Special feature on SKANS in eyebizz Magazine

Special feature on SKANS in eyebizz Magazine

The German Optical Magazine, eyebizz, featured an exclusive article on SKANS, published April, 2024. The piece highlights Skans Eyewear's commitment to using business as a force for good, emphasizing its use of recycled materials and its certification as a B-Corporation. The company also promotes eco-conscious practices through its Skans Academy. Read the full article in English below. 

Inspiration for the Next Sustainable Step

Innovation, design, functionality, and sustainability: those are the criteria of the Opti Box Award powered by eyebizz. Particularly in the last aspect, this year's winner Skans Eyewear from Copenhagen was able to convince. The Danish label founded by Johanna Skans, questions every decision regarding sustainability and aims to inspire others to follow.

"Eyewear with Impact" is the brand's slogan. The happiness of the 41-year-old in Munich was even more profound: "The Opti Box Award means a lot to me because it shows that people and also the industry believe in my concept. I hope that we can inspire more people to act more responsibly."

Consistent Slow Eyewear

Skans Eyewear was founded in 2022 in response to Johanna's observation of the lack of environmental responsibility in the optical industry, and that is the first building block of the eco-conscious concept (see interview). For the environmentally conscious slow fashion glasses, which are intended to be timeless and long-lasting in terms of style and quality, she chose the lowest carbon and waste material after careful research: recycled stainless steel.

Production takes place in Europe, specifically in Italy, in an equally carefully selected small family-run factory to minimize transport emissions and ensure that the workforce works under European law and thus under dignified working conditions.

Used glasses are taken back and collected for recycling. To ensure that recycling runs smoothly, only one material is used, and plastic is deliberately avoided, even for temple ends and nose pads. So that the latter can still provide good support for the 15-gram lightweight frames, a square pattern was engraved.

The eyewear cases are also designed for durability, made from Salpa (leather scraps), also made in Italy. No other materials are used there either, such as metal buttons or magnets, to simplify the recycling process at the end of the product lifecycle. Skans glasses are currently sold in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

"Sustainability is a mindset, a lifestyle, and a business philosophy"

Donations and Collections

Another pillar of the sustainable business model involves the company's dedication to allocating two percent of its revenues to environmental and social causes. This commitment is divided equally between the organization "1% for the Planet" and the Skans Foundation. Johanna's mother, Liisa, who is also an optician, frequently engages in charitable events. Recently, she has travelled to Madagascar and Kenya with the Swedish charity organization Vision For All to perform eye examinations and distribute eyeglasses.

The consistent approach reflects the high standard of Johanna Skans. In a previous interview, the native Swede said: "My biggest goal is to inspire the optical industry so that it hopefully one day becomes a role model in using business to solving planetary challenges. We opticians have so few suppliers; it is obvious that we should play a pioneering role."

Certified B Corp

The highlight of sustainability efforts is definitely their certification as a B-Corporation in February 2024, conducted by the nonprofit organization B Lab. As the first eyewear brand in the Nordic countries (with the highest score among B-certified eyewear brands worldwide to date), Skans is now part of a new industry standard for ethical and sustainable business practices, along with brands like Karün, Sea2See, and leading companies from other industries like Patagonia, Ganni, Rituals, and others. This certification represents a legal commitment to leverage their company as a force for good, creating positive impacts for all stakeholders: employees, communities, customers, and the planet.

"Becoming a certified B-Corporation is proof of our commitment to making a positive impact through our business, and it is a great tool to push ourselves to seek unknown paths. To ensure this certification, it was important to coordinate our activities in this area," says Johanna Skans.

Inspiration from the Academy

Her comprehensive professional background in optometry and sustainability led the mother of two young daughters to the conclusion that sustainable decisions require sustainable knowledge to inspire more people and businesses. In 2023, the Skans Academy was launched; it serves as an educational center, offering holistic sustainability courses for businesses and aims to train "impactful leaders" in optical stores.

The academy supports the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aims to provide companies with tools to achieve their sustainability goals for positive financial, ecological, and social impacts. From defining sustainability to implementing sustainable practices in the company, various modules cover everything: sustainable eyewear production, circular business models, ethical leadership, responsible communication, responsible consumption, and much more.

Opticians can learn on-site or online and tailor the program to their needs: from one-hour presentations to one-day seminars to multi-month courses including a diploma.

Many optical companies have already taken important steps, Skans knows.

But it is not just about "being green," but about "enhancing one's own brand, attracting top talent, reducing costs, and increasing profitability" - transforming the operation into "the most responsible, attractive, and profitable version of itself," as stated on the academy's website.

"It is not just about "being green," but about enhancing one's own brand, attracting top talent, reducing costs, and increasing profitability"

For Johanna Skans, a passionate advocate for sustainability, this is the only right model for the future. "Sustainability is a mindset, a lifestyle, and a business philosophy". For entrepreneurs, it is not just a moral aspect but also a strategic step. Even if regulations ultimately force companies to act responsibly, the introduction of sustainable practices can lead to long-term success and competitive advantages." ||| PATRICIA PERLITSCHKE, eyebizz ▶

Read the original German Article here. 


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