Published 1 day ago.
About a 20 minute read.

Image: SEE END OF ARTICLE FOR IMAGE CREDITS

As always, the goal of our gift guide is to encourage a more conscious approach to gift-giving by highlighting products, services and experiences that create value and benefits beyond short-term gratification for the recipient. Here’s this year’s list of some of the many companies, platforms and products that we’d be happy to support anytime.

It’s that time of year again! The season of giving, gratitude, celebration and
general merriment (and, depending on where you are in the world, hopefully at
least a smidge closer to ‘normal’ than our past two holiday seasons).

As always, the goal of our annual gift guide is to encourage a more conscious
approach to gift-giving by highlighting products, services and experiences that
create value and benefits beyond short-term gratification for the recipient —
and, in the best cases, reduce waste and create other positive impacts for
producers, communities and/or the environment.

So, here’s this year’s list of some of the many companies, platforms and
products aligned with a more intentional approach to production and consumption,
that we’d be happy to support anytime.

More conscientious consumption (in the most literal sense)


Image credit: Vine to Bar

Beneficent bevvies

  • How to define and build a regenerative business

    How can we start building truly regenerative systems? Download our new report, The Road to Regeneration, to understand the principles of regenerative business and learn how to put regeneration into practice.

    Organika vodka — an organic Siberian vodka that
    has partnered with WWF on a mission to save rare species of animals
    including Siberian tigers and snow leopards.

  • California-based Gray Whale Gin is
    distilled with botanicals foraged along the migratory path of — you guessed
    it — the California Gray Whale, and is dedicated to preservation of the
    species and marine ecosystems. With every purchase, Gray Whale Gin supports
    ocean conservation through a partnership with Oceana; and the company is
    also working with
    SeaTrees
    by Sustainable Surf to protect the whale habitat by planting mangrove
    forests in Laguna San Ignacio, Baja — the world’s last undeveloped
    California gray whale breeding lagoon.

  • Bizzarro
    Aperitivo

    is a Carbon Neutral Certified canned cocktail line from sustainable
    Australian brand Delinquente Wine
    Co.

    — known for its small batch, minimal intervention wines and new-to-the-US
    Bizzarro Aperitivo Spritz & Mischief Brew Tonic canned
    cocktails.

  • UK-based Toast Ale — which
    says
    it has upcycled nearly 3M slices of surplus bread since its launch in
    2016
    ,
    thanks to partnerships with a number of small UK bakeries and sandwich
    manufacturers — has recently signed on as a circularity advisor to
    Heineken
    .

  • Another good way to toast is with wine from wineries practicing regenerative
    viticulture: Check out varietals from Oregon’s Hope Well
    Wine
    ; and from California,
    Mendocino’s Bonterra Organic
    Estates
    ;
    Healdsburg’s Ridge
    Vineyards
    ;
    and Paso RoblesRobert Hall
    Winery
    ,
    to name a few.

  • And you can’t go wrong with sustainable spirits from distilleries such as
    Rhum
    J.M
    ,
    Sipsmith
    and
    Tattersall;
    Maker’s
    Mark

    — the world’s largest B Corp-certified distillery; or Mijenta — the first B Corp-certified tequila.

There’s also plenty of goodness to choose from on the non-alcoholic front:


Image credit: Mocktail Club

  • Mocktail Club has concocted a line of
    organic, non-alcoholic cocktails that reflect the influence of its international
    team of BIPOC
    women

    with infusions of herbs and spices such as cardamom, chili peppers and
    lemongrass — many with added benefits such as prebiotics and antioxidants.

  • Monin flavored syrups — In 2008, Monin’s intensive quality-control
    process sparked a unique idea to provide apiaries with its recycled syrup —
    since then, its
    Syrup-to-Bees initiative
    has been a boon for US bee farmers working to keep their bees fed during
    shortages of nectar-producing flowers. The company says it donated over
    140,000 gallons this year alone.

