Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool launched

On the eve of the inaugural SEE Summit on the Environment on 4 October, ABDO is launching its new Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool to inspire action on climate change within the optical community.

The Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool is designed to encourage everyone in optics – whether they be employee, locum, business owner or manufacturer – to look at what steps they can take to become more sustainable.

Developed by ABDO’s Working Group on the Environment, in collaboration with organisations across optical community, the tool will help the user assess their current practises and find key solutions to make their working life, practice and/or businesses more sustainable.

Daryl Newsome, chair of the working group and ABDO vice president, explains more: “Everyone working in the optical industry has a part to play. If you are an employee, you can work towards saving energy and water in practice every day as you go about your job. You can make sure you reuse items which would otherwise have been thrown away, such as saving scrap paper for notes. If you are a manager or business owner, the tool gives you plenty of ideas too, and could be the first step towards your own sustainability strategy.”

The Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool starts with a questionnaire; the user will then receive weekly emails outlining changes they can make, focusing on themes such as recycling, saving energy, travel and how to reuse, refill, repair and recycle.

“All the tips are focused on the optical industry, making this a unique and useful way for optical professionals and their teams to make a real difference,” said Daryl. “Once you have worked through the weekly tips, you can go back to the questionnaire and see how much progress you have made.

“Sustainability is a journey, and we know that the Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool will help everyone more closer to a truly sustainable optical industry, something that will benefit the planet now and long into the future.”

Inspiring lasting change

The inaugural SEE Summit on the Environment, taking place on the evening of Monday on 4 October, aims to promote environmental sustainability in the UK optical sector and contribute to the government’s goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Along with providing access to the new Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool, the event will see a line-up of inspiring speakers explain how they have moved towards environmental sustainability in practice and in manufacturing. There will be also be practical advice on the changes that can be made at work to become more environmentally-friendly.

The keynote speaker is Nick Bridge, the UK foreign secretary’s special representative for climate change. Responsible for directing the UK’s global diplomatic climate change work, Nick is currently focused on the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

Also speaking at the event will be Sarah Smith, an optometrist working with Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester. Sarah will report on figures relating to the amount of waste that a range of modalities of contact lens wear generate, and discuss opportunities for responsible disposal of lenses, as well as report on steps that contact lens manufacturers are undertaking to minimise their environmental impact. Delegates will learn how best to promote and communicate a positive message around environmental sustainability to contact lens patients.

Also speaking is James Conway, Millmead Optical Group CEO and a champion of sustainability. The Millmead Group has worked to reduce its environmental impact in the office, the production line and in product distribution, supporting its overall mission to continuously find more efficient ways to reduce its impact on the environment. James will discuss some exciting projects in the pipeline, and how sustainability should be at the forefront of everyone’s business operations.

James said: “Our sustainability efforts are a journey not a destination, and I will share how that journey can be navigated at the SEE Summit.”

The SEE Summit is supported by the Optical Suppliers Association, the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians and a host of other optical organisations.

Book your place at the SEE Summit here.