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Going Green: People4Ocean


Find out how this Australian company created sunscreen products that protect a lot more than just your skin.

Sunburn is a big risk in Australia. The Cancer Council says that it can take just 11 minutes to get sunburnt on a nice summer day.

This is largely because of the high ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels in Australia, which increase the risk of sunburn and can cause many types of skin cancer.

It's also why so many of us put sunscreen on before going to the beach, having picnics or doing anything else outdoors.

Unfortunately, some sunscreens contain ingredients that damage coral reefs and other sea life.

This has led to a growth of "reef-friendly" options, including the entire range of People4Ocean products that are also cruelty-free, use natural ingredients and support reef conservation initiatives. We caught up with People4Ocean co-founder and sustainability director Louise Laing to find out more.

photo of People4Ocean sustainability director Louise Laing

What does your company do and how is it green?

"People4Ocean (P4O) creates eco-conscious, reef-safe and all-natural sun care products co-formulated by marine biologists and Australian spa brand LaGaia Unedited.

"By combining the latest research in marine ecotoxicology and skin science, we are able to provide clean, highly performing and environmentally friendly sun protection with a unique sophisticated twist.

We believe being sun smart shouldn't involve applying chemicals to your skin, instead it should be simple and safe for all skin types.”

Louise Laing, People4Ocean

"We [also strive] to reduce our impact as a company.

"Local manufacturing, carbon footprint, biodegradability, ecotoxicity, marine safety, health benefits and safety, packaging composition, packaging afterlife, recyclability, carbon-neutral shipping, carbon compensation, kickback to environmental projects are part of the growing list of criteria we constantly work on as a company."

What inspires you and your business to be green?

"Being Green" (and blue!) is something inherent to the People4Ocean business model, where long-term sustainability is present every step of the way and inseparable to profits.

"In fact, we consider environmental achievements 'a kind of profit' and value them as [much as financial profit]. The donations allocated to reef conservation are a key parameter in our quarterly company reports."

For us, there is no alternative to green business.”

Louise Laing, People4Ocean

Why is being green personally important to you?

"I don't consider myself green, I simply care for the home I live in. And by that, I mean our home to us all, planet Earth.

"After all, we all (humans, plants and animals) share this planet and have (as far as we know) no other home.

"Many of us take for granted the free – yet vital – services provided to us by healthy ecosystems: clean air, fresh water, food from the land and the oceans. I try to remember this every day and always put my place on Earth in perspective."

...Our Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and we humans have only arose 300,000 years ago. This makes you realise how we need this planet more than this planet needs us.”

Louise Laing, People4Ocean

Could you describe 1 small step people could take towards being greener?

"Plant more trees! And if you don't own a garden, another good way to mitigate your impact on the planet is to reduce your consumption of animal products, particularly red meat.

"A big chunk of our individual carbon footprint comes from what is on our plate. Eating less meat, and more plant-based meals is a huge first step.

"Then try to source your foods as local as possible (same state) and in season. If you are into seafood, a good sustainable seafood guide is the GoodFish app from the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

"Not many people think of it, but we have a climate-friendly alternative to beef and pork here in Australia: kangaroo.

Kangaroos produce far less greenhouse gas methane than the cattle brought over by European settlers, and their jumping feet don't damage the fragile Australian topsoil like the hard hooves of cows and sheep.”

Louise Laing, People4Ocean

"Although kangaroos are a protected species, there are so many of them that they are widely regarded as pests, and they are hunted by professional shooters according to a strict quota system.

"As a French born, I am surprised it is not more popular among Aussies as it is low in saturated fats, full of iron, free-range and organic. And if you don't overcook it, it's magnificently tender."

What is 1 resource that you think people should read/watch/consume to understand more about sustainability and going green?

"I know this is the era of reading, watching and consuming… but with nature, the best way to learn and understand is to turn everything off and contemplate. So put on some hiking shoes and go for a walk in the forest, along the nearest river or meadow and just sit and watch.

"And if you really feel like learning about nature from your couch, I recommend all of the BBC documentaries narrated by Sir David Attenborough (Our Planet, Blue Planet, Our Earth, etc). They will blow your mind and most importantly remind you that there is still beautiful wilderness out there.

"Documentaries narrated by Brian Cox are also worth the watch. Also on Netflix, Kiss the Ground and Fantastic Fungi are what we strongly recommend."

Want more info and tips for making greener choices? Check out the Finder Green homepage.

More from Finder Green

Image credits: Getty Images, Supplied (People4Ocean)

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