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Shopping for gifts can be hard, so it’s only natural that shopping for ethical and fair trade gifts is even harder! With all the thousands of companies out there it can be hard to find those that are really producing gifts that give back. Luckily we’re starting to see a growing trend in sustainably conscious companies, with more and more companies using their business to do good. From sustainably sourced materials, to ethically manufactured products and donated proceeds, these ethical gifts are actually putting something good back into the world. Not only will you feel like a superhero while shopping, but you can also say you’ve contributed to something positive.
Whether you’re shopping for ethical Christmas gifts or sustainable birthday present ideas, or perhaps a little something for yourself to celebrate Self Care Week (yes, it’s a thing!), this ethical gift guide has you covered.
Ethical Clothing Companies
Not only are Everlane’s clothes super cute and comfortable, but they are ethically and sustainably made. They work directly with factories around the world to ensure fair wages and humane working conditions, and provide background information on each factory that they work with. They also do a complete cost breakdown of their clothing, so you know exactly where your money is going.
People Tree specializes in sustainable and fair trade fashion. They’ve partnered with fair trade producers for over 25 years, which makes them a pioneer in the ethical fashion industry. They have a ton of great items including cozy knit sweaters and environmentally-centered accessories. They also have some really cool gifts for the home like these leather & pine scented candles that turn into a shot glass once finished!
Alternative Apparel is an eco-friendly clothing brand that only uses factories that ensure fair labor practices. They also sell products from a variety of other brands that align with Alternative Apparel’s commitment to sustainability.
Krochet Kids is a social enterprise (with products for kids and adults!) that values the importance of knowing who makes your clothes. Every product is hand signed by the artisan that made it. You can go on the website to see a picture of the maker and read about their story! You can even send them a thank you message to let them know how much you love the product. How cool is that?
Fair Trade Shopping and Accessories
The glasses and sunglasses company that revolutionized the industry with their “try on at home” offer is also a proponent of giving back. Through their “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program, they’ve given away over 3 million pairs of eyeglasses to visually impaired people who can’t afford them. Giving a pair of sunnies to your bff means also giving a pair of someone in the developing world. You go Warby Parker!
Finally, a company that makes ethical accessories that are both stylish and don’t break the bank (the average price of their pieces is $22!)! If you’re an ethical shopper you know that finding the magic trifecta of fashionable, ethical and affordable products is challenging. Well Fair Anita does it so, so well. Since they started in 2015 they have partnered with over 8,000 female artisans in 9 countries to help support their fair trade work. All their products are handmade and the material locally sourced. Two items I can highly recommend are the Beautiful Mess Sterling Silver Necklace, which is made in Peru and won’t tarnish in the sun, as well as their Textured Triangle Earrings from Mexico made from hammered recycled brass! I love wearing these pieces knowing the artisans have been payed well and treated with dignity!
Beauty products from 100% Pure are the perfect gift for whoever in your life likes a little self-pampering. You can feel good giving your loved ones products that are free of nasty toxins and chemicals, as well organic and cruelty free! Personally, we’ve got our eye on the Multi-vitamin Facial Oil (great gift for any gender!) and the Fruit-pigmented Lengthening Mascara!
Jewelry is always a great gift (who doesn’t love a little bling?), but jewelry with a purpose is even better! At Purpose Jewelry every piece in their line is created by a survivor of human trafficking, providing them with a stable income. They also run a nonprofit which provides education, health care and counseling to these young women.
We all know that we should be buying organic fruits and veggies, but have you thought about organic homeware? Conventional cotton used in sheets and towels has a devastating effect on the environment. You can make your home much more eco-friendly by switching to homeware made out of organic cotton, or even better, hemp! Delilah Home has a range of organic cotton and hemp towels, sheets and dog beds so everyone in your family can enjoy. You can rest easy at night knowing your family is having a positive impact on the environment, as well as staying safe from harmful toxins that can come off fabric and on to your skin. Check out their super soft and cozy hemp sheets and their durable and luxurious organic cotton towels.
Ethical Travel Gear
Patagonia is known as being a champion for protecting the environment that their customers love to explore. Less well known is their commitment to ethical manufacturing and employee activism. They walk the walk through all faces of their company.
