In this interview Camilla Costaguta, the Group's Chief Marketing Officer, describes her company's responsible approach to protecting the environment and improving people's lives.
How is your group tackling the subject of sustainability at corporate level?
In the eyewear sector - but also in the fashion and luxury segments in general - sustainability and caring for the environment are no longer an option. The aim is clear: include environmental and social considerations in the business strategy, in processes and products with the aim of generating value for all stakeholders from a long-term perspective.
For Safilo sustainability means taking the long view, making business decisions that are successful for all stakeholders inside and outside the company, and contributing to the growth of the social, economic and environmental context in which our group operates.
To guide our business model with responsibility, Safilo's strategy has three fundamental mainstays: people, product, planet, and it is aimed at ensuring the best products in order to protect the environment and improve people's lives.
What projects are underway?
For us sustainability primarily means sourcing and using increasingly modern and advanced materials in our eyewear collections, not only to meet the requests of consumers who are attentive to and aware of an object's life cycle, but also to contribute to decreasing environmental impact by creating products that reduce the use of new resources.
Our design and innovation team is continually studying sustainable solutions that will improve technical characteristics and the materials used, such as regenerated or organic recyclable polymers that are combined with cellulose acetate, one of the most common plastics used to date in the majority of eyewear on the market.
In this context last year we announced a pioneering partnership with Aquafil for the use of Econyl in our eyewear collections. This material is obtained by regenerating synthetic waste (nylon) such as fishing nets, rugs and fabrics and it can be recycled, recreated and remodelled more than once without losing its properties.
Additionally, in terms of more attention to the entire value chain in general and the environmental impact of the materials used, special attention is paid to eyewear packaging and in-store communication materials, which have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) since 2019.
How did The Ocean Cleanup collaboration begin?
We are very proud of this project that we have developed together with The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch non-profit organisation whose aim is to remove plastic waste from the oceans. For The Ocean Cleanup, the Safilo eyewear that was launched last October is made from injected plastic that came from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) thanks to an innovative upcycling process which reuses heterogeneous plastics and transforms them into safe, high-quality materials.
We embraced The Ocean Cleanup's pay-off 'from trash to treasure' because it is strongly in line with our objective of creating a useful, long-lasting product that will help to raise awareness about the urgency of removing plastic waste from our oceans.
What does the collaboration involve specifically?
When The Ocean Cleanup team contacted us and described the project, we felt honoured to become an active part of this mission and be able to contribute to giving a second life to plastics retrieved from the ocean.
Our team of designers worked hard on finding the best way to combine our long manufacturing tradition with technological innovation and materials with the aim of guaranteeing a high-quality end product that is distinctive and has strong stylistic content.
We estimate that the material used for every pair of glasses corresponds to cleaning the equivalent of 24 football pitches in the GPGP; the entire limited edition will contribute to cleaning the equivalent of about 500,000 football pitches in the GPGP.
Will the future of Safilo be "green"-oriented?
This is certainly the trajectory we will follow. But we also go beyond the materials used and the products we make, our approach to sustainability is becoming increasingly 360 degrees.
In pursuit of eco friendliness the recent renewal of our fleet of company cars favours hybrid and electric vehicles with a view to sustainable mobility, the efficiency of water and power consumption at our production sites is improved, digital transformation at our offices and factories reduce manufacturing process waste and paper waste.
We are also optimising logistics to reduce environmental impact and emissions by using vehicles that are increasingly technological and environment- and people-friendly.
These are joined by investments in industrial innovation, such as nickel free galvanic treatments at Longarone (BL), to ensure the improvement of risk factors and operator safety, the protection of the environment in which the factory is located by recovering precious metals, the reuse of industrial water with the consequent reduction in water consumption and the elimination of wastewater, the reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
Last November we also achieved certification of the energy management system in compliance with standard ISO 50001:2018, which confirms our commitment to environmental sustainability and our objective of improving energy efficiency at all the Group's premises in Italy.
Lastly, for Safilo sustainability also means making a commitment to the way in which our product travels the world and, specifically, our business's mode of conduct at global level, encouraging transparent corporate values and objectives that are shared through our Worldwide Business Conduct Manual, which continues to be updated to constantly improve the description of the responsibility of each and everyone of us to support the Company's sense of responsibility.