Jimmy Fairly Sunglasses – The Jody

overall rating:

1

planets

Yasmin Gulamhusein
6/30/2021
No items found.

Ads for Jimmy Fairly Sunglasses kept cropping up on my Instagram and it seemed like my algorithm was very keen for me to take a look and purchase some of their “sustainable & loveable” eyewear so... I decided to take a look. At first I was impressed with their beautiful designs and carefully curated website which shares information about their eco acetate and biodegradable packaging; I was also interested by their one-for-one program where they donate a pair of glasses for each one brought. However, I’m glad I decided to take a deeper look into their practices before forking out $180 for one pair of sunglasses! At a quick glance they seem like a super sustainable company, but I think they still have very far to go in terms of being 100% transparent and clear about what their sustainability practices actually entail. 

What it's made of:

1.5

The Jody Sunglasses are made from a bio-acetate frame, which is why Jimmy Fairly calls their eyewear “sustainable and loveable.” On their website they state that their new 2021 collections, which The Jody is part of, are made from eco acetate which “combines the beauty and qualities of acetate with a plant-based and biodegradable composition.” They don’t share too much information about the composition of this eco acetate but reference their manufacturer, Mazzucchelli, on their website. Mazzucchelli is an Italian company who manufactures this bio-acetate, so I decided to take a deeper look at what their material is actually made of. Their M49 Bioplastic, the star of their company, is “composed of cellulose acetate and a plasticizer of vegetable origin” as opposed to the traditional plasticizer derived from petroleum. This makes the material both bio-based and biodegradable, a distinction which Mazzucchelli is quick to point out. Being bio-based means that the material has a natural origin of at least 68% and being biodegradable means that after 115 days of incubation the glasses have biodegraded at least 90% according to the criteria from UN-EN-ISO (the Italian standard). 

So, these bio-based and biodegradable frames sound pretty great, but are they really? At first glance they sound awesome, but I think Jimmy Fairly is missing out on a few things. Firstly, they say that their glasses are biodegradable so that means they’re not sitting in landfills for eternity; this is technically correct… but I think it could do with some further clarification. Being biodegradable means that the glasses will eventually break down, however, they need certain conditions in order to break down. Neither Jimmy Fairly nor Mazzucchelli is clear about what these specific conditions are, which means that the customer is probably not too sure about how to effectively dispose of the glasses either. Furthermore, Jimmy Fairly doesn’t give much information about the composition of their lenses either – are those biodegradable as well? This makes it extremely difficult for the customer to know what parts of the glasses to dispose of where and how to do it. It’s all very well for Jimmy Fairly to brand their glasses as biodegradable, but I think they should take care to provide detailed information about how to dispose of their glasses because at the moment who knows if their products actually end up decomposing after usage.

Jimmy Fairly also shares that they’ve stopped using single use packaging boxes and package their products in a reusable tote bag which they say is made from recycled materials. Since they have to package the actual glasses in a small bag in order to protect them, they say that they’ve changed these bags to a biodegradable material. They don’t share the exact composition of these bags, but most of the time biodegradable bags must be disposed of in a certain way to ensure they don’t just end up sitting in a landfill, and again they don’t share the exact steps to do this.

I’m going to award The Jody Sunglasses 1.5 planets for this category as I think they are on the right track to going above and beyond in sustainability practices, but haven’t quite reached there yet. I think they use a lot of sustainability buzzwords, but don’t share enough information about how to go the extra mile in ensuring that they actually follow through.

How it's made:

1

The Jody Sunglasses are designed in Paris, the acetate is made in Italy or China, and the hinges are made in Germany, but Jimmy Fairly doesn’t share the name or location of where their lenses are made. These components are all made by other manufacturers and are then assembled in Jimmy Fairly’s workshop in France. The company doesn’t provide any specific information about which glasses and which types of acetate are manufactured in Italy and which are manufactured in China. This is a red flag to me, as producing the materials in China and then assembling them in France definitely releases a lot more carbon emissions than producing in Italy. I think that they should definitely be more transparent about this!

The process of making bio-acetate is long; it starts from harvesting crops, creating a resin, synthesizing this with the plasticizers, adding in color, casting, slicing the acetate into sheets, a process called heat stabilization, and then finally cutting the acetate into frames. I could not find any specific data points about how much energy goes into the process, but I’m guessing quite a lot, as well as the transport emissions of getting the materials from one place to another! On their website Jimmy Fairly states that all of their shops, workshops, and offices have “100% green electricity.” I think that this is misleading. From my understanding, this means that the Jimmy Fairly owned buildings are run on green energy, however, the bulk of the production and the processes that require the most energy take place in the factories of the individual manufacturers who create the acetate and hinges; there is nothing to say that these factories are run on green energy. Therefore, I think that this phrasing is very misleading. Jimmy Fairly is not saying anything untrue, but the customer would have to look closely to know that the bulk of the components are most likely not made with green energy. This is why I’m giving them 1 planet for this category. They should be much more transparent about the location of their partner factories, what this “green energy” is, and which factories are run on this green energy. After all, if Jimmy Fairly wants to call themselves a sustainable company, they should be doing everything in their power to be more environmentally-friendly!

Who makes it:

0.5

Jimmy Fairly gives the names of all their partner manufacturers, but that’s where the transparency about the production process stops. There is no further information about the people who manufacture the many components and then finally assemble the glasses; Jimmy Fairly doesn’t even boast a workplace certification like most other companies do. They do state that their production partners are the “leaders in their sector” but no further information is given. Therefore, I’m giving them a 0.5 for this category; they share the basic information about location, however don’t share anything beyond that. To match their goal of being a sustainable company, I believe they also need to be more transparent about their production practices.