By Jillian Urcelay

JU: Your mission of planting trees has led Eco to become one of the first carbon negative eyewear brands in the world. Can you explain what exactly this means and how it became possible?
Early on during the creation of the Eco brand, we decided to take a holistic approach—not only would the materials be sustainable, but we would also activate a social responsibility cause in line with our environmental belief. We therefore selected a 1x1 model by planting a tree for every frame sold through a partner NGO. Thanks to the success of Eco, we were able to scale our tree planting activities to over 3.3 million and counting. Last year, our NGO Trees for the Future shared a report by the Forestry Department of the University of Michigan that indicated the final effect of carbon offset generated by our program. An outstanding 154 million kilograms of CO2 have been offset thanks to our activities—making each of our Eco frames carbon negative many times over! We are so incredibly thankful to our customers who have given us the scale to create such an incredible impact. This is just the beginning.


As one of the original eco-friendly eyewear lines, how do you feel about the continued growth the industry is making in terms of creating more sustainable eyewear collections?
Quite honestly, I was very shocked that it took so long! After our initial launch many years ago, I expected to see a lot of similar concepts coming to market. It has taken a long time for others to follow. I am happy to finally see a greater awareness. We are feeling the responsibility of leading the sustainable eyewear industry by always staying innovative and resourceful in order to make a greater difference at every step. We have been blessed with a community of customers and final consumers that have supported us in this incredible journey.

What materials do Eco Biobased and Eco Ocean frames, cases and packaging use to make them sustainable?
We have three main categories of materials that we use in the production of our eyewear—bio-based, recycled and ocean waste. We are proud to be leading the sustainable eyewear movement by representing every possible material with a real and tangible impact. We believe in certifications, and since the beginning of our journey we have been obsessed with following rigorous standards. In packaging, we were the first eyewear company to look at the poly bags single use waste, creating the first sustainable alternative that we are now using across all of our brands. Our responsibility is to constantly revaluate each material, each touch point in order to always improve and lead.

On a personal note, how does this huge accomplishment of being one of the very first eyewear brands to reach carbon negativity make you feel?
It feels amazing! When we went deep into our impact last year, we had a wow moment. We were marching ahead with all these massive numbers of trees being planted, and when we finally realized that over 154 million kilograms of CO2 were offset so far, it was a magical moment. Not only for me but also for the entire Modo team responsible for making this happen, and for all the customers and final consumers making this possible. Purpose is one of our three pillars (design, innovation and purpose). We feel so grateful to have started this journey the way we did and to enjoy these amazing results. However, we really believe that we have just started and that so much more work has to be done. We are so excited about the future.

Finally, what is Eco’s next goal and how do you plan on achieving it?
Our next goal is to create a higher consumer awareness. It often happens that when I tell the story to someone who is not in the industry, they always react by saying, “Wow! How come I didn’t know about Eco?” I have no doubt that we need to broadcast our story with a louder voice to create more awareness from the part of final consumers. The community is growing but the sky is the limit. I believe that Eco can become the most successful independent brand in the eyewear industry, and we are ready to work hard to make that happen.  ■