Sunglasses designed and made by Bath-based Inspecs from recycled materials, including rubber tyres and plastic bottles, have beaten off competition from nearly 1,500 pairs to win a major global sustainable business accolade.
The O’Neill WOVE sunglasses came first in the Sport category of the highly acclaimed International Green Product Awards 2021. They were selected from a total of 1,461 participants from 51 countries, with each entry carefully reviewed for their standout design, innovative aspect and sustainable nature.
The award-winning design emerged from an ongoing partnership between iconic Californian surf wear and surfboard brand O’Neill and Inspecs, which works with a number of major global brands and retailers.
The sunglasses and packaging are made using a collection of recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials including fishing nets, rubber tyres and plastic bottles, stainless steel and mineral glass and water soluble paper & corn starch polybags.
Even the case is formed from recycled plastic bottles. Inspecs said being recognised by such an esteemed award was testament to the bigger issue of ocean pollutants that the sunglasses are trying to address.
Inspecs has worked with O’Neill over a number of years to align with its ocean mission ‘O’Neill Blue’. Launched by founder Jack O’Neill, it focuses on reducing plastic waste and having a positive impact on our planet – with a third of all O’Neill Apparel sustainable.
O’Neill has been championing the preservation of the oceans since 1952, and it and Inspecs described the WOVE frame as truly highlighting both companies’ commitments towards environmental responsibility.
Inspecs has had sustainability at the heart since it was founded in London in 1988 by former bond trader Robin Totterman.
It recently launched its own sustainable eyewear range Botaniq using biodegradable eyewear materials, partnering with One Tree Planted – – a non-profit organisation dedicated to global reforestation – and planting a tree for each frame sold.
CEO Robin Totterman, who relocated the business to Bath in the early 2000s, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of what we do at Inspecs and I am delighted that our team has won the Green Product Award for our sustainable WOVE frames created for O’Neill, made thoughtfully from recycled resources and recyclable and biodegradable materials.
“This award acknowledges our commitment to sustainability, as well as recognising our extraordinary team of designers who continuously strive to innovate and break the boundaries in the industry.
“I am extremely proud that our innovative and sustainably driven product is being recognised today, as we continue to focus on the future and encourage the eyewear industry to explore more sustainable solutions”.
O’Neill strategic brand manager Julian De Waal added: “We at O’Neill are on an Ocean Mission. Being a responsible brand and taking care of our playground is a top priority for us. We truly believe that sustainability is a topic where collaboration is required. It is not something that you can do by yourself.
“That’s why in partnership with Inspecs we have worked together to create these unique sunglasses. We are happy that the sustainability and innovation that went into the development is awarded with The Green Product Award.”
Inspecs, which is based in Bath’s old Gas Light and Coke building on Upper Bristol Road, has grown rapidly since floating on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market 12 months ago.
Last July it bought Gloucester-based historic UK spectacle lens company Norville for £2.4m after it fell into administration and four months later snapped up German firm Eschenbach Optik for €94.85m (£84.78m) in a move that propelled it to as position as one of the world’s leading eyewear companies.