Did you know that buying a hoody could help save the oceans?
Or that investing in a new hat could not only keep you warm, but also help rehabilitate turtles?
Looking after our planet can really be as simple as making a few clicks online.
Although marine conservation tends to conjure up images of volunteers at sanctuaries by sun-kissed beaches, or campaigners picking up litter, or activists patrolling the seas, there are easier ways to get involved.
I’ve noticed a number of businesses on social media who pride themselves on their beach vibes and their passion for the world around us. There are a lot of ‘eco-friendly’ companies out there, but no so many people are aware of them.
I’d love to see more of this kind of thing, so in an effort to spread a bit of good in the world, here’s my top three…
‘We believe the beach lifestyle is something you never have to grow out of. For us, the beach means freedom, friendship, and communing with nature. It’s a place to express your unique individuality and style while you share good vibes. Every day at the beach replenishes your spirit so you can live your life with passion.’
Sand Cloud was the first company that made me start thinking about businesses who try to give something back.
They were founded on Instagram and Snapchat, and their growth is largely thanks to their community of ‘ambassadors’ who buy products and post Insta-worthy photos online.
Everything about Sand Cloud links to the beach – their name, their product photos, their reviews, their mission statement and of course, the products themselves.
Their range is small but focused. It includes bold tie-dye towels, ocean-inspired jewellery, summer inspired phone cases and reusable water bottles with wooden lids boasting the slogan ‘Save the Fishes’.
How do they do that?
Well, Sand Cloud say that they donate 10% of their net profits to preserve marine life.
10% is a pretty hefty chunk and they’re clear about where that money goes – namely, that it will be donated to key organisations which share their mission.
Their website lists four organisations in the US:
- The Marine Conservation Institute which ‘uses the latest science to identify important marine ecosystems around the world and then advocate for their protection’
- The Surfrider Foundation which ‘works to protect and preserve our world’s oceans and beaches’ with focuses including water quality, beach preservation, beach access and marine ecosystems
- The Pacific Marine Mammal Center which ‘specialises in the rescue, and rehabilitation of marine mammals’
- The San Diego Coastkeeper which ‘restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County’
What I love about Sand Cloud is their sheer passion for marine ecosystems, beautiful coastlines and the beach lifestyle.
Their website is bright and positive and, yes, I want most of their products. They even have a section where you can apply to be an ambassador and help to spread the message about their work.
Is there anything I don’t like?
They’re based in the US, so it looks like I’ll be paying extra in shipping costs…
Devocean Co (Devoted to the Ocean)
‘…we have a vision of a world where our oceans are clean and free from pollution. All of our efforts as a social enterprise are intended to raise awareness about the growing fragility of marine habitats and encourage people to take immediate action’
Devocean share the same passions as Sand Cloud, except this business is pretty clear that their main focus is on sea turtle conservation.
Founded in 2015, Devocean now donate a staggering 20% of their net profits. These funds are sent in the direction of the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Florida, and the associated non-profit organisation, Friends of Gumbo Limbo.
This Nature Center sits on twenty acres of protected barrier island and is home to a museum and small aquariums, but what’s great is that the research centre itself welcomes visitors, with scientists happy to talk about their work.
Gumbo Limbo is apparently best known for protecting sea turtles and the beaches of South Florida serve as a nesting habitat for four different types.
What I didn’t realise before, is that every species of sea turtle alive today is either classified as threatened or endangered.
So, for over three decades, the sea turtle conservation team have been going to the aid of sick and injured turtles, trying to rehabilitate them and boost the population numbers.
Devocean are, again, US based (*sighs*) but, impressively, they ship to over 210
countries so being a UK customer isn’t a worry. Similarly to Sand Cloud, they sell both women’s and men’s clothing (focusing on tops and hoodies), beach inspired jewellery (with beads and woven bracelets aplenty), and hats.
And so by buying one of their products, we can help them remain totally ‘devoted’ to marine conservation.
As both Sand Cloud and Devocean are US based, I was determined to find a similar company in the UK. After trawling through the internet, I finally stumbled across…
‘You can trace the clothing we make from seed to shop, watch it being made and at the end of its life, send it back and cash in the material value as store credit. Our award-winning ethical clothing is made from organic or recycled materials in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory […] Rapanui make it easy for our consumers to shop quickly with a conscience’
Rapanui clothing started in 2009 in a shed in the Isle of Wight. Created by two brothers (Mart & Rob Drake-Knight), Rapanui was launched with just £200 and a vision of a business that made a contribution to sustainability (and conveniently solved their ‘youth unemployment’ problem)!
A year later, they launched a summer collection with their first range of organic, ethical and wind-powered clothing that ‘was not uncool’. They subsequently moved from a shed to a garage, employed some more people and then decided to do a little bit extra…
As free divers, the brothers were noticing more and more ‘bad stuff’ floating about in the seas around them. Around that time, fishing boats regularly started set-netting close to shore, at one point leaving 12 miles of nets in a 3 mile bay. Fish stocks plummeted and the last straw came when a fishing boat actually dropped a net over them when they were diving in 20ft of water.
Enough was enough.
In 2011, Rapanui reached out to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), who they now call their ‘go-to crew in the wolf pack for all things aquatic’. As a result, they created limited edition MCS t-shirts and give the charity half of their profits from this range.
For anyone who’s not familiar with the MCS, firstly where have you been??
The MCS are an amazing UK charity which cares for all things marine both on the coast and further off-shore. They call themselves ‘the voice for everyone who loves the sea’ and their main projects include campaigning for cleaner water, more sustainable fishing, and the conservation of endangered and threatened marine species. The MCS was a perfect pairing for the ocean-loving brothers.
In the years since, Rapanui have created t-shirts for Bestival, launched a physical retail outlet, designed a hoody worn by Sir Ranulph Fiennes in his Antarctica trek, created eco-labelling and launched a campaign to get the EU to make it law, and created more bespoke t-shirts to support various environmental charities and campaigns.
They’ve been praised by Sir David Attenborough, who called their work ‘a most interesting and valuable project’ and Sir Richard Branson, who said they were ‘in my list of the top 50 global eco companies’.
So while they don’t donate 10 or 20% of all their net profits to marine conservation like Sand Cloud and Devocean, they are making huge waves when it comes to creating trendy, ethical fashion and creating bespoke ranges to support the organisations and charities they care about.
I’m sure there are plenty of other companies out there who support marine conservation and I’d love to know more of them so please comment below with any other suggestions, especially if they’re based in the UK!
Fancy a browse?