Sponsor Spotlight : Matthias and Trent from Eco Elio
Tell us a bit about yourself 🙂
We are Matthias and Trent – cofounders and managing directors from eco elio! We are an innovative sunscreen founded with the idea of getting more people to wear sunscreen, without being a burden for the planet. Skin cancer rates in most societies continue to grow, and that’s a preventable cancer – if you are undertaking safe sun protection – which means seeking shade, wearing clothing and using sunscreen on exposed skin with a high sun protection factor (SPF). So more sunscreen basically means less cancer. But on the flipside of that, more sunscreen means more negative environmental impact. Sunscreens very often contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment – like microplastics, silicones, PFAs etc. And the filters themselves always have a negative impact on the environment. So we set ourselves the goal to make the most sustainable sunscreen we could – from the packaging to the formulation to the way we run our business. And we think we have done a pretty good job of that!
Why is our cause important to you?
We both have kids, and we have always been active in the water. Trent in Australia – surfing and swimming. And Matthias in the South of Germany sailing. So when designing eco elio, contributing to clean and healthy waterways was a significant motivator for us. So when we came across Coral Guardian, it was a cause that aligned well with our ambitions.
Tell us about your favourite experience or memory in the ocean.
Trent: my favourite experience was actually surfing in Indonesia. It was a right-hander on Lombok. The longest barrel of my life! But I also have to say I got terribly sunburned on that trip – on the back of my legs after spending most of the day in the water, in board shorts paddling around – without sunscreen….
Matthias: During my studies in Singapore in 2007 I had the chance to explore south-east asia. Diving in Raja Ampat just stunned me. Seeing this complex and dense life under water was fantastic. I remember seeing my first pygmy seahorse. I will never forget this magic moment.
What worries you most about the current state of coral reefs ?
Reefs are such an important part of the global natural environment – for fish stocks and maintaining a clean ocean ecosystem. But I think the direct human benefits are also worth mentioning – for tourism and the livelihoods of many millions of people globally that rely on fishing and tourism.
What worries us most is the rising rates of atmospheric CO2 and what that means for ocean CO2 and subsequent acidification. That combined with rising temperatures means that the reef ecosystem is out of historic balance and under massive pressure.
And let’s be honest, sunscreen is not the main contributor here – anthropogenic climate change is. But sunscreen is a contributor – 14,000 tonnes of the stuff land in our oceans and waterways every year. So by reducing the amount of problematic sunscreen ingredients in the natural environment, we can have a positive impact on our oceans.
What gives you hope for the protection of coral reefs?
Awareness is coming. People are making better choices about the products they buy – and they are demanding more from brands. Governments are slowly beginning to make hard choices that society maybe doesn’t want to. So things are moving in the right direction. Are they moving fast enough? That remains to be seen.
How is your company involved in protecting coral ecosystems?
Our formulation is the main contributor – and there are 2 modes of action.
- Through the ingredients that we have not included. As mentioned, microplastics, silicones, PFAs – there are many ingredients in many sunscreens that have no place in the ocean. And by excluding those ingredients from our formula, 86% is biodegradable. As far as we know, no sunscreen can make that claim.
- Through the inclusion of environmentally friendly filters. Our filters are EcoSun Pass approved. It’s a transparent rating system that compares the environmental impact of filters in sunscreen. And it goes way beyond Hawaiian reef safe and really starts to take a deeply scientific view to UV filters and environmental damage. And we are one of only a handful of brands that can say EcoSun Pass approved.
And of course we donate money from every sale of eco elio to Coral Guardian
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