about your actions. We’re there for it all, and we hope you stick around to follow us on our journey to greater sustainability.
Now that you’ve learned more about our sustainability, check out our recycled sunglasses in action! View our polarized sport sunglasses, round sunglasses and wayfarer sunglasses collections. Or check out our complete collection of sustainable sunglasses.