  • Atomo beanless coffee (10%
    discount code: BUYUP
    ) — made using upcycled dates, seeds and a blend of other
    ingredients (including grape, chicory, and tea-derived caffeine), Atomo is
    roasted and brewed just like conventional coffee. But it’s the most
    sustainable “coffee” out there — producing 93 percent less carbon emissions
    and using 94 percent less water to make — offering a much less
    resource-intensive option for coffee lovers (similar to what WNWN
    Labs
    ,
    which we can hopefully add to next year’s gift guide is doing for chocolate)

Beneficial bites


Image credit: Capao

  • Snacks and baking mixes from GoodSam
    Foods
    — supporting
    regenerative smallholder farmers around the world

  • WellVine’s Vine to Bar upcycled superfood
    chocolates, fortified with Chardonnay Marc — an alcohol-free byproduct of
    wine-making

    that contains high levels of flavonoids, antioxidants and oligosaccharides,
    all of which feed and promote healthy bacteria in the gut.

  • Speaking of upcycled superfoods, CaPao’s Cacaofruit
    Bites
    — take the cacaofruit (the naturally sweet and
    ultra-nutritious pulp that
    surrounds cacao beans — pretty much the only part of the pod that’s used for chocolate-making), mostly discarded in the cacao-harvesting process; and combine it with nuts, seeds and other fruits to create its
    snack bites. Another startup, Supplant, is aiming
    to tackle both the biodiversity and obesity
    crises

    by upcycling agricultural side-streams into its signature ingredient,
    Sugars from Fiber” — which become delicious, nutrient-rich chocolate
    bars and help mitigate the impacts of some of the world’s most
    environmentally destructive crops (20% discount code: BUYUP).

  • Spent beer grain becomes nutrient-packed ReGrained baking
    mixes
    or Leashless Lab
    Beer Grain Dog
    Treats

Conscientious cookbooks


Image credit: Kitchen Connection Alliance

Speaking of better eating, cookbooks such as Decolonize Your Diet
and the just-released The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations: For People and Planet will help home cooks learn more about the history and impact
of certain ingredients and cuisines and take a more mindful approach to
meals. 

Sustainable luxury


Image credit: Aether Diamonds

For jewelry, forget mined diamonds, mired in social and environmental consequences — the next
phase of luxury is in lab-grown diamonds (even
Pandora
has switched); and even better — diamonds made from captured carbon emissions:
Check out Aether
Diamonds
and Skydiamond — carbon-captured gems made
with renewable energy and captured rainwater.

For ethically made, luxuriously soft clothing and accessories, check out FTC Cashmere (and see below for their circular offerings). And for fickle (or just financially prudent) fashionistas, gift a subscription to a luxury-fashion rental service such as Fashion to Figure Closet, Rent the Runway, Style Lend or Tulerie.

Environmentally friendly and extended-life electronics


Image credit: House of Marley

  • For loved ones just dying for a new laptop or smart device, opt for certified refurbished ones from Back Market. The site is chock-full of refurbished Samsung products; as well as Apple-refurbished phones, MacBooks, tablets, Apple Watches, Air Pods and more (at about half the price of new) that come complete with an AppleCare warranty. The UK’s Circular Computing has just as impressive a selection of certified Carbon Neutral Plus remanufactured HP, Dell and Lenovo laptops. Either way, your gift will be a win-win — delighting the recipient while helping to mitigate e-waste!
  • Another way to avoid e-waste — and the rigmarole of upgrading devices — is to go modular: On the phone front, check out Fairphone; for laptops, look to Framework.
  • Created in collaboration with the Marley family to carry on Bob Marley’s legacy of love for music and planet, House of Marley audio equipment is built on the principles of superior quality, sustainability and a commitment to charitable causes — such as directing proceeds to support global reforestation through Project Marley. The company’s headphones, speakers, turntables and accessories promise high-performance sound made from materials including bamboo, FSC-certified wood; and recycled aluminum, plastic and fabrics.

