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22 Jan 2024

Net Zero Optics Wins Supplier of the Year.

Practice Building Limited Stand: D52
Net Zero Optics Wins Supplier of the Year.
Practice Building Founder Andy Clark, centre, with his son, Net Zero Manager Andrew Clark, left, and daughter, Practice Building Director Lucy Clark.
It’s a family affair as Practice Building scoops the Supplier of the Year Award

Family-run Practice Building has won Optical Supplier of the Year in the 2023 Optician Awards announced on Wednesday, December 6. The company has won the accolade just 10 months after launching 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 Optician award is the second for the programme which won 100% Optical’s Sustainability Innovation Award in February.

The programme came about when Practice Building founder Andy Clark, his son Andrew, an experienced ecologist, and daughter Lucy, a Practice Building director, decided that the biggest threat to the planet was waiting for somebody else to fix it and the Net Zero programme was born.

Since the programme launch at 100% Optical, there are now 83 practices and 10 manufacturers who have successfully completed the programme, with many more working on it in the UK, Italy and Canada.

Andy said: “Winning the most prestigious award in our sector is a team’s dream come true. When that team is also your two kids, for me that’s just magical.”

In announcing the winner, the judges said that Practice Building had wowed them with its innovative approach to achieving goals through science and evidence-based work with their clients. They emphasised that the company had helped practices become more sustainable with a ‘how-to-do-it attitude and a practical approach.’

Net Zero Manager, Andrew Clark, said: “I am so, so proud of what we’re achieving through the Net Zero Optics programme, and our not-for-profit organisation, Net Zero Eyecare. In just 10 months, we’re engaging with every level of the industry and catalysing real action in sustainability, helping businesses work towards clear, achievable targets, and make a powerful positive impact on the planet.

“To have that work recognised by the Optician Awards means an awful lot and the award itself will help propel us on our mission to unite the industry towards a common goal of sustainability.”

Director Lucy Clark added: “We only launched the programme in February and it really has been a team effort to make it as successful as it is already. Everyone asks me ‘how it is to have a family business and your dad as a business partner?’, well I can honestly say I wouldn’t have it any other way. Andy and I make a great team and having my brother on board bringing his knowledge and expertise to the business is a privilege. I can’t wait to see what is next.” 

The programme begins with Practice Building doing an analysis to cut the practice’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. A carbon reduction plan is drawn up which is a requirement of the NHS Quality in Optometry Protocol and the carbon that cannot be reduced 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.

A practice that has successfully followed the 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 launched the not-for-profit Net Zero Eyecare company to verify the certification achieved and provide 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.

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