‘Tis the Season for Giving Gifts That Give Back

By Alexandra Barbera and Pia Guerrero

Image from UpSplash

During the holiday season we are surrounded by the inevitable. Shopping, buying, buying some more, and getting some more. Sure, giving gifts to our friends, family and chosen family is a privilege and a pleasure, but what does that mean for the environment? Or for people struggling from oppression across the world? What about the animals?

Somehow in our busy, distracted lives we forgot that the holidays is a season of giving gifts and good will towards all. Never forget that waste is an intersectional feminist issue. So instead of getting your sister another gift card to Target, how about giving her something that also gives back? 

Ultimately, mindlessly buying is a consumer driven behavior that is a big part of global waste and destruction. For, if there is no demand for such things as ‘fast fashion’ or one-use products then there is no need for constant production and consumption of precious resources. 

Here’s some good news according to a recent UN report:

 “We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet, stressing that 11 years are all that remain to avert catastrophe.”

“That’s the good news?” you say. Yes, that’s what we think that is the good news. By starting today, we can join the global collective committed to healing the planet and all on it in the next 11 years. Here are some shopping/no shopping opportunities that make a difference. 

1) Buy Less or even Nothing at All

Have you heard of the No-Buy movement? The No-Buy movement, (as stated in The Guardian) “The idea is simple: instead of buying new clothes or beauty products, you make a commitment to use the things you already own.” So, why this commitment? Because we live in a wasteful culture where everything is disposable and made in China under suspicious conditions.

Whether it’s stopping altogether or taking a day, a few weeks, a month or more, of buying less–however you reduce your waste is a step in the right direction. If that’s still too much for you right now, consider thrifting or buying sustainably produced products that are renewable. Or support an artist and buy gifts directly from them in your area or online at sites like etsy. 

Start Small
You don’t have to start big! At the end of the day, when we make small life and lifestyle choices, we immediately join the global collective effort to healing our planet and all that live on it across the world. 

2) Buy from B-Corporations

When giving and shopping, make it a point to support B-corporations: for-profit businesses that are committed to creating sustainable products that meet the highest standards of ethical social and environmental purpose and performance. 

What’s cool is that they are all driven by the idea that we are all interdependent (animals and plants included). Many of us don’t know that there are hundreds of profitable companies approaching business with all of us in mind (animals and plants included).

From cheese to winter coats, B-Corp products are so common in our lives we can literally support them at the local supermarket. Are you a big online shopper? You can buy these products online as well! 

Here’s a great site that has 500 B-corp businesses committed to using business as a force for good. Here are a few household items you can give instead of that everyone needs.

Some of our Favorite Sustainable Gifts

1.Bamboo Utensil Set Price: $12.95

EarthHero is a B-corp focusing on making the buying process simpler to purchase high quality, reliable products that are produced using sustainable methods and materials.

2.Beeswax food wrap Price: $6.49

Grove is a woman owned business with a long list of sustainable values some being, Biodegradable, BPA Free, Compostable, and Made Using Renewable Energy. They offer products from personal care to household items. 

3.Sustain Natural Condoms Price: $13.95 for a 10 pack

Sustain is a B-corp that offers condoms, underwear, pads, tampons, liners and a period cup that are all vegan, cruelty-free, fair trade, nitrosamine- and paraben-free. As stated on the website, “There are 20 million women in the U.S. that lack access to women’s health services. We give 10% of profits to help change that.”

4.Solid Deodorant Price $13.00

Ethnique is a B-corp promoting the #Giveupthebottle movement and is focused on challenging the amount of plastic that is used. They offer solid bars for hair, face and body with compostable packaging. Their products are plastic free, plant based, cruelty free, palm oil free and sustainable. 

5. 100% recycled polyester Backpack Price: $68.00

United by Blue is a B-corp that will remove one pound of trash from the ocean for every product purchased. They also value sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing.

And not all corporations committed to social and climate justice are B-corps. For example, we just discovered one of the best tasting breads, Dave’s Killer Bread, supports second chances for folks who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. You can even order it at Target

3. Shop at Amazon Smile

Yes, shopping at Amazon may be evil but you can shop at Amazon thoughtfully through their site. It’s easy. In the spirit of interdependence, we chose to support a non-profit for bees with all our eligible purchases.

“AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.”

In the spirit of interdependence, w are currently giving to the Karma Honey Project by shopping on Amazon through Amazon Smile.

Even when buying we can support the environment and other charities.