Kids’ stuff


Image credit: Century Baby

  • Speaking of rental services, more and more are emerging for kids’ stuff — and gift subscriptions make great gifts for busy parents looking for sustainably made clothes for their constantly growing kiddos. Check out GroKinder, Manymoons (formerly Borobabi) or UpChoose, to name a few.

  • Century Baby — launched in 1961 with the
    first baby carrier on the market, Century rebranded and relaunched in
    2021
    with a focus on safer, more
    affordable and sustainable baby gear including strollers, carriers and
    cribs.

  • GoodBuy Gear — a service that
    helps parents sell their used baby and kid items — has partnered with baby
    gear giant buybuy BABY to help extend the life of used gear. To
    encourage families to declutter and start fresh without tossing used gear in
    the trash, the companies are offering parents a buybuy BABY gift card (for
    up to $534) for trading in gently
    used items.

  • Better baby food from Once Upon a Farm
    — the company, co-founded by actress Jennifer Garner, is on a mission to
    drive constant improvement in childhood nutrition with
    clean-label,
    pesticide- and preservative-free, organic meals. The company worked for
    years to ensure its products meet the federal eligibility requirements for
    the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children
    (WIC™) program, to ensure lower-income families can also have access to
    their organic snacks and meals.

Cozy, circular clothing and accessories


Image credit: FTC Cashmere

  • UpKnit items
    from FTC
    Cashmere

    — Even with an exact calculation of the required yarn quantities, small
    amounts remain on the bobbins after the knitting process of a piece. FTC has
    developed a technique to seamlessly connect the threads of the residual
    yarns, so they can be used to create unique hats, sweaters and other
    garments.

  • Comfy, circular basics from Pangaia’s
    Re-Color capsule
    collection — which features the brand’s signature
    365 sweatshirts and sweatpants dyed with
    Recycrom™, a technology that transforms Pangaia
    textile waste
    into colored powder dyestuffs.

  • Wildling’s Lotus slippers — the European
    regenerative shoe brand is open about the fact that its first-ever house
    shoe is not a circular product … yet. But
    Lotus
    is designed for longevity, as well as for its reentry into the product cycle
    in the future. Designing it with only three main components — wool, thread
    and sole — makes it possible to separate them by type later – critical for
    achieving its eventual goal of complete recyclability.

Whatever you shop for, keep an eye out for items that are made to last — for
clothes, support the growing number of clothing brands that repair, recycle and
resell garments and accessories — such as Amour
Vert
,
Barbour, Eileen
Fisher
, H&M,
Levi Strauss,
Madewell, New
Balance
, The North
Face
,
Patagonia,
Rapanui and
tonlé to name a few (and for bags
and luggage, you can’t go wrong with
Timbuk2 and
Freitag).

eBay UK’s Imperfects
marketplace

features clothing, shoes and accessories from over 100 high-street and high-end
designers
available for up
to 60 percent off, due to minor defects. Secondhand apparel marketplaces such as
thredUP, Poshmark, Swap
Society
or Vestiaire
Collective
are also always a good bet. For
curated collections of better apparel, home and other goods — vetted for various
sustainability certifications and criteria, including longevity and
plastic-freeness — Karma
Wallet
,
Buy Verde, Dzukou and Buy
Me Once
.

Updating your space


Image credit: Model No

For those looking to give their office or living space a circular/sustainable
refresh …

  • Oakland-based Model No 3D-prints stunning furniture, lighting and accessories from sustainable and waste materials. For its latest, circular collection, it has collaborated with emerging designers from PROWL Studio, fine artist Mike Han, and motion designer Natalie Liu on one-of-a-kind objects made from a salvaged ash tree and sawdust recaptured during milling and fabrication.

  • Or peruse Chairish’s marketplace of new, used,
    unique and vintage home furnishing — because resale is the new
    retail
    .

