Essilor, the world’s leading ophthalmic optics company, announces the creation of the Vision For Life program, a pioneering step in the company’s mission to improve lives by improving sight. The Group has committed 30 million Euros to this initiative, making it the largest global strategic giving program dedicated to eliminating Uncorrected Refractive Error (URE).
URE, or poor vision, is the most common disability in the world, and an estimated 2.5 billion people do not have the vision correction they need. Visual impairment has significant social and economic repercussions – the latter calculated to be worth as much as USD 272 billion in lost global productivity1 per year.
Vision For Life is a strategic giving program that aims to accelerate initiatives targeting poor vision through awareness-raising, capacity-building and the creation of basic vision care infrastructure. The sustainable development of local vision care will create jobs, help alleviate poverty and bring socio-economic development to individuals and the communities in which they live.
“The launch of the Vision For Life program is a natural sequel to the creation of our Corporate Mission division in 2013 and provides impetus to our efforts to bring good vision to everyone, everywhere in the world. By addressing the vast unmet vision correction needs, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of individuals and on human development worldwide.” said Hubert Sagnières, Chairman and CEO of Essilor International.
In line with its ambition, Vision For Life will fund various types of public interest projects. These range from community vision care actions led in cooperation with nonprofit organizations, including local Essilor foundations, to the setting up of vision centers and skills development in areas without access to primary eye care. The program will also support public awareness campaigns and advocacy to drive better understanding of the importance of good vision.
“We are very excited to be marking a new page in the history of the fight against poor vision,” commented Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Essilor’s Chief Corporate Mission Officer. “Vision for Life is a global strategic giving program that will fund, monitor and measure the impact of projects showing the most potential to scale up and improve the lives of as many people as possible through improved access to vision care.”
The Vision For Life program will be administered by two nonprofit entities, the Essilor Social Impact Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation in the USA and the Essilor Social Impact fonds de dotation (endowment fund) in France. A governing board for each entity will decide the allocation of funding for projects in accordance with their respective investment criteria.