Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas recognizes that while not everything can be controlled that goes into the oceans, what goes into the waters surrounding each Six Senses property and on our bodies can be carefully managed. In an effort to be locally sensitive at its coastline locations and globally sensible in all environments, Six Senses is initiating a brand-wide ban on all toxic sunscreens and embracing environmentally-friendly and biologically-safer alternatives.
All approved sunscreens have been recognized as 100 percent reef-safe, passing safety measures established from acceptable Environmental Working Group standards and the latest scientific research on coral reef health, Six Senses has also selected products that use plant-based or fully compostable packaging.
As of September 1, 2019, all Six Senses properties will be compliant with providing only sun products that do not pose a threat to marine ecosystems. Whether in the urban setting of Six Senses Singapore, the verdant wine terraced hills of Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal, or the turquoise-blue waters of the Maldives at Six Senses Laamu, the new high-quality sun products will be available for guests through purchase at all spas and boutiques.
Anna Bjurstam, wellness pioneer at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas said, “We’re proud to be the first hotel group to feature a selection of environmentally-safe sun products throughout our organization. We undertook extensive research in selecting the best products on the market that are not only good for the land and ocean, but good for us too. We know that what we put on our skin ends up in our bodies. Multiple studies around the world have examined sunscreen use and the results have shown that significant penetration of toxic chemicals agents into the skin can result in cancer. It was our goal in mandating that all hotels and resorts use the new products that we provide our guests with the healthiest sun products available and that we do the right thing for the earth too.”
According to Marine Life, a marine conservation NGO, there may be up to 82,000 different chemicals from personal products entering the oceans, particularly around areas popular with swimmers and divers. Most sunscreen products are comprised of synthetic chemical ingredients such as Oxybenzone, one of the most hazardous chemicals. Introducing these compounds into the marine environment, along with the current state of ocean acidification and climate change, causes significant damage to corals. This includes a breakdown of defenses against bleaching, damaged DNA, deformities in younger corals, and disrupted endocrine (hormone) systems which ultimately cause toxic concentrations in the aquatic organisms.
Most coral reef-safe sunscreens contain the active ingredients of non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide, protecting the skin by reflecting UVA and UVB rays off the skin like a mirror. These ingredients are not absorbed into skin easily, and as a result provide a longer period of protection for sunbathers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Six Senses has engaged with a dozen brands and over 50 products that meet the established criteria for environmental and human health, with the list growing as more products are found. Six Senses is hoping to use this initiative to not only create an environment of safety for biological communities, but also as a learning environment for guests as they become more aware of safer options. For guests, communication will be shared prior to arrival, informing them of the group’s commitment and suggesting options for use during their stay.
Guest who choose a diving experience will be educated by the Green Fins education material that will be installed in all diving shops. Green Fins is a United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Regional Seas program tool for sustainable tourism in dive operations and water behavior that strives to ensure conservation of coral reefs.