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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 you’re money is going.
Will & Bear
If you’ve been wondering lately where all those Instagrammers are getting their stylish hats, look no further than Will & Bear. Their hats are made from ethically produced Australian wool. What’s even better, for every hat you purchase they plant 10 trees through their partnership with Trees.org. Their hats look amazing on men and women, so even if you gift one to your boyfriend, you can steal it back and wear it yourself.
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.
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, but we think their baby line is a perfect gift for new parents.
Krochet Kids is a social enterprise 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?
An online collection of fair trade fashion, home goods and gifts produced by Malaysian artisans. Batik Boutique a sophisticated selection of bags and clutches, among other gorgeous hand-made items! They also offer 20% for your first order, so check it out!
Fair Trade Shopping and Accessories
Rareform is all about upcycling. They create bags, surfboard cases and wallets made from old vinyl billboards. Each bag is completely unique and a perfect gift for the surfer guy or gal in your life!
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.
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!
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!
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Ethical Travel Gear
Marmot has a great selection of apparel and equipment for the adventurers in your life. The company is committed to their People, Product, Planet philosophy, which focuses on creating durable products, produced sustainably by laborers in fair working conditions.
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.
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!
Gadgets Gifts That Give Back
The Portland Press
Coffee addicts love getting new gadgets and the Portland Press is perfect for those in your life that appreciate the environment as much as a cup of joe. This french press is made in Oregon from sustainable materials and the base is actually a mason jar. Which means if it happens to break, you can just replace it with another mason jar.
Luci Solar Lanterns
In this day and age we all know how awesome solar power is. But getting legit solar panels is a huge investment. Luckily, you can harness the power of the sun with this little lanterns that run on solar! They make a great gift for friends that love camping or just want to get off the grid a little.
Headphones make a great gift because who doesn’t need an upgrade from the crappy white ear buds you get with your iPhone? LSTN not only makes quality headphones, but they actually donate their proceeds to providing hearing aids to people worldwide.
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!
This company has some seriously epic eco-focused trips. From taking a safari in Zambia to cruising along the Ecuadorian Amazon, they’ve got some great adventures on offer. International Expeditions is all about conservation, both within their tours, as well as through donations to local eco-projects.
Butterfield & Robinson
Butterfield & Robinson is focused on slow travel. With their unique biking and walking tours, they give you the time to really get to know a place. Butterfield specializes in luxury tours, so you can be sure you’ll be enjoying the best hotels, restaurants and experiences on offer.
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.
Visit.Org is a great company that offers meaningful and unforgettable travel experiences that help support social organizations around the world. Search their website for a host of different experiences in your own home country and abroad, and purchase one of their gift cards to pass on the gift of travel to someone else.
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!