January 25, 2021
Claude Joulot, President
Claude Joulot knows Essilor like the back of his hand: he has worked in the company since 1993, first as a financial controller and as a business manager in the Asian market, before taking up his current position: president of Essilor® Sun Solution™, the SUN plano division of the group. He spoke to 20/20 EUROPE about the Group’s innovations in the field of plano sun lenses, explaining what this part of the business has come to represent for the company.
Q: Why is the sun plano lenses field exceptionally important for Essilor today?
A: If I look into numbers and statistics, we have 1,6 billion prescription wearers in the world with a potential of 2.5 billion who are not yet equipped; there are 1,3 billion wearers of plano lens with a potential of 3,2 billion more wearers. The potential in sun plano lenses is as big as in the RX field.
Q: There is still a growing interest in visual performance in sports activities? Why?
A: There is a growing interest in and attention to a healthier lifestyle, UV protection – for kids too - and in everything related to “green issues” and “sustainability”. Sport is really part of those interests; even the fashion world is taking steps to be more eco-friendly to help safeguard the planet.
Q: To what extent have technological advances been key in order to make this qualitative “leap”?
A: Innovation is first introducing new technology for the lens materials; but it is also crucial in the way the lenses are designed, the way we discuss developments with our sunbrand partners, and in the way we listen to them and share with them the most innovative ways for designing “sun performance”.
Q: What could you tell us about E-SUN™ KOLOR-UP™ technology?
A: E-SUN™ KOLOR-UP™ is one of the main results of this innovative approach for designing sun lenses. Besides colour enhancement, we are also experts in photochromic and therefore we managed to mix precise colour enhancement, photochromic, and Polar: in the end, it is always about innovation, and trying to have a better vision, better sports performance, and a healthier life. When someone buys a pair of sunglasses, it is an impulse purchase most of the time; the reason for the purchase is sun protection of course but not exclusively; it is also a means to change their vision of the world, and to change the way the world sees them: see better and look better. The “see better” is the reason why we are designing our sun lenses to be the most extraordinary component of a sunglass design. The “look better” is why we try to reinvent every day the magic side of the sunglasses. One of our goals is to help our sun brand customers to transfer those messages to the wearers: it is about redefining the pleasure of seeing and reinventing the pleasure of being seen.
Q: What is No ordinary stories by Essilor® Sun Solution™?
A: It’s really difficult to choose one as an example as they are all ‘no ordinary’ human experiences behind these stories. We select the stories not only for the sport experience itself but most of the time they involve a special message, which is related to charity, the social environment or human rights. Through these stories we want to reinforce the B2B2C message, this is the challenge of the company: people can do extraordinary (no ordinary) things. Everybody can do extraordinary things and good vision is so important to this.
Q: What can you tell us about the collaboration between Peclers Paris and Essilor® Sun Solution™?
A: This is a very successful partnership which has now reached the fourth year of collaboration. The result is the creation of No Ordinary sun lenses with advanced performance, innovative treatments and the most fashion-conscious colours which become a source of inspiration for fashion creatives and eyewear designers – their creativity can then run free. The purpose is to predict the trends, translating creativity and innovation into fashion in terms of colours or design in order to participate more deeply in the creative process of the sunglass collections.
Q: Where do you think the sun plano lenses sector is moving?
A: We want to convince more and more people to protect their vision in the sun; we want to spread the Group message of improving lives by improving sight. In our view, this means extending the fight against poor vision within the sun segment. One of the key topics of our time which also involves eyewear manufacturers is sustainability, and sustainability means longer life spectacles, lower CO2, less packaging, and lower water consumption or energy consumption. In our view, the simplest way to move forward is to produce locally, so staying focused on the Made In Italy products: for us it means having lenses made in Italy, frames made in Italy and spectacles assembled in Italy.