  • 85 percent plant-based (from sugarcane), C2C-certified, non-toxic
    wall coverings/indoor/outdoor Xorel
    fabrics
    from
    sustainable, “forever PVC-free” fabrics brand Carnegie. In addition to
    containing 85 percent biobased PE content, Outdoor Biobased Xorel is
    breathable, non-absorbent, fast-drying and weather-proof. It is inherently
    wear and stain-resistant, colorfast and antibacterial with no added
    finishes, coatings or chemicals; and can be wiped, hosed, scrubbed and even
    aggressively cleaned with bleach without degrading in quality.

  • Also, check out area rugs, hammocks and other home textiles from
    re:loom — a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization
    in Decatur, Georgia and a program of the Initiative for Affordable
    Housing
    — employs and empowers unhoused, refugee and low-income
    individuals who weave an array of products out of recycled materials. The
    organization provides paid on-site job training for weavers, who earn a
    stable salary, 100 percent healthcare coverage, and opportunities to engage
    in the organization’s operations.

For the readers


Image credit: Min An

Children’s books

Speaking of reading, here are just a few of a growing selection of books that
entertain and educate young readers on the importance of the natural world and
our place in it.

  • Available in six languages, The Forest Girls series tells the story of
    girls from around the world and the trees that they befriend, climb, and
    plant.

  • Jaimal YogisMop Rides series, which tells the story of avid surfer
    kid Mop — Mop Rides the Waves of Life,
    which teaches kids about tolerance and mindfulness; and in the newest
    installment, Mop Rides the Waves of Change
    — Mop discovers plastic pollution in his beloved ocean and rallies his
    friends to help fight it. All proceeds go to Sustainable Surf’s SeaTrees
    initiative, to help protect and restore coastal ecosystems.

  • For engaging slightly older readers, the middle-grade fantasy adventure
    The Tiltersmith
    by Amy Herrick (author of The Time Fetch), sees climate chaos collide
    with myths and monsters.

For book-buying in general, aim to source new and used books from local stores
or sites such as Bookshop.org — which pulls inventory
from local bookshops around the US. Or buy from or donate to organizations such
as Better World Books — which matches every
purchase with a book donation to someone in need and funds literacy initiatives
worldwide; or First Book — this year marks
its fourth annual holiday drive to donate a million new, high-quality books to
children in low-income communities.

Bar-raising beauty and wellness


Image credit: Deon Libra

On the fragrance front, Calvin Klein’s CK Everyone Eau de
Parfum
is
Cradle to Cradle Certified® Gold in all five critical areas of
sustainability

measured — material health, circularity, clean air & climate protection, water &
soil stewardship, and social fairness — the first fragrance on the market to
have achieved this distinction. Also check out the fragrances, candles and
personal care products from Henry Rose — which are not
only C2C Certified safe and
nontoxic
,
but the brand has partnered with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners to give a
portion of proceeds to research and advocacy around toxic chemicals in personal
care.

On the paying-it-forward front, GLO Science, maker of a range of innovative oral
care/whitening products — which touts itself as the only whitening brand
that uses gentle heat and light technology with
zero sensitivity or pain — also runs the GLO Good
Foundation
, in
partnership with Lenny Kravitz‘s Let Love Rule Foundation, to provide free dental
care to those in need.

