Every product you buy as a consumer takes profit and puts that profit in a bank, the only difference with us is, the forest is our bank and our investment is in the future not 'futures'.
Sun Bear Sunscreen is owned by a small Sydney-based company that is proudly Australian made.
About 18 months ago, we were scouting a trip on mountain bikes from Mawlamyine to Yangon in Myanmar, for our adventure travel business. We had just reached the Kyaiktiyo summit, where the Golden Rock sits in a dramatic lean but never falls. Legend says that it's a single strand of Buddha's hair that keeps the rock in place.
After dressing the sacred rock with golden leaf, we were walking back to the hilltop village when a local darted in front of Luke with a suitcase. He knew we weren't his market but needy of a sale he flashed its contents anyway.
In a quick glance, Luke realised they were bear paws and there was no spiritual awakening or lightbulb moment... just a thought that the man, the community and the environment would all be far better of if the bears were alive.
This was the very beginning of Sun Bear Sunscreen. A rational thought in a magical place.
How we got started.
In December 2016, we launched a campaign on Australia's most successful crowd-funding platform, Pozible, to help us raise $45k to make Sun Bear Sunscreen available for sale online, Australia-wide (and internationally) from summer 2017.
We raised this and more - hitting well over $50k. The proof was in the pudding. People wanted to make a difference and Sun Bear Sunscreen was going to happen.
The funds raised through the campaign were used to help cover the first production run of Sun Bear Sunscreen, branding and marketing activities, as well as fulfilment logistics. We had already committed a lot of our own cash to getting this project off the ground but we couldn't do it all ourselves.
Bigger picture, the funds we raised through the Pozible campaign will go towards getting us to a “break even” position as quickly as possible. Because simply put, the sooner we are making profit, the sooner we can start protecting the Sun Bears.
Who are we giving the funds to?
Profits from the sale of Sun Bear Sunscreen will go to Dr Wong Siew Te and his team at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. We have been to see Dr Wong has his team on several occasions now and every time have been blown away with how dedicated they are to saving the Sun Bear. But each time it has been clear they are facing an uphill battle and there is so much more that can be done.
Dr Wong and his team will use the funds raised through the sale of Sun Bear Sunscreen for a series of special projects. The focus of these projects will be release and research activities.
The sanctuary is currently over full and needs to immediately release bears but there are no funds to facilitate this. To release Sun Bears, a helicopter is needed to fly to a mud volcano in the most remote part of the forest. This will give the bears the best chance for survival. They also require satellite collars and a big team to physically carry the bears further into the forest before their final release.
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is also trying to raise funds to create a specialist Sun Bear research base that will be located in the forest where the bears are released.
There is still so little known about this species that this research base is crucial to the bears’ and rainforests survival.
What about our sunscreen?
We have worked with leading Australian scientists to produce a sunscreen that gives you the best possible protection and SPF50+ rating, while also being good for the planet.
Our sunscreen is:
To achieve an SPF 50+ rating our sunscreen is made up of several organic chemical compounds designed to protect from harmful UV rays while still being nice to put on.
Our active ingredients include: homosalate 150mg/g, octocrylene 100mg/g, octyl salicylate 50mg/g, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane 50mg/g, 4-methyl benzylidene camphor 40mg/g.