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Practice Building officially launched its Net Zero Optics programme

New programme makes going Net Zero simple and affordable

At 100% Optical Practice Building officially launched its Net Zero Optics programme which enables optical businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and plastic waste and become a certified Net Zero business. The green initiative proved very popular at the show and won 100% Optical’s Sustainability Innovation Award.

A practice that has successfully followed the Net Zero Optics programme is awarded a certificate which can be used to promote the practice. Window badges and digital stickers are also provided to highlight the achievement. There are three certifications available, Certified Carbon Neutral Eyewear, Certified Net Zero Carbon and Certified Net Zero Plastic.

Practice Building has launched the not-for-profit Net Zero Eyecare company which verifies the certification achieved and provides carbon and plastic offsetting. The company has its own website which promotes the practice’s green initiatives to the public and across social media. The two websites are for opticians and for the public.

Founder Andy Clark, right, with son, Net Zero Manager Andrew Clark, centre, and daughter, Practice Building Director Lucy Clark.

The Net Zero programme begins with Practice Building suggesting small adjustments to the practice’s pricing plan so that profitability remains unaffected. Practice Building then does an analysis to cut the practice’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gases which is so detailed, it even covers the practitioner’s commute to work.

A carbon reduction plan is drawn up which is a requirement of the NHS Quality in Optometry Protocol, Practice Building Founder Andy Clark highlights. The carbon that cannot be reduced further is then offset through an internationally approved agency.

All the practice’s waste is analysed with the aim of reducing and recycling as much as possible. A plastic recycling service is offered which makes use of unwanted spectacles and plastic offsetting is available for the small amounts remaining.

Following an earlier soft launch, the first business to become Net Zero was Performance Finance, with the first practice being Clark Family Eyecare of Donington.

Explaining the development of the programme, Andy said: “On the internet there are now many Net Zero checklists for businesses which can prove daunting. We became frustrated and sat down to develop our own Net Zero programme to make the complex issues simple to implement. A lot can be achieved to save the planet if we all do our bit and don’t wait for the politicians.”

The work began when Andy’s son Andrew, an environmental scientist and renowned environmental film-maker, officially joined the family-owned Practice Building company as its Net Zero Manager.

Andrew explained: “A lot of practitioners have expressed their anxiety over not taking action on the climate crisis but now they can easily follow this framework and do their bit for the planet. The response at the show has been great, with practitioners showing relief that they can now do more to save the planet without it affecting their bottom line.

“Our aim was to take the complexity out of environmental strategy and make it simple and, some have said, fun to follow. Our framework also enables practices to work with others, creating an environmental community within the optical industry.”

At 100% Optical Andrew gave a talk in the Optical Suppliers Association (OSA) lecture theatre on the importance of taking action to save the environment, which attracted a large crowd. The OSA has warned that all optical businesses which supply the NHS need to prepare for the introduction of accountability for Net Zero targets.

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