Waste-free personal care

  • SWAIR Showerless Shampoo isn’t another dry shampoo — it’s an aerosol-free spray that cleans hair without using water. SWAIR says its formula allows users to wash hair at least two times less per week, conserving roughly six gallons of water a week and 312 gallons per year. Unlike dry shampoos, SWAIR Showerless Shampoo cleans hair without adding unwanted residue; and all SWAIR products are vegan and cruelty-, alcohol-, paraben-, gluten-, sulfate-, phthalate- and formaldehyde-free, with no artificial dyes.
  • Bite is another startup that has rebooted a tired industry (beginning with oral care) with new product formats that eliminate both product and packaging waste. Its toothpaste bits, mouthwash bits and whitening gel — and now body products, including deodorant and a soap made from carbon-capturing sea kelp — help users stay so fresh and so clean-clean without the waste.
  • Grove Collaborative’s Peach (and Peach
    Kids
    ) is a plastic-free line of head-to-toe body and hair care bars made with clean, safe ingredients.
  • The Make My Shave subscription service features a razor with a reusable handle, longer-lasting and recyclable blades (with free recycling), and compostable packaging — plus, the Australia-based startup plants a tree with every purchase.

Wellness for every body

  • Deon Libra — a newly launched, Black-owned and -run adaptogenic beauty/wellness/stress care brand — is formulated to support the body’s natural ability to handle stress and activate lasting healthy skin. Its initial product line includes Unbothered — an ingestible, adaptogenic powder, and Big Up — an adaptogenic, full-body oil serum. Together, the products empower folks to feel confident in regulating stress on their terms — and look damn good doing it.
  • The team behind new over-the-counter supplement brand Betr Remedies — which includes TV doc Ellen Pompeo — says they founded the company with a mission to put all our sneezes, sniffles, sleepless nights, headaches, and toots to good use: 1-in-4 people can’t afford medication they need; yet $10B worth of medication is destroyed or sent to landfills each year before getting into the hands of those who need them. So, for every cold, headache, sleep and digestive remedy it sells, it covers the cost of one month of prescription medications for someone in need.

Eye-opening experiences


Image credit: Intrepid Travel

But at the end of the day, do any of us really need more stuff? More and more people are gravitating toward gifts of experience — where recipients can have an educational adventure or just get away from it all:

  • Consider a gift voucher for any of Intrepid Travel‘s many sustainable tour offerings — including over 40 low-carbon travel packages and the 22 new ‘impact initiatives‘ the company unveiled this year, aimed at enriching destination communities and travelers alike.
  • Help friends and family become citizen scientists on expeditions with organizations such as Polar Latitudes, Taxon Expeditions or Vermilion Sea Institute.
  • Or choose a gift box of adventure from Tinggly — from which recipients can choose one travel experience in a destination of their choice. Plus, Tinggly says it offsets carbon emissions and removes 11 lbs of plastic from the planet’s rivers, lakes and oceans for every gift experience purchased.

And for less intrepid loved ones still not quite ready to return to travel, local
experiences such as wine tastings; walking tours; scavenger hunts (Let’s
Roam
offers indoor and outdoor options); or arts,
crafts, language, fitness, music and cooking classes — either online or
in-person — are just a few gift ideas that can help enrich recipients’ lives
without adding more ‘stuff.’ Airbnb, Masterclass and Uncommon
Goods

all have a great selection of classes to choose from.

Recommended wrapping


Image credit: Hallmark

Once you’ve put extra consideration into buying ethical gifts, it doesn’t make
sense to then wrap them in materials that will further clog landfills — most
conventional wrapping paper not only isn’t recyclable or
biodegradable
,
the glittery stuff can end up polluting waterways and poisoning marine life.
Don’t add to the millions of tons of additional paper waste generated during the
holiday season — thankfully, Hallmark has a lovely selection of recyclable
gift
wrap
.

Or get a little creative with alternative
materials

(newspaper, magazines, maps, inside-out chip bags) and reusable materials such
as furoshiki wraps, based on the
Japanese tradition of wrapping items in a single cloth —
Wrapp’r and
Etsy have a
ton of beautiful options.

For even more better-gift ideas, check out our previous gift guides:

Happy holidays from the SB team!


Main article image credits, clockwise from top left: Make My Shave; GLO Science; Gray Whale Gin; Wildling; Atomo; Hallmark; Skydiamond; Framework; Pangaia; Leashless Lab; Swair; GoodSam; Mop Rides the Waves of Change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *