The impact the Coronavirus pandemic is having on our daily lives is almost immeasurable and there will be aspects that will never go back to normal. The stream of consciousness around sustainability in recent years cannot be allowed to lose any momentum.

Prior to the pandemic, there was a tangible shift in public thinking about the impact everyone’s lives were having on the planet. My worry is that this will be forgotten, a concern prompted by images of birds of prey caught up in facemasks and plastic gloves strewn over supermarket car parks. Yes, that’s the worst of society and hopefully a short-term problem, but when you consider how some have behaved during lockdown, hope is somewhat dashed.

Images of wildlife returning to long-forgotten areas, blue skies over Beijing and an expected 8% drop in global CO2 emissions for 2020 should serve as inspiration for all of us to have a major rethink about our daily lives and businesses, because optics as whole doesn’t fair too well.

Let’s take one small example of an everyday practice transaction – spectacle purchasing. Before that frame arrives in practice, it will have already been building its own carbon footprint, from point of manufacture to logistics. Many frames arrive from suppliers with two small sheets of plastic on each temple and then the whole frame inside a plastic sleeve, the recycling of which is more complex or often impossible. And what do you do with dummy lenses if they come back from the lab after glazing.

If and when the financial challenges of the next few months are successfully negotiated, optics, and I include Optician in that, has a responsibility undertake a thorough review of its workings. Hoping that anything positive can emerge from a devastating pandemic may seem strange, but let’s hope it leaves a lasting impact on the way we think about sustainability.