SunButter sunscreen helps protect endangered coral reefs

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Two marine biologists in Australia concerned about the impact of commercial sunscreens on endangered coral reefs have created a chemical-free alternative that protects both people and oceans. 

The five-year-old brand was the brainchild of Sacha Guggenheimer and Tom Hiney, and initially designed for whale shark guides, photographers, spearfishers, divers, and fishermen of the Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. The pair were concerned that chemicals found in common sunscreens were having a harmful impact on the fragile coral reef ecosystem.

Now the product has moved mainstream, available for any consumer to purchase. Buyers of SunButter don’t need to go anywhere near any reefs to have a positive impact, with proceeds of sales channelled into a range of sustainability-related causes.

The sunscreen has the highest-level sun protection factor available (SPF50) but using vegan ingredients which do not penetrate the skin like chemical-based sunscreens. Instead, it creates a physical barrier, reducing the chances of skin reactions and irritation – and it won’t sting if it gets into your eyes. 

SunButter sunscreen helps protect endangered coral reefs
SunButter founders Sacha Guggenheimer and Tom Hiney diving on a reef in Tonga.

​SunButter products are packaged in BPA-free, food-grade safe, ​reusable, and recyclable aluminium tins. Buyers are encouraged to repurpose the tins for storing spices, ground coffee, headphones, or even jewellery.

Over the past year, SunButter sales have saved an estimated 45,206 single-use plastic sunscreen bottles from landfills and donated $11,179 to charitable partners. In a partnership with Greenfleet, tree-planting in Australia and New Zealand has resulted in 61.8 tonnes of carbon offset.

A bush-inspired skincare range from the company contributes 10 per cent of profits to Living Culture, which works to support First Nations culture. 

SunButter SPF50 water-resistant reef-safe sunscreen sells in 100gm tins for AU$29.95 direct from ​SunButter​’s online store

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill is a content writer with more than 30 years of experience in five countries. His style has built upon award-winning success in news and features in the print media to leadership in digital communication, spanning news websites, social media, magazines, brochures, and contributing to books. Recognising the devastating impact of consumer behaviour on the planet and wanting to help make a difference Robert launched Viable.Earth as a platform to celebrate positive contributions by brands, companies and individuals towards reducing environmental impact and improve sustainability – especially in the fields of fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, and transportation.

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