A decade ago the Dutch strategist and brand entrepreneur Allard Marx was fulfilling a dream by building the delfino feroce (fierce dolphin) convertible sports car in Italy. In looking for clean energy solutions for the car, he discovered there was no ‘carbon footprint’ for the ocean, so decided to do something about it. With expert help, he developed an equivalent ‘aquatrail’, and created UK charity, The Going Blue Foundation, which encourages those going green to ‘go blue too’ along with a marine positive certification.
‘Our oceans are under siege,’ Allard Marx tells NOW. ‘Not only from plastic and microbeads, but also from sunscreen, which is estimated to account for 10% of coral damage globally.’
It was a 2008 study on the toxic effects of sunscreen on coral reefs by renowned marine scientist Prof. Roberto Danovaro that prompted Marx to combat ocean pollution by creating a coral-safe sunscreen, changing the course of the industry. Aethic Sôvée is the world’s first and only patented eco-compatible sunscreen, scientifically proven to leave the marine ecology intact.
‘Vague “protects well’ or “eco-friendly” waffle just isn’t good enough for consumers today, who demand and deserve scientific peer-verified evidence to support product claims,’ says Marx, challenging ‘an industry that is riddled with misinformation, spurious unsubstantiated claims and over-hyped products’. ‘That is the approach we took when investing heavily in using the best sun filters available to protect skin, the world’s only eco-compatible patent, marine positive certification and the other efforts we are making to diminish our water pollution ‘acquatrail’ with Aethic Sôvée.’
Aethic Sôvée combines photo stable triple-filters to give a good broad spectrum sun protection, with organic moisturisers (olive oil, beeswax and coconut extract) and skin-nourishing antioxidant vitamin E to create a non-greasy and easily absorbed, luxurious scented cream. What’s more, it boasts no nano particles, no alcohol, no parabens, no titanium dioxide, no zinc oxide, no petroleum emollients, no lanolin, and no animal testing.
‘Sunscreen is the first connection we make with the ocean, so what’s on our skin has a direct impact on the water,’ says Marx. ‘Aethic Sôvée is for people who care about their skin, but also about our planet.’
COMO Cocoa Island resort in the Maldives is one of the first to stock Aethic Sôvée and it’s the only sunscreen endorsed by Blue Flag International and its supported by WWF/Coral Triangle.
In recyclabled PE bottles made from sugar cane in a glue-less box made from sustainable Swedish paper with water- based food-grade inks and compostable clear film, Aethic Sôvée is also marine positive certified (doing more good than harm to the marine ecology). It ‘ultra-off-sets’ its transport-only aquatrail with donations to marine projects, and The Going Blue Foundation’s ‘Coral is Moral’ campaign calls for a ban on coral-killing oxybenzone sunscreens.
‘Looking after the ocean and its vibrant marine ecosystem, is a no-brainer for beach resort hotels,’ says Marx. Although many have banned the use of non-bio-degradable sunscreens, according to Marx, eco-friendly terms such as ‘biodegradable’, can be misleading. Sunscreen ingredients may degrade but still be harmful to the environment, and natural/organic/mineral sun filters sound great, but may still kill marine life.
‘It just takes one free-floating toxic nano particle commonly found in sunscreen to trigger a viral epidemic in the algae that feeds the coral, and decimate an entire reef,’ he explains. ‘It’s like saying its ok to give people a glass of water with arsenic in it.’
In 2018, Aethic will create the first ever sunscreen using a naturally-occurring sun-filter – Photamin®, which extracted from sustainable seaweed, is scientifically proven to protect skin, as it protects organisms such as coral and fish in the ocean.