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When it Comes to Sustainability, Foster Grant is Eyeing Mass Impact

As a leading designer and marketer of eyewear globally, Foster Grant has a responsibility to set an example for the industry through best practices.

It’s a responsibility that Foster Grant takes seriously, seeing it as an opportunity to use its scale to create the most impact. Evolution is hardly new to the company, now over 90 years old. The brand has transformed throughout its history to meet the evolving demands of consumers and the world in which we live.

Foster Grant’s sustainability efforts involve an aggressive transformation program to analyze each aspect of its world to make meaningful changes from logistics, distribution and shipping to production, energy use and waste. As the company works towards achieving its sustainability goals, it has begun taking steps including rethinking materials and processes to reduce the use of virgin materials and introduce more responsibly sourced alternatives. The brand also reuses recycled materials as much as possible, eliminates one-time use packaging with recyclable packaging whenever possible, chooses manufacturing partners that align with sustainability goals and requires them to report on energy usage, sends damaged and unsellable eyewear for recycling and continues to transition eyewear from virgin to recycled materials.

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Importantly, Foster Grant recognizes that the best way to put these plans into action and create the most impact for its overall ESG plan is by leveraging partnerships both within the company
and externally.

A key example of working within its own network is Foster Grant’s commitment to supporting EssilorLuxottica’s Eyes on the Planet initiative (which is focused on five key areas including circularity, carbon neutrality, world sight, inclusion and ethics). By working together within the parent company, the brand can leverage expertise and resources to amplify its impact and achieve ambitious sustainability goals.

“Sustainability and innovation go hand in hand at EssilorLuxottica, with the product naturally being at the center of its circular economy approach,” said Salvatore Mauceri, president of the sun and readers division at EssilorLuxottica. “Foster Grant’s sustainability journey is fully aligned with this initiative, with a goal to minimize our impact on the environment while enhancing product excellence and quality.”

Another important partnership for Foster Grant came in July 2021, when the brand began working with key manufacturing partners to create eyewear from molecularly recycled material to reduce plastic waste. These partnerships are an effort to bring innovative, sustainable eyewear frames to mass-market eyewear fashion using environmentally friendly materials that are BPA-free and phthalate-free. By using these materials, Foster Grant can make a high-quality product while reducing its reliance on virgin materials.

Foster Grant is also leveraging its partnerships with retailers to create a greater impact with the consumer. Communication and interaction with consumers, said Mauceri, is critical to meeting the company’s sustainability goals. 

“Consumers are calling on brands to create more sustainable products and many are willing to change their buying habits to support companies that do,” said Mauceri. “Sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have for consumers, it is table stakes so the more people we can energize and engage, the swifter and more effective our journey will be. We want to galvanize our people—our customers and clients, our end consumer, and our employees to move together toward achieving our sustainability goals.”

With goals and partnerships in place, Foster Grant has tripled the number of frames made in part by (or “with at least some”) recycled materials since 2021. By 2026, the brand aims to make more than 95 percent of its eyewear with recycled materials.

Examining Foster Grant’s Sustainability Goals in Action

FGX Foster Grant eyewear

Salvatore Mauceri, president of the sun and readers divison at Essilor Luxottica, discusses the brand’s progress and key learning moments in achieving sustainability goals.

Fairchild Studio: Achieving sustainability goals can be quite challenging. Have you had any ‘aha’ moments along the way?

Salvatore Mauceri: One of our biggest lessons is that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Fashion trends change quickly but sustainability requires consistency and a new level of thoughtfulness and intentionality from brands. Over the past couple of years, there has been a lot of learning!

We’ve done a lot of work to educate our employees and retail partners on the benefit of using recycled materials in eyewear and have been working diligently to evolve our consumer communications to make them as clear and concise as possible. The journey will take some time, but we’ve learned that we must execute our plans in the right way for our business and consumers.

Another ‘aha’ moment has been that leaning into sustainability requires investment. Whether that is an investment in time, financial, business resources or other areas, the investment is necessary to ensure our sustainability goals are achieved in the manner we want.

Fairchild Studio: Can you share an example of how Foster Grant’s sustainability journey is a holistic one?

S.M.: We have launched an initiative called Foster Grant RECIRCUL8™, our journey toward using more recycled materials in our products and packaging.

The goal of this initiative is a more circular model, designed to increase the use of recycled materials in our eyewear and packaging as we maximize the opportunity to recycle any old or damaged products.  We are just starting off on this journey and invite everyone to join as we continue!

Fairchild Studio: What is the best evidence that Foster Grant is achieving success in its sustainability journey so far?

S.M.: The best evidence has been the response our eyewear and plans have received from our partners, colleagues, retailers and ultimately, our consumers. When consumers are excited to buy our glasses because they love the design or it offers the right diopter, we are excited. But when they find out they are made with recycled materials, our consumers are even more excited to buy them. They realize that they can wear fashionable eyewear that supports a better, more sustainable Earth.

Our retailers are excited to understand how our efforts contribute to their overall ESG journey as well. It’s a win–win across all areas as we continue to make progress here.

For more information on Foster Grant and FGX International, click here.