Rui Motty. 2023
Optomerist and CEO Optocentro. Vice President Chamber of Commerce Portugal Mozambique
President and Founding Partner AASO
As founding partner and president of AASO, I extend my cordial greetings and welcome you to the world of optical sustainability.
In substance, the association was born from the will of a small group of interested parties sensitive to the sharing of values for the maintenance of life. Sustainability is also what it takes care of, the maintenance of life. Coming from multiple professional areas and with different interests, they quickly identified that the optics activity, classified as an activity of relevant importance for the well-being of society, is responsible for an impact on the environment that has not yet been effectively determined. If, on the one hand, the industry has instruments to measure the carbon footprint with relative ease, the optical retail, mostly composed of family micro-enterprises, has difficulties in constituting itself as an environmentally responsible ecosystem. This is due to the lack of availability of those responsible to attend to matters other than those arising from daily professional obligations and also the lack of information.
Without major rhetorical exercises, we very quickly became aware that waste from the optics sector is an unquestionable contribution to this global environmental disaster that we are witnessing. The materials used in this industry, contact lenses, ophthalmic lenses and frames, are composed of synthetic polymers with great longevity and slow decomposition when discarded in the environment. Although these devices are indispensable for improving the quality of life, the creation of collection channels for selective referral is an urgent matter. Once the cycle of use is over, if they are left indiscriminately in the environment, they become small lethal time bombs that silently poison the food chain. The understanding of these phenomena led to the birth of AASO, a non-profit institution subordinated to voluntary and collective effort.
If at one end of this ecosystem is the consumer and the different visual needs, at the other, the same consumer completes the life cycle of the different optical devices. Academics, scientists, industry, doctors, optometrists and retail participate in it, directly or indirectly. Indeed, the transversal commitment of civil society gives the AASO its universal and inclusive profile.
AASO's mission is to seek to adapt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda to the optics community. Unify around itself many of the existing projects in the optics market, in the social, environmental and governance areas.
Enthusiasm overcomes barriers. The commitment of the 30 individual and collective founding partners, representatives of academia, industry and the optical trade, is the foundation for this association to fulfill the objectives it proposes. However, if you also accept this challenge, participating as a member of AASO, my conviction is that together, the sky will not have a limit.