To safely deliver lenses to prescription labs where they are customized to each individual wearer, Essilor used to pack each lens into one of 30 different types of plastic moulded cups inside a small cardboard container – a million times a year.
Engineering and Purchasing teams began work in 2006 to find a solution for the different environmental, economic and technical challenges in simplifying packaging and transportation. Their objective: to replace 2 separate elements with one integrated cardboard pack that could be used in either manual or automatic packaging lines. Simple in theory, but designing a cut-out format to ensure each lens would be securely held in place during transit was quite a challenge given that lenses can vary up to 2cm in diameter and 13mm in thickness.
Essilor tested the solution at one of its production facilities in China. The Cupless® packaging was 40 times less bulky and required much less space in transport and storage, thus reducing environmental impact of transportation to and from the factory in addition to reducing plastic waste.
Having successfully demonstrated the concept, the team began deploying it progressively so that by 2011, the vast majority of semi-finished lenses shipped by Essilor were delivered in the cupless format. In its first year of operation, Essilor calculated that the adoption of this solution, itself 100% recyclable, had eliminated 230 tonnes of polystyrene packaging.
Essilor continues to expand the use of this environmentally-friendly solution across the Group: teams in Transitions production facilities have been trained in 2016.
Essilor International has been included for the 13th consecutive year in the FTSE4Good Index. It’s a global investment index designed to identify companies that demonstrate strong environmental, social and governance practices, measured against globally recognised standards.
Reducing water usage is one of five priorities for Essilor in optimizing its environmental impact. Initiatives at a Group facility in Ireland are setting the example.