Yoga lovers all know what a pain in the ass it is to lug a yoga mat around with you while you travel. Nomadix products are part towel, part yoga mat. As a towel they’re quick dry and absorbent. As a yoga mat, they’re slip resistant and lightweight. Plus, they’re made from recycled water bottles. Trust us, your travel-loving friends will adore it.
Easy Gifts Buys That Give Back
Just because you’re putting in the effort to find ethical gifts this holiday season doesn’t mean it needs to be hard! These gifts are all from incredible companies that have give back programs to support social and environmental cause.
These insulated water bottles are perfect for keeping drinks cold (or hot) while you travel. The company is all about protecting the great outdoors that they love, which is why they created the Parks For All campaign. Parks For All gives grants to non-profits that provide greater access to parks.
Travelers who like to get off the grid know how difficult it can be to find clean drinking water. Lifestraw has a variety of products that filter contaminated water so you’re good to drink it. They also do a ton of giving back by providing filtration systems to developing communities. With each Lifestraw purchased, you’re providing one school child with safe drinking water for an entire school year. What a rad gift!
Out of Print
Everyone’s got that nerd in their life that always has their nose in a book (hands up if it’s you! ?) But buying someone a book can be difficult because you’re never sure if they’ve already read it! That’s why Out of Print’s gifts are perfect for book lovers! They have shirts, bags, socks and even onesies with graphics from classic books. Jules and I both love these Harry Potter Socks (click to find out what they have on the bottom!) and our future baby is definitely getting this Goodnight Moon Onesie. The best part is that Out of Print is that for every product sold, they donate a book to communities in need. So far they’ve donated over 3 million books!
Ethical Travel Experiences
Travelers are notoriously hard to shop for, so giving an experience instead of a physical item is the perfect gift for travel-lovers. Check out some of our favorite ethical tour operators for all your sustainable adventures!
Intrepid is the OG of small group, small impact travels. They don’t bus you in and out of a million sites like Contiki (sorry Contiki lovers!), but instead allow you to dive deeper into their destinations to connect with locals. You can go all around the globe with Intrepid and part of their proceeds go to the Intrepid Foundation, their nonprofit fund that works with local grassroots projects around the world.
Similar to Intrepid in that they do small, low impact tours that give back to the local communities they visit. With G Adventures you can search for tours based on destination or categories like “active” “18 to thirty-somethings” or “local living.” It makes it super easy for your gift recipient to find a tour they’ll love!
Tinggly allows you to give the gift of experiences. Whether that’s taking your best friend to a day at a Balinese spa in or sending your parents on a romantic gondola ride for two in Venice, these make great gifts.
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Charities that Give Back
A nonprofit that works to combat poverty worldwide. They have an array of donations you can give as gifts, including education for children, safe water for a village and solar energy for families. Check out their Oxfam Unwrapped page for more information.
If you’re an Oprah fan (uh, who isn’t?!) you’ve probably heard her mention this organization. Hefer International works to fix global hunger. You can actually give the gift of an animal in honor of your friend or family member. Gifting a poor family an animal provides them with a small business where they can sell wool, milk, eggs and more. These are the gifts that keep on giving because with the extra income they’re able to provide food, medicine and education for their family.
Kiva is a nonprofit that provides microfinance loans to business owners around the world. You can give someone a Kiva gift card and they can choose the individual they’d like to lend the loan to. You can search for individuals by category like “single parents,” “refugees,” or “agriculture.” You can also lend future businesses owners money to pay for tuition! The best part is that the lender will pay you back when they’re business is up and running, so you can use that repayment to support another borrower! The giving never ends!
Whether you’re buying a gift for yourself, or sharing the gift of giving during a birthday or holiday season, the Ethical Gift Guide has you covered! Not only will you be giving some truly awesome gifts, but you’ll be putting positive vibes back into the world and supporting some really awesome projects! You go Glen Coco!
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2 thoughts on “Ethical Gift Guide: For The Sustainable Shopper”
Love the idea of this, but Amazon is not an ethical company, and I think it would be MUCH better to link to the actual store (vs. the product on Amazon) to promote ethical shopping.
You’re absolutely right! We’ll be removing those links now 🙂