Tracey's Story

I grew up in the bush in Central Queensland, where my family lived a simple life and spent lots of time outdoors, camping, riding bikes and bush walking. This is where my love of nature began.

Later in my career in corporate communications, I worked in Indonesia where I was exposed to the impacts of international trade on sustainability and social justice, particularly in developing nations.

While in Indonesia in the 90s, I ventured into the heart of Tanjung Puting National Park in the south of Kalimantan. This peninsula of jungle is where a young Birute Galdikas arrived in 1971 under the mentorship of Professor Louis Leakey, beginning 42 years of relentless endeavour to save the orangutans and their forests. Without the work of Dr Galdikas and the Orangutan Foundation International and its supporters, this tiny haven of jungle would have disappeared like the thousands of clear-felled hectares pressing at its boundaries.

  • "I looked into the eyes of this vulnerable orangutan and pledged to do something to be part of the solution."

For many years I incubated the concept of a business that would be part of the solution to the world's environmental problems and fuel my entrepreneurial spirit. That led to the wonderful day in 2003 when went live from my lounge room, Australia’s first online eco store! I had faith that consumers wanted to make more environmentally and socially responsible choices, they just did not know where to start or how to trust the claims. Two years later, Biome expanded to our first brick-and-mortar store in Brisbane, followed over the years by three more stores in Brisbane, one on the Gold Coast and one in Melbourne. 

  • "We have grown organically and with a lean budget. For many years, we never purchased boxes to ship our orders. I gathered used cartons from dumpsters!"

Today, Biome is a certified B Corporation that supports over 100 passionate employees and hundreds of small suppliers. We help customers save over 12 million single use plastic items from waste every year, we launched Australia’s first Naked Beauty Bar help people make their own package free skin care, and we were the world’s first 100% palm oil free retail store.

That brings us back to that silent promise to the orangutans.  The palm oil industry is decimating some of the planet’s last wilderness, killing endangered orangutans, tigers and other animals, and causing global warming. After 14 years of asking companies to declare palm oil use on their packaging, or to not use palm-oil derived ingredients, we acted. Working closely with assistance from Palm Oil Investigations (POI), we eliminated from Biome hundreds of personal care, cosmetics and cleaning products that contained hidden palm oil ingredients.

  • "After countless hours of questioning and delving, Biome became the world’s first POI approved retailer – a milestone we are incredibly proud to have achieved."

When I feel overwhelmed by the pressures of the competitive retail industry, I try to remember what Dr Galdikas endured and achieved. How she dared to dream, and helped our planet. We can all do something to help the environment each day in our way.

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