SUSTAINABILITY IN A CRISIS CONTEXT
neubau eyewear provides insights into successful sustainability strategy with Sustainability Guide
Austrian eyewear label neubau eyewear is responding to the current COVID-19 situation with agility and flexibility, primarily thanks to its local, innovative production strategy. Together with its parent company Silhouette, the young label has been pursuing a forward-looking business concept ever since it was established in 2016. Finding environmentally friendly solutions for its eco-conscious clientele has the utmost priority, with profit-based approaches taking a back seat to responsible business practices. To offer a comprehensive insight into its sustainable corporate strategy, at the beginning of April neubau eyewear published its Sustainability Guide featuring a transparent list of the measures that make up its sustainable foundations. First and foremost, neubau eyewear is proving that excellent eyewear design and an eco-friendly company philosophy can go hand in hand.
Daniel Liktor, Global Brand Director of neubau eyewear, emphasized the importance of firmly establishing a sustainability strategy in a label’s foundations from the outset: “As part of neubau eyewear’s DNA, sustainability is not only a fundamental belief of ours, but in view of the current situation it has also shown itself to be the right direction for our concept. Producing locally in Austria is a real advantage as it means we can maintain full control ourselves, even under these difficult circumstances. This unexpected crisis highlights the pivotal role that a sustainability strategy plays for companies these days.” Daniel Liktor is also asking himself another question: “As a company that has consistently stood behind our production location in the middle of Europe, in Austria, we regularly ask ourselves the question of just how beneficial globalization is and what it is doing to our planet. In view of the current crisis, we are one step ahead in that respect.”
Forming the basis of neubau eyewear’s sustainable strategy are central quality criteria like the use of sustainable materials in the form of bio-based synthetics and the recycling of materials like paper and PET bottles. When it comes to its local production facility in a water conservation area in Linz, the label also demands the highest sustainability standards, which are reliably fulfilled by renewable and solar energy and the filtering of waste air. After introducing recyclable soft eyewear cases in 2017, it was possible to reduce the CO2 footprint by 90 percent compared to hard cases. And the demo eyewear, which was produced in Austria, made it possible for the company to save more than one ton of annual CO2 emissions. Since 2019, neubau eyewear and its suppliers have also been following an agreed code of conduct that specifies strict compliance with environmental standards. Following the ethos “See & Do Good”, the label pursues a vision that combines social and ecological responsibility with true dedication to style and design. This serves as a daily reminder to put people and the planet at the forefront of every decision it makes.
Materials from nature
As a pioneer in sustainability, neubau eyewear uses environmentally friendly materials like bio-based synthetics in its modern production processes. The polymers used are either 65 or 100 percent bio-based. And its materials like stainless steel, usually made from 65 percent recycled steel, and high-quality titanium from Japan also need to fulfil the strict quality requirements. With only 0.5 percent of global plastic production coming from plant-based derivatives, the brand continues to make impressive progress in this regard. Since 2017, the Linz-based eyewear label has been making all its synthetic frames with the material naturalPX, which consists of 65 percent castor oil and is used for injection-molded styles. The eco-friendly polymer not only makes the models incredibly flexible and strong, but also gives them a particularly lightweight frame. At the beginning of 2020, neubau eyewear went one step further by developing material innovation natural3D, which is 100 percent extracted from the castor oil plant and further processed using 3D printing technology.
The high-tech production is particularly resource efficient as layers of powdered plastic are fused together using a laser and any residual material is reused. And now with natural3D, for the first time it is also possible to use an entirely natural material in the 3D printer. The innovative material is currently being used in the high-end special edition sunglasses “Côte du Soleil” and in a collection of natural3D corrective models. The company’s approach to sustainability also means that the product features are designed with benefits and ecology in mind. In addition to the cases, which are produced either on a cellulose basis and without the need for any glue, or are made from recycled material, the cleaning cloths are also made from recycled PET bottles.
Further information about neubau eyewear’s sustainability credentials can be found in the brand’s Sustainability Guide.
Daniel Liktor, Global Brand Director of neubau eyewear, is available for interviews and questions.