Manufacturing lenses with 100 percent renewable energy marks industry leadership, corporate responsibility
RAMSEY, MINN. (March 13, 2008) – Though the finished product is a small lens, the eyewear industry as a whole makes a large impact on the environment.
Vision-Ease Lens (VEL) is reducing its carbon footprint and setting new sustainability standards for lens manufacturers. Starting March 1, all VEL products manufactured in its Ramsey, Minn.-facility will be made with 100 percent renewable energy. This effort builds on significant conservation and recycling efforts that VEL has had in place over the past several years, and sets the stage for a long-term, corporate-wide initiative.
“Consumers are in general becoming more eco-minded. With that, manufacturers and industrial companies are also aiding in overall sustainability efforts,” said Doug Hepper, president and CEO, VEL. “Reducing Vision-Ease Lens carbon emissions as a manufacturer translates directly to customers. With a number of lens styles, colors and brands, customers now have another, more important factor to consider when purchasing lenses – the environmental impact of the products they choose.”
Beyond setting a new standard in the lens industry, VEL commitment to sustainability marks one of the largest industrial companies with 100 percent renewable energy in Minnesota.
“We will pay a premium to use renewable energy, but the benefits far outweigh the cost,” said Hepper. “By switching to renewable power, we will avoid the release of more than 15,000 metric tons of carbon emissions each year. This saving is equivalent to the emissions that result from burning more than one and three-quarter million gallons of gasoline.”
Through Connexus Energy, an electric distribution cooperative, all energy purchased for the Ramsey, Minn.-based facility is generated through renewable power including wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass.
“A number of parties benefit when an organization chooses to operate with renewable energy. Wind is a part of the long-term solution needs, along with energy efficiency and other new energy sources,” said Brian Burandt, key account and energy analyst, Connexus Energy. “Vision-Ease Lens is a great model for businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint.”
In addition to the conversion to renewable power, VEL has already engaged in a number of other eco-friendly initiatives. By eliminating extra product shipments for manufacturing, VEL saved more than 12,500 gallons of gas in 2006 by producing its proprietary, award winning LifeRx™ photochromic lenses in one facility. This has also saved 113 metric tons of CO2 emissions – equivalent to the electricity for 15 homes for one year.
And by replacing all lighting in the Ramsey facility with energy efficient fluorescent lighting, savings have reached near 800 metric tons of CO2 emissions since the conversion in January 2007.
“We’re taking meaningful steps in reducing the carbon footprint, waste generation and energy consumption,” said Hepper. “Making the shift to 100 percent renewable energy in our Ramsey lens manufacturing process benefits Vision-Ease Lens customers, ECPs, employees, shareholders and, ultimately, the environment.”
* To schedule an interview with Doug Hepper, president and CEO of Vision-Ease Lens, about the company’s sustainability initiatives, please contact Anne Cloeter at 651.286.6746, or email@example.com
About Vision-Ease Lens
Headquartered in Ramsey, Minn., Vision-Ease Lens is a manufacturer of quality ophthalmic lenses including LifeRx® photochromic lenses, Coppertone™ polarized lenses, SunRxÒ polarized lenses, and IlluminaÒ progressive line-free lenses. Vision-Ease Lens products are sold through independent opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists, as well as many retail chains and dispensing markets across the country. For more information about Vision-Ease Lens and its products, visit www.vision-ease.com.
Risdall McKinney Public Relations