Our Story

THE SHORT VERSION

From Sihanoukville to sydney

Driven by a desire to make a difference

Ozeano is more than just eyewear, it's a global family bound by a love for experiencing the natural world and a deep passion for protecting it. We started out as two travellers left horrified by the sight of a heavily littered beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and our desire to make a difference led to the forming of an environmentally-friendly eyewear brand headquartered on the east coast of Sydney, Australia. Our core objective is to encourage people to see the natural world, whilst ensuring we help to protect its future. We seek to achieve that with our unwavering commitment to provide the highest natural quality eyewear, with the lowest environmental impact.

Over 80% of the Western population wear sunglasses, yet traditional plastic frames take upwards of 450 years to decompose. That's hundreds of millions of virgin plastic sunglasses that are discarded in to our ecosystem and contributing to the pollution problem our planet is facing. We're here to offer an alternative. All Ozeano sunglasses are inspired by (and named after) the beauty of the natural world and are designed and ethically handmade in Australia using a 100% biodegradable plant-based bio-acetate. All accessories are either 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton or FSC-certified Portuguese cork, and all our products are PETA-approved vegan. Our shipping is carbon-neutral, and courier packaging is 100% biodegradable. 

With every sale, we fund the removal of 12kg of marine litter from our oceans and waterways (equivalent to over 900 plastic bottles), as well as funding an eye care operation to restore vision for a person in need. We're a proud gold-standard member of the '1% for the planet' organisation, and our circular economy offering means you can return sunglasses at any time to receive 25% off your next purchase, ensuring our products never go to waste. 

That's where we are today. We don't claim to be perfect, and are constantly evolving in pursuit of finding better ways in everything that we do.

Ozeano's ability to make a difference is only made possible by your support, and for that, no words could possibly portray our gratitude to you.  

Thank you for visiting, and we look forward to welcoming you to the family! 

Ozeano ~ Experience nature, protect its future.

THE FULL STORY

From the very beginning

We're just two people who share a love for exploring and enjoying the natural beauty of our planet. We formed Ozeano (pronounced "o-ze-a-no" and a Basque Spanish word for ‘Ocean’) out of a desire to make a difference. As young backpackers, we first had that desire in 2012 when walking along Serendipity beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and being left horrified by the amount of plastic pollution and litter that had been washed ashore on this otherwise magical part of the world. 


Our experience triggered a feeling of deep sadness, and an obligation to do something about it. From that point on we started to dig deeper in to the problem, and the more we learned, the bigger and scarier it became. We soon realised that our oceans, beaches and precious planet as a whole was literally drowning in plastic waste at an alarming rate. We knew we had to do something, we just didn't really know what, or how.

Ocean litter
Why eyewear?

Having spent a few years researching the issue and contemplating how to help, the Ozeano concept was first formed one Saturday afternoon on Freshwater beach in Sydney, Australia. Whilst aimlessly people watching and noticing everyone's plastic sunglasses, the curious mind thought; "sunnies must create a lot of plastic pollution", and after some investigation, it was soon confirmed that they absolutely do! Estimates suggest over 80% of the Western population wear sunglasses, which means hundreds of millions of plastic sunglasses are bought, worn for a while, then thrown away. The issue is, when they're thrown away, plastic sunglasses take upwards of 450 years to decompose. That got us thinking, if we could inform people about the issue, and offer an eco-friendly alternative to virgin plastic sunglasses, maybe we could be the ones to make a difference for the hundreds of millions of people across the world who are actively contributing to the problem, without necessarily realising it? 


Research in to the eyewear industry was eye-opening, to say the least. When trying to establish whether any of the major brands were offering eco-friendly options, to our surprise, we found that most of the eyewear industry is dominated by just one company. Eyewear brands such as Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue and Versace are either owned. or licensed, by the same company. As well as owning or licensing all those eyewear brands and more, businesses such as LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical are also run by the same company. Once we realised this, it all started to make sense. No wonder none of the major brands were trying to do things differently and offer eco-friendly options. We knew there had to be a better way.  


So that's why we started Ozeano; to offer an environmentally friendly alternative and drive a much-needed positive impact in the eyewear industry. 

Enter Ozeano
Ozeano Vision

And so Ozeano was born. We set a mission to provide the highest quality eyewear, with the lowest environmental impact. Our first foray into the eyewear industry was developing frames made from 100% recycled plastic using an injection-moulding manufacturing system. We loved them, and our first 5 large-scale production runs sold out, but the truth is recycled plastic still creates a lot of waste in the recycling and manufacturing process, and it's still putting plastic back into the environment. Injection-moulding also makes it difficult to achieve the attention to detail and unique quality we demand. So, in a constant drive to find a better way and reduce the environmental impact, we changed everything (except the mission).  


Today, all Ozeano frames are made from innovative 100% biodegradable plant-based bio-acetate. Our frames are designed in Sydney, inspired by the beauty of our natural world, and ethically handmade just a few hours drive up the coast in the last remaining artisanal handmade eyewear facility in Australia. We use GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton for our pouches, and FSC-Certified Portuguese cork for our protective cases. We employ a carbon-neutral shipping provider and use 100% biodegradable courier packaging,


Our mission remains the same to this day, yet our products will likely continually change, as we keep searching for better ways in everything that we do.

optimise for impact, always

The original motivation behind Ozeano was a desire to help solve the ocean and beach pollution problem, dating back to that day on the beach full of trash in Sihanoukville. When forming the company, we agreed on a principle to optimise for impact, always. That means we should never settle, and always be of the mindset that we have to do more to protect our planet. We knew selling environmentally friendly sunglasses alone wasn't enough, we had to increase our impact. That's why we partner with Australian company, the Seabin Project, to fund the removal of 12kg of plastic and marine litter (equivalent to over 900 plastic bottles) from our oceans and waterways with every sale of Ozeano sunglasses, as well as partnering with Australian eye care charity, The Fred Hollows Foundation, to fund eye care operations and restore vision for those in need. Ozeano is a proud member of the '1% for the planet' organisation, meaning we contribute at least one percent of our annual sales each year to supporting environmental causes. Ozeano is also awaiting its B Corporation certification. Certified B Corporations, or B-Corps, are social enterprises verified by B Lab, a nonprofit organisation. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Lab is currently performing a holistic assessment of our organisation, with the certification expected to be awarded in Q4 2020. 


Read more about our impact here