“A pair of spectacles is recognised as the number one most effective tool to fight poverty; it empowers the wearer by enabling them to read, learn and work. Simple, yet so very so effective. It was therefore a natural decision to create an eyewear brand that provided the vehicle for delivering that change.” – John Pritchard, founder of Pala Eyewear.
Pala Eyewear is a sustainable eyewear company using eco-friendly and ethically-made sunglasses as a vehicle for incredibly impactful business. Pala Eyewear is generating positive change, empowerment and opportunity through funding eyecare projects in Africa, and is creating timeless stylish and sustainable spectacles while they’re at it.
Ethics and Sustainability
As a certified B Corp, Pala Eyewear leaves no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring their processes are ethical and sustainable. Certified B Corporations meet “high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency” across their business, including in supply chain management, employee benefits and charitable giving.
The durable and timeless sunglass frames are made from plant-based biodegradable acetate, the soft bags are made from 70% recycled PET, and Pala Eyewear works with Frame Makers, Bio-acetate and Metal Makers Suppliers in Italy, and Bag Makers in South Korea. As for the glasses themselves, they’re all made in a Chinese factory that undergoes an annual SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) to ensure an adherence to ethical trading and corporate social responsibility.
Pala Eyewear even has sustainable packaging that is completely plastic-free, with boxes that are FSC certified, and swing tags and postcards that are made from unlaminated recycled card stock and printed with vegan inks. Oh, and if you’re UK-based, you’re in luck: Pala Eyewear partners with TerraCycle to provide a recycling service to all UK customers, wherein any old sunglass frames are upcycled into new products.
Mission and Impact
Eyewear is a form of self-expression, though it can also be used as an invaluable economic tool to help empower and change. With every pair of sustainable sunnies sold, Pala Eyewear gives back through eye care programs throughout Africa.
One of the most effective health interventions to reduce poverty is through resorting sight, which can enable reading, learning and better access to education, and can ultimately pave the way towards a more prosperous future. With eye care inaccessible to 640 million people worldwide, and considering that 80% of all vision problems are avoidable or curable, this is an incredible gift that Pala Eyewear is giving.
The grants that Pala Eyewear gives are very much vision-focused, and include building new Vision Centres and supporting outreach programmes—all sustainable, long-term solutions that facilitate eye care, eye-tests and the provision of spectacles. Through funding these projects Pala Eyewear is able to calculate a ‘cost per patient helped’, and it is this cost that you—yep, you—provide through purchasing their eyewear.
The Pala Eyewear case is also turning waste into a resource, and is another shining example of the innovation being shown by this epic eyewear brand. The sunglass cases are weaved in Bolgatanga, a region of Upper East Ghana, and though cases are traditionally weaved with grass, this region now repurposes recycled plastic instead. Pala Eyewear also pays these talented weavers more than 2.5x the minimum wage, which ultimately empowers them to pull themselves and their families out of poverty.
As Pala eyewear grows, more and more people are being taught to weave, which then provides them with a new skill, as well as a new source of income. By using recycled plastic (a resource that is already in excess) rather than the traditional straw (a resource that is limited by seasonality), Pala is able to provide a more steady and regular income for their weavers all-year round.
Pala Eyewear is an incredible company generating immense social and environmental change through impactful and purposeful business. Don’t just make a fashion statement with your eyewear, make a social statement as well.
Want to know where Pala Eyewear sits and what they’re working on in terms of these 5 values? Hover over these values to find out.
Our boxes are FSC MIX certified, from responsible sources. All our print materials come from recycled paper stock. For all single orders that we send out we use 100% recycled mailer envelopes.
The factory we work with to produce our sunglasses undergoes a regular third party ethical trade audit (SMETA) encompassing all aspects of responsible business practice to ensure adherence to ethical trading and corporate social responsibility.
Any discarded waste from the weaving process is collected and put back into the system to be recycled. The production factory in China holds environmental certification ISO 14001 valid to Feb 2021 and publicly available environmental policy. They also have a risk assessment and monitoring report.
Giving back is at the core of what we do. We help to tackle a global problem by providing grants directly to eye-care projects in Africa; 640 million people are unable to access the eye-care they need and a pair of spectacles is an invaluable economic tool providing empowerment for the wearer.
We have visited the factory where we source our plastic waste and visited the weavers that make them. We have visibility on the direct suppliers into the frame factory we work with. However, as suggested, this is a complicated process.
Behind the Brand
“A pair of spectacles is recognised as the number one most effective tool to fight poverty; it empowers the wearer by enabling them to read, learn and work. Simple, yet so very so effective. It was therefore a natural decision to create an eyewear brand that provided the vehicle for delivering that change”.