Independent creative, content and media agency Edge has today launched the first online marketplace dedicated to helping consumers make more sustainable sunglass choices.
Featuring an industry-first sustainability rating system that allows consumers to quickly and easily see which frames are better for the planet, Folkal is a joint venture between ‘Accelerate’ – the venture division of Edge, and global eyewear giant, Safilo.
Sustainability has become one of the key drivers of retail consumer behaviour, with 90% of shoppers in Australia and Asia saying they are willing to pay a premium for sustainable products.
Despite this trend, many people place buying sustainable in the too hard basket – with 35% not purchasing due to a lack of information, a lack of sustainable alternatives or the time required to find them. Until the launch of Folkal, this has especially true of the eyewear industry, where it’s incredibly difficult for consumers to get a sense of which frames, lenses and cases are least and most damaging to the environment.
Says Richard Parker, executive strategy director at Edge and co-founder of Folkal: “We’re on a mission to transform sustainability in the eyewear industry from the inside out.
“Folkal is the first marketplace to solely feature planet-friendly eyewear across multiple brands. Our ground-breaking rating system aims to provide total transparency around sustainability, encouraging the industry to change for the better, and helping consumers to understand what makes eyewear sustainable.
“All the data we’ve seen says the environment is no longer an afterthought, and brands need to demonstrate impactful environmental change. Folkal provides an exciting opportunity to raise the bar for sustainable e-commerce, meeting consumer needs with a trusted site where they can shop with confidence knowing every product has passed rigorous testing to earn its place on the marketplace.”
While most fashion industry rating systems focus on brands, the Folkal Eyewear Rating System works at an individual product level, providing a sustainability rating of GOOD, BETTER or BEST for product, case, process and transport.
Says Fergus Stoddart, growth and partnerships director at Edge and co-founder of Folkal: “The rating system is completely transparent, and we’re making it available for the whole industry to use.
“We put Safilo’s range through the rating system for launch, and only 300 styles were eligible to be featured on the site. We have strict standards, but the door is always open to any brand that can meet our minimum threshold. We will work with Safilo and other manufacturers to improve their current rating with more sustainable materials and processes, and look forward to adding more styles soon.”
Folkal’s launch collection of sunglasses and readers includes top brands such as Polaroid, Smith, Hugo Boss, Under Armour, Kate Spade and Levi’s from global eyewear manufacturer Safilo.
Says Stoddart: “Safilo was a natural fit to partner with for launch. They have impressive sustainability credentials across a breadth of their range, and of course access to major brands that are obviously very desirable, allowing us to scale quickly from a product viewpoint.”
Says David Pearson, senior director for APAC, Safilo: “Globally we’ve been taking action in our plants and offices throughout the world to reduce our footprint on the planet – to reduce consumption of water and chemical components in our manufacturing processes, to install more environmentally friendly lighting, to reduce packaging materials, and to use eco-friendly and recycled materials in the manufacturing of our frames and lenses.”
When asked about the future of Folkal, Parker said: “We’re stoked to be working with Safilo as our launch partner. However, we want to create the world’s largest collection of planet-friendly eyewear to give consumers as many choices as possible. This means opening up the site and its audience to third party brands – and we’re openly calling out for any interested brands to get in touch.
“This is only the first step towards reaching our vision. We also plan to fund and support vital industry initiatives at the forefront of change. We’ve launched Folkal Eyewear to be more than just an ecommerce site, we see it as a movement.”
The launch of Folkal represents a new way of working for Edge and is intended to embed a sense of entrepreneurship across the agency, shaking up processes and forcing a culture of agility and accountability.
Says Stoddart: “It’s important to us as an agency that we don’t just tell our clients that we know how to create and build brands, but demonstrate it by putting our money where our mouth is. As equal partners in this venture with Safilo, we’re invested in the future of eyewear both intellectually and where it counts: via our hip pockets.
“This is the furthest we have pushed our venture division. To date we have taken small positions in companies. Here we are forming a joint venture partnership with a client. Alongside the broader Edge team supporting on comms and media, we have a dedicated ecommerce team shaping the strategy and driving the businesses. This drives more commercial thinking and capability across the agency that we can then take to other clients.”
To learn more about Folkal and experience its industry-first rating system visit www.folkaleyewear.com.
E-commerce and Brand Manager – Sarah Parker
JV partner: Safilo
Senior Director, APAC – David Pearson
Sustainability Manager – Simone Petrolli
Brand and CX: Edge
Executive Creative Director – Stu Turner
Creative Director – Brand and Identity – Gary Walmsley
Creative Director – Ben Smith
Copywriter – William Bassett
Art Director – Callum Foot
Senior Designer – Waiton Fong
Designer – Sophie Millican
Executive Planning Director – Richard Parker
Planning Director – Caitlin Ammann
Director, Growth & Partnerships – Fergus Stoddart
Managing Director – David Stretch