These 12 ethical brands support living wages. organic materials/ingredients, reducing waste, and other sustainable initiatives.
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As we enter the giving season, it’s time to make our lists and check it twice to make sure we find out which companies are naughty or nice. Because, this giving season why not give the gift of great products that also do great things socially and environmentally? Imagine, gifting Mom a meal service delivered straight to her door that also supports local organic farmers and reducing plastic waste. Or, a beautiful vase from a retailer that plants trees and donates a portion of the sale to a nonprofit that provides meals for school children from food insecure backgrounds? If these sound like gifts come true, then you’ll enjoy the retailers that we’ve hand-picked for their dedication to ethical production and giving back.
All sustainable/ethical brands are built on an ethos to make their products as sustainable and ethical as possible. While there are similarities with their initiatives, there are slight differences that you’ll find. What’s fun for a gift giver is finding a brand whose ethos matches that of your giftee, to give a present that comes wrapped with that tingly do-good feeling. Here are a few of our top picks for you.
Green … Not Greenwashing
In 2019 H&M’s “conscious fashion” campaigns were labeled as greenwashing by the Norwegian Consumer Authority (CA). Its director, Elisabeth Lier Haugseth, remarked to Deezen that H&M’s claims failed to provide specific facts about how their collection was less harmful to the environment. “For instance, the consumers should know if a garment is based on 5% recycled material or 60%,” Elisabeth remarked. Making claims without backing them with concrete facts is considered a misleading marketing practice.
Transparency, from the sourcing of raw materials to production to shipping to the customer, is the foundation of creating a conscious label. These brands should share how they are and aren’t sustainable along with their goals and metrics for how they’ll become even more sustainable in the future. You can even read their sustainability reports from past and present too.
Christy Dawn The Jean Cardigan
TenTree: This label produces everyday basics that the whole family can wear. They’re transparent about their sustainable goals. Fabric contents are broken down, so you know exactly how much organic cotton is in that T-shirt.
- 100,000,000 million trees planted. For every item sold, TenTree plants 10 trees.
- Transparently shows their partner factories in China, Turkey, India, and Vietnam and how they meet their Code of Conduct.
- TENCEL™, Hemp, organic cotton, recycled polyester, and cork or coconut buttons are materials used instead of virgin polyester.
- 100% recyclable shipping mailers that are biodegradable
Oh Seven Days: This cool brand designs with a vintage twist. Their fabrics are sustainably sourced from mills that are Oeko-Tex-certified and each piece is designed to promote the idea of slow fashion. Customers are offered a behind-the-scenes look at who made their clothes and can view firsthand the work standards upheld in the factories.
Nisolo: This accessories brand is spreading the idea of sustainability labels and living wages. Customers can see exactly how a product scores in terms of sustainable sourcing, material waste, water use, ethical production, and CO2 emissions. With labels that extend beyond where an item is made, Nisolo is revolutionizing the sustainable fashion industry one boot at a time.
Christy Dawn: This brand of vintage-style dresses, sweaters, and blouses focuses on sustainable production at the source- the soil. Working with farmers, the brand promotes regenerative agriculture to ensure that cotton crops are grown in a way that protects the nutrients in the soil and biodiversity and avoids the use of chemicals or wasting water. Farm-to-table fashion is the next big trend.
Living Wages & Fair Working Conditions
These beautiful products are made ethically without slave or child labor. Chemicals and dyes that could harm workers during manufacturing are never used. These brands and retailers partner with 3rd parties to asses and vet that fair labor conditions have been upheld by the manufacturers who make their products. Living wages that are higher than the federal minimum are paid to workers to ensure that they can afford necessities and savings. Click the links below to shop our favorites or view other products to give the gift of supporting others.
Conscious Step: Every purchase gives back to nonprofits that provide meals to those who are food insecure, clean water, and reforestation projects. Not only that, but the socks are also GOTS-certified organic, FairTrade, and part of 1% for the Planet.
Made Trade: This retailer showcases beautiful items from artisans who handcraft, cast, and sew every stitch and seam. Sustainable BIPOC, woman-owned businesses based in the U.S.A. are highlighted for their commitments to using sustainable materials, fair trade, and living wages.
UnCommon Goods: Since 2007 this retailer has been a certified B Corp. Unexpected gifts are the hallmark of the items you’ll find from independent artists and makers. Living wage standards are upheld with the lowest-paid worker taking home double the federal minimum and college coursework and training are reimbursed.
Bario Neal: Traceable gems and fairminded gold add a noticeable sparkle to the unique designs crafted by the Bario Neal team. Visit the Philadelphia-based workshop or the New York showroom to meet the team and learn how these ethical jewelers built partnerships with miners and suppliers.
‘Goodbye’ To Toxic Ingredients
We’ve read headlines about retailers failing to disclose chemicals used in their clothing, makeup, or food items. When the Environmental Protection Agency tested clothing from popular fast fashion retailers, thousands of toxic chemicals were present. As consumers, we can educate ourselves about safe, nontoxic ingredients/materials and support companies that source organic plant-derived ingredients. And, even if you give the gift of clean, natural products, you might want to make the switch and stock up on a few of these goodies for yourself too.
The Earthling: All-natural ingredients such as cocoa seed butter, coconut oil, tapioca starch, and fruit extracts are used in Earthling’s personal care products. What you won’t find are dyes, fragrances, or carcinogenic-affiliated chemicals. Learn more about their ingredients in their database. All items are also solid and packaged to be plastic-free.
Cook Unity: Chefs curate healthy, environmentally-friendly meals through this subscription program. Each meal is sourced from ingredients that are as organic and local as possible. Food waste is minimized. And the packaging is returnable to further minimize waste.
Ettitude: Soft as silk but made from bamboo, these sheets are made with the mission to be the world’s healthiest and most sustainable sheets. The bamboo is grown without chemicals or pesticides and processed with food-grade solvents. And, dyes are Oeko-Tex certified. All in all, these sheets are as sustainable, clean, and toxin-free as they come.
Third Love: This brand offers intimates and sleepwear in good-for-your-skin materials like mulberry silk and organic cotton.