The best gifts in the world are thoughtful, personal, and useful. None more so than those that have a broader impact and perhaps make the world a better place. From humanitarian causes and social justice to animal welfare and the environment, these 16 gifts give something back.
For the relatives you see once a year: Good Paper cards
San Francisco’s Good Paper sells Fair Trade cards handmade by women who have escaped sex trafficking and exploitation in the Philippines, as well as young adults orphaned by HIV and AIDS. The cards are made using recycled office scraps and come in a huge variety of different designs.
For the sustainable fashionista: Toms apparel
Blake Mycoskie, the founder of Toms, pioneered the one-for-one business model back in 2006, and the company says it has helped more than 100 million lives. Toms also donates one-third of its profits to grassroots organizations and long-term community partnerships. It also stocks a clearly labeled vegan collection and a sustainable ‘Earthwise’ collection.
For the vodka aficionado: Fourth and Pride
New York’s Fourth and Pride produces smooth vodka and donates five percent of its profits to partner organizations in the LGBTQ community. Founded by Jesse Weinberg, the son of the iconic Boiler Room bar’s Neil and Gina Weinberg, Fourth and Pride work closely with DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids) and Sage, which supports and advocates for older LGBT people.
For the ornamental expert: Bird & Stone jewelry
Bird & Stone began as a jewelry company supporting female entrepreneurs in Kenya with small loans. Today, it aims to empower all of its customers to be micro-philanthropists by supporting a huge range of different organizations with every sale. You can even shop by cause to find something that’s a perfect fit for you and the gift recipient. One hundred percent of profits from its Black Lives Matter collection are donated to organizations fighting for racial justice.
For the coffee sommelier: Redemption Roasters
Redemption Roasters is the UK’s first-ever prison-based coffee roastery. It is based inside HMP the Mount in Hertfordshire and operates barista academies in institutions nationwide. The company aims to help offenders reintegrate into society equipped with coffee industry skills, and employs its own graduates in coffee shops and via wholesale clients. Its finely crafted coffee is also ethically sourced, and Redemption Roasters offers a subscription service.
For the make-up master: Chantecaille cosmetics
British company Chantecaille combines beauty products and causes to great effect. According to founder Sylvie Chantecaille, the company has helped to raise awareness for endangered sea turtles, coral reefs, gorillas, wolves, bees, elephants, giraffes, and more through its various philanthropy collections. Specific groups and products can be viewed here, and Chantecaille has vegan-specific categories on its website and store.
For the sustainable writer: Baron Fig stationary
Baron Fig produces high-end stationery with an emphasis on notebooks and even has a gift guide. The company also plants a tree for every participating notebook sold. According to Baron Fig, this helps mitigate climate change and reduce ozone levels while supporting wildlife recovery, forest health, and clean water, as well as increasing human wellbeing.
Animals and wildlife
For the low-key animal-lover: Big Wild Thought
Big Wild Thought is based in Sheffield, UK. The clothing and accessories brand produces designs with unique animal themes (you can even shop by theme here) and donates 10 percent of every sale to wildlife charities relevant to the design. Big Wild Thought supports 10 different charities worldwide, and even packs its products in fully recyclable tissue paper and cardboard.
For the stylishly bespectacled: Fetch Eyewear
This Portland-based nonprofit donates 100 percent of net proceeds from its stylish glasses to animal rescue, vet care, low-cost spay and neuter programs, and education. Fetch Eyewear is partnered with the unique Pixie Project, and even has a lifetime frame warranty.
For the craft coffee connoisseur: Brewing Good
The Brewing Good coffee company slogan is simple: “Save money. Save animals.” It offers craft-roasted Fair Trade and organic coffee and donates 10 percent of its profits to animal charities. Brewing Good ships nationwide in the U.S. and highlights its nonprofits of the month here. Customers can also purchase coffee blends, tea, subscriptions, and gift packs.
For the friend with a sweet tooth: Endangered Species chocolate
Endangered Species produces high-quality chocolate products and donates 10 percent of its annual profits to conservation organizations around the world. Since 2016, the company has donated more than $2.6 million to its “Giveback” partners, including the National Forest Foundation and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. While not all Endangered Species products are plant-based, customers can search using a vegan filter to find suitable dark and oat-milk varieties that are completely dairy-free.
For the person who wants to match their pet: Hendrick & Co
Hendrick & Co sells clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, and more (including products for your pet), and allows customers to hand-pick a charity for the company to support. Since 2011, Hendrick & Co has partnered with over 600 rescues, shelters, and sanctuaries across the U.S. to raise more than $2 million.
Marine life and the ocean
For the gin-loving conservationist: Grey Whale Gin
Grey Whale Gin makes California-inspired alcohol using locally sourced or wild foraged ingredients. The company also supports wildlife and nature conservation in the Golden State, and one percent of all sales go to environmental causes and groups such as Oceana and One Percent For the Planet. Even the bottles feature sustainably sourced materials such as biodegradable cork and organic paint.
For the outdoor types: Waterhaul sunglasses
Waterhaul recycles old fishing nets into sunglasses. The company, which is based in Newquay, UK, uses a unique recycling and molding process to create a 100 percent recycled frame to match recyclable mineral glass optics. Each product is guaranteed for life, and returned frames are re-added to the recycling loop, so every purchase removes plastic from the waste stream permanently. (Waterhaul also recycles face masks into purchasable litter pickers and facilitates educational workshops.)
For the person who really did want socks: Conscious Step
Every organic, Fair Trade sock purchase from Conscious Step supports one of its many partner organizations. So far, the company has raised nearly $507,000 to build new homes, conserve rainforests, educate young people, protect the environment, and fight for equality. Customers can choose gift boxