How Samudra Skin & Sea is Paving the Way for Ocean Awareness
A post from our Founder, Shilpi Chhotray
There is no question that the health of our global ocean is threatened. The ocean covers more than 70% of our planet and scientists believe a whopping 80% of all life is found underwater. Truth be told, we’ve barely seen any of it! According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), only 5% of the ocean has been explored.
But what we do know alarming. At the current rate of pollution, the ocean is projected to have more plastic than fish by 2050 and sea level rise may climb six feet by the end of the century. So what are we going to do about it?
This question has been on my mind since I began my career in ocean advocacy and conservation policy almost a decade ago, when I first began thinking about how everyday citizens can take action to help protect what we value. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scope of problems facing the ocean, such as plastic pollution or acidification. This is where ethical consumerism can help. We all have the potential to make a difference with our wallets, but companies must make it easier for us to make intelligent purchasing decisions. By using an ecologically-informed approach to sourcing, manufacturing, and shipping, brands can ensure their customers don’t have to think twice about making a positive impact– while still enjoying a healthy triple bottom line.
My desire to promote values-based purchasing and ocean conservation culminated in the creation of my mission-driven start-up, Samudra Skin & Sea. Samudra, which means ‘ocean’ in Sanskrit, emphasizes ocean protection as the backbone of our social enterprise. Our skincare products are created with organic and vegan ingredients, and feature locally harvested wild seaweed. By focusing on conservation-driven sourcing, quality ingredients and responsible operations, our goal is to create products that are both ecologically smart and high quality.
Samudra Skin & Seas Ocean-First Business Model
- Sourcing wildcrafted Seaweed. Our seaweed is locally sourced, food-grade, hand-harvested, and dried in the sun. We employ a collection technique known as ‘wildcrafting,’ which means harvesting plants from their natural habitat to ensure quality and conservation go hand-in-hand. Because marine animals need seaweed more than we do, the plants are never uprooted and merely trimmed back once a year.
- Minimalist Design: less is more. We take a serious stance on reducing plastic waste from product design to packaging and shipping. Our goal is to keep our ocean and landfills plastic-free. Samudra’s soap bar in particular, created for hair and body, eliminates the need for bottled shampoos and conditioners.
- Advocacy: marine conservation campaigns. Our core ingredient, wild seaweed, is intricately connected to the health of marine species and the vitality of the ocean. As a part of our mission, we promote ocean awareness campaigns that turn passion into action. For instance, we partner with 5 Gyres, a leading NGO fighting against aquatic plastic pollution by taking action against harmful microbeads found in personal care products. In advocating a bead free lifestyle, we strive to make the issue of combating plastics tangible and accessible with our plant-based products.
- Climate Activism. The rapid increase of greenhouse gas concentrations are driving ocean ecosystems to new conditions we’ve never seen before. Human-caused changes are disrupting the seas so rapidly that marine organisms have little time to adapt. These creatures are not just the charismatic megafauna like whales and dolphins we all love to admire, but organisms like mussels and crustaceans that play a crucial role in the marine food chain. Seaweed, known for its climate absorption properties, provides a strong opportunity to offset carbon in our ocean. Samudra is currently exploring seaweed restoration programs with members of the Blue Business Council.
The ocean is our biggest resource for life on earth and we need to act like it. We cannot continue to be complacent about resource extraction at current levels. When environmental issues are at the heart of a brand, they trickle down through daily motivations and decisions. Companies have no excuse not to use their brand power to drive creative solutions that have a positive impact on the planet. By living a more socially responsible lifestyle, we can all do our part to make a big cumulative difference on our little blue planet.
Shilpi Chhotray is the founder of Samudra Skin & Sea, an ocean-inspired skincare line featuring local and sustainable wild seaweed. By blending personal wellness with ecological integrity, her goal is to bring key issues facing the ocean to everyday consumers and encourage other brands to make the ocean a social responsibility focus. Shilpi also works at Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance where she is helping ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas.