With Black Friday around the corner and holiday spending rising through the roof, this time of the year can be very stressful. From what to buy, to how much to spend, the holidays are overwhelming. To top it off, with the global trash crisis and an alarming amount of new or barely used goods ending up in landfills, consumption is wreaking havoc on our planet. So if you’re struggling to find gift ideas and want to minimize your impact this holiday season you’ve come to the right place.
Our team loves giving the gift of new experiences – ie. traveling using Behere. But if you don’t have the time or resources to book a trip for you or a loved one, we wanted to share physical gift ideas from companies making a positive impact. We’re super excited about this eco-conscious gift guide, especially because the majority of the brands we’ve included are female-founded.
By paying attention to where your gifts are coming from and what they’re made of means you’ll have a more ethical, eco-conscious holiday season. That’s why we created this eco-conscious, ethical holiday gift guide so you can find brands making a positive impact, to purchase gifts from.
**One other thing we’d like to note is that we encourage shopping local, small businesses that are sustainable and ethical whenever possible. This helps cut down on emissions from shipping and positively affects your community and small business owners.
So, without further adieu, here is our ethical, eco-conscious holiday gift guide for 2019.
Jewelry is always a timeless gift. When buying new pieces though, do you ever think about who made them or where the materials come from?
The jewelry industry has an incredibly negative effect on the planet. Metal and diamond extraction is very destructive and polluting. As well as having a negative environmental impact, there are often inhumane working conditions in the mines and workers are not treated fairly.
However, a new category of jewelry companies are emerging – sustainable ones. Many jewelry producers are now using recycled metals, and diamonds that are being manufactured in labs. So, to help you to find more ethical, sustainable jewelry, we’ve shared the below purpose-driven brands.
Starfish Project is an organization dedicated to helping sexually exploited women by providing them opportunities to change their life. Thanks to their Holistic Care program, they provide healthcare, education, and shelter for these women.
Not only that, but Starfish Project creates an opportunity for them to have a career. These women create all the pieces of jewelry in Starfish Projects online shop. Thanks to Starfish Project they can grow in their careers, becoming managers, designers, and photographers. The company was founded because they believe every individual action that can help is worth doing. If you’re interested in learning more about Starfish Project, check them out at starfishproject.com.
AUrate is a handmade jewelry company based in New York. AUrate’s sustainable philosophy is based on durability, transparency, eco-friendly production and giving back to charity. All their jewelry is made of 100% recycled gold and available in three colors.
AUrate is also very careful in its diamond and pearl production process. They pay careful attention to the working conditions of their employees as well as their environmental impact. Plus, for each piece of jewelry they sell, a book is given to a school in the US. There are three AUrate stores in New York City and one in Washington D.C or you can purchase from their online store here.
Aglaïa & co
Aglaïa & co is jewelry and accessories made in France that are produced sustainably and ethically. They work to minimize their carbon footprint and are working to combat climate change by donating 5% of their profits to various foundations. Moreover, the materials they use are mostly recycled or are from trustworthy sources.
Additionally, their packaging is completely recyclable. They also only sell their products on their website to ensure fair prices. Plus, with each order, you get to choose which charity you want to help. So if you want to give back this year while making a family member or friend happy with beautiful jewelry, check out Aglaïa & co here.
La Luna & Rose
We love that the accessories from La Luna & Rose are designed by a New-Zealander who’s a passionate traveler. Through its creations, La Luna & Rose celebrates life and freedom. After falling in love with the planet and the people she met during her travels, the founder chose to join the global movement, 1% for the planet. This means 1% of La Luna & Rose’s annual sales go towards environmental non-profits in New-Zealand and Bali.
Additionally, La Luna & Rose ensures total transparency and promotes slow, handmade and sustainable fashion. The company cares about the working conditions of the artisans who make their products, and they’re fairly paid/ As well as their closed-loop production, La Luna & Rose uses compostable packaging. In its online shop, you’ll find a selection of jewelry plus sustainable t-shirts and accessories like bags, scarves or towels.
Bird+Stone is a female-founded jewelry company that focuses on giving back. They have already donated over $100K to support their social impact partners. Their partners work in cause areas like women’s health, education for girls, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and more.
Another travel-inspired founding, the Bird + Stone founder was inspired to start it while on a volunteer trip. She then knew she wanted to create a platform that makes it easier for people to support the causes they care about. All Bird+Stone products are ethically made in the US and many from recycled materials. Plus, 10% of every purchase is donated to their impact partners. Check them out here, Bird + Stone.
JoJo Rings is a woman-owned jewelry brand that handcrafts patented jewelry from recycled keys. They also donate $5 of every purchase to charities. Their charity partner changes bi-monthly in order to be able to help a greater amount of people. Additionally, thanks to their focus on reusing items, and sustainability they have saved over 5,000 pounds of brass from landfills. With both mens and womens items, check their jewellery out and shop JoJo’s rings here.
The fashion industry has the second-largest environmental impact on the planet. As clothing becomes cheaper, people are now accumulating five times as many garments as past generations. And fast fashion is largely to blame. What exactly is fast-fashion? It’s when the cost of production is constantly lowered, negatively impacting the clothes’ quality, the environment and factory working conditions.
To slow the devastation caused by the fashion industry, while still enjoying new pieces, we recommend shopping vintage / secondhand clothes or purchasing quality pieces made in eco-friendly, ethical ways.
There’s been a large growth in the number of clothing brands that are on a mission to help our planet and protect people from indecent working conditions. So we’re sharing seven fashion brands that make sustainable, ethical clothing. Buying ethical, eco-conscious clothes for gifts is a great idea as you’re supporting eco-friendly retailers, while also making friends or family aware of these positive brands.
Girlfriend Collective is an athletic brand that creates its products from post-consumer water bottles (polyester) and fishing nets (nylon). They work with Taiwan, one of the leading countries in recycling, and their clothing is manufactured in Vietnam. Workers at their factories are well paid, receiving 125% of the minimum wage. On their website, they share their ethical values as they showing complete transparency and promoting slow fashion. Girlfriend Collective pays attention to every step of the production process to ensure they are making a positive impact. If you want to learn more about them and check out their clothes, head to their website.
With organic cotton as their first material, Pact has a guilt-free production process. It involves sustainable cotton cultivation, fair trade factories and minimizing the amount of water they use. Pact sells clothing for men, women and children, in addition to home goods. Its founder, who used to work in an international manufacturing business, realized that a change had to be made. So Pact was created to make a more positive social and environmental impact. If you want to buy a quality piece of clothing from Pact, check out their online shop(US shipping only).
Velvet Bcn is an online retail shop based in Barcelona, where you can find sustainable brands from around the world. Velvet Bcn selects brands that produce clothing made of organic or recycled materials. They also ensure all brands they carry have a certification that they provide good working conditions.
The shop promotes sustainable fashion which means the impact made during all production processes has to be the best possible. They also sell products made of organic materials that ensure less water is used, plus that the products are higher quality and softer. They use recycled products, allowing them to reuse materials and reduce the amount of waste. One of their goals is also to promote local brands. Velvet Bcn has both women’s and men’s clothing available in their online shop and in their Barcelona store.
This jeans manufacturer is based in Melbourne and believes business and sustainability work together. As a member of organizations like the Australian fashion council, Nobody Denim is actively engaged in ethical and eco-friendly fashion. Everyday, they work to improve their technology to reach goals like achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Moreover, they ensure a safe environment and fair wages and working conditions for their employees. Their garments are made following numerous environmental standards that ensure the use of eco-friendly products. They care about the health of our planet as well as our health. In Nobody Denim’s shop, you can find jeans and other clothes like skirts, jackets and t-shirts. If you want to learn more about them and check out their jeans, head to their website.
If you’re looking for simple, comfortable, multipurpose clothes then this Toronto based brand is for you. They make high-quality and stylish women’s clothing in Canada and are a certified B Corporation. Plus they have fair wages and well-made garments made out of eco-friendly products. Encircled makes clothing for home, work or travel with their versatile capsule wardrobe-essentials. This makes their essentials the perfect gift for the globe-trotting woman in your life (or yourself). Their premise comes from wanting you to actually wear your closet and keep their timeless pieces for more than just a season. Check them out at encircled.ca.
This fashion brand makes clothes from bananas, plastic bottles, wood, organic cotton, wool, cashmere, and other sustainable materials. They are dyed with flowers or minerals and no chemical products are used in the process. The pieces of clothing are produced in India where Thinking Mu provides proper working conditions and wages to employees. The workers make most of the clothing by hand according to traditional techniques which give the clothing their unique style. They also work with producers in Barcelona and Italy to promote local manufacturers.
Thinking Mu helps give visibility to innovative, handcrafted, local projects through its online platform. If you’re interested in seeing their products check out their website or visit one of their many shops located around the world.
Knickey is an online shop that offers certified organic cotton underwear for women. They care about women’s intimate health which is why they produce undies that don’t contain harmful toxins that can cause infections or cancers. Thanks to the organic cotton, the underwear is also more comfortable and eco-friendly. Knickey’s products have multiple certifications (GOTS, Fairtrade, Oeko-Tex, FSC) and their packaging is eco-friendly.
Additionally, Knickey offers a recycling service where you can send in your old undies (their brand or others) and they will recycle them. With every pair of undies you purchase, they also donate a pair to someone in need. Currently, they ship to the UK, USA & Canada. Check out Knickey here!
Shoes + Accessories
The footwear and accessories industry causes the same destructive issues that the clothing industry does. We’ve shared five sustainable footwear and accessory brands.
TOMS shoes is a social centered brand that supports organizations around the world. They work to improve physical safety, mental health and equal opportunities. TOMS also donates a pair of shoes for each pair bought. On their website, they share their annual report about the different foundations they support. TOMS sells different styles of shoes for women, men, and children in addition to sunglasses to help complete your outfit. They’re aa great gift idea that will delight family or friends especially when you share the story behind the shoes. Check them out at toms.com.
Comfy, light and warm, Allbirds are eco-friendly shoes. The materials they use to make them are wool from merino sheep, recycled bottles to create the laces, castor bean oil and recycled cardboard. They also use FSC wood and the soles are made of sugarcane. Last but not least, Allbirds invented its sustainable material, Trinotm, made of tree and merino that is used as yarn. On their website, you can find shoes for every occasion in addition to socks and sleep masks. If someone you know is looking for a new pair of shoes then check them out here.
Patagonia is a well-known b-corporation. They sell a vast variety of products including clothing, bags, outdoor gear and more. They also accept all old Patagonia products and make new products out of these old recycled ones. Patagonia works on protecting and preserving our planet, which is why they support grassroots organizations and work with corporate partners to improve manufacturing. They also motivate their employees to get involved and run environmental campaigns. To learn more about Patagonia and find some gifts for the holidays, head to patagonia.com.
Everyone needs products for their home, whether it’s for the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. There are a ton of everyday products that are useful and now there’s a number of eco-friendly options to choose from as well. See our selection of these gift ideas below.
Package Free Shop
Package Free Shop is just that, a New York based zero-waste store selling everything you need for a zero-waste, toxin-free lifestyle. Package Free offers everything you need for your kitchen, bathroom, beauty routine, pets, kids and more. Their products come from different brands that share the same ethical and eco-friendly values. The website is full of good gift ideas for your family and friends. Check them out in-store in Brooklyn or their new shop in Chelsea Market, or online here.
Swell makes reusable steel bottles. The company supports UNICEF, the Breast Cancer Foundation and Lonely Whale. Not only do they offer stylish drink containers but also snack containers in addition to things you need for your wine and cocktail bar. From their innovative champagne flute, to their shaker set, to their classic water bottle, you’ll find what you’re looking for. You can see all their options here.
Ettitude has created the first CleanBamboo fabric to make sustainable, organic and comfortable bed sheets. They are also a member of 1% for the Planet and support the charity One Girl that helps girls gain access to education. Additionally, they participate in the climate initiative CO2 Neutral Websites which allow them to invest in renewable energy sources. On their website, you can find everything you need for bed including sheets, pajamas and accessories here.
Babies & Children
It’s always fun finding great holiday gifts for your kids. It’s important to remember though that this industry pollutes as much as the adult fashion industry. To help you to find sustainable presents for your little ones, here are two brands that take into account their environmental and ethical impact.
Aupa Organics is the place to find games, clothes, body products and more for your baby. Everything there is organic to ensure a healthy lifestyle for your little one. For them, it’s important to start sustainable habits from a young age. You can find Aupa Organics in Barcelona and on their website aupaorganics.com.
Alike is a modern, sustainable and unisex fashion brand that offers a selection of colorful clothing. They use GOTS certified organic cotton and no toxic dye. They also care about the working conditions of their employees and support the foundation Blessings in a Backpack which provides food for children in need. Plus, for every order, they help Noissue plant trees and use their special tissue paper. Alike’s original t-shirts and jeans are available on their website alikekids.com.
When we think of buying gifts, most of the time, we’re thinking about physical products like clothes, jewelry or other everyday items. But it’s not only that, a gift can also be a donation we make to a cause we want to support or that we think friends or family would be happy to help. So we’ve shared these two great charitable donation ideas to make this holiday season’s gifts even more special.
Christmas is fast approaching and to count down to it, an Advent Calendar is always a fun idea. Instead of giving the traditional one with chocolate, you can now give one that gives back. It’s sustainable and recyclable but best of all is that included in the price is a daily donation to charity. It’s fun because when you open each calendar day you get to see which charity you’ve helped. Sometimes the best gift is to give, not receive. Learn more about this great initiative at adventofchange.com.
InLieu is the app for giving. It allows you to donate to your friends’ favorite causes instead of giving them a physical gift. It also enables you to directly donate to nonprofits of your choice. InLieu gives you the ability to help over 1.6 million foundations. Because it’s social, you can also create events and invite your friends to donate to a charity of your choosing. To sum it up, this is an easy way to give while helping great causes. Download the app here and start giving today!
While this is not technically an online store, it’s where you can find all the online stores. Ecosia is a search engine for good, with every search you perform they plant trees. So far they have planted over 75 million (!!) trees. What’s more, they plant trees in areas that need more economic development, benefiting local communities plus the environment. They are also transparent, publishing a monthly report on where their income goes plus, how they remove 1kg of CO2 for each search request and what they do with your data (they don’t sell it).
Because of this, we recommend you get the plugin or app and use it to search for all your holiday shopping – and beyond. Every little bit helps!
As you can see, there are a ton of brands that care about making a positive impact on the world and humanity. Thankfully, more and more companies like this are popping up as consumers are demanding more purpose-driven brands.
So this holiday season, we challenge you to do your part and buy from small businesses and social impact brands that have a positive impact on the world and are ethical. If we all work on having more eco-friendly and ethical consumption, we can make a huge difference.
Special thanks to our partner on this project, the purpose-driven marketing experts at Ola Impact.
Now that you have our holiday gift guide filled with purpose-driven brands, we hope you feel inspired to buy from companies and brands that are making a difference. Or if you’re looking to buy an experience, learn more about us at Behere here. Happy holidays and happy ethical, eco-conscious shopping!
*Please note all images are from the applicable brands unless otherwise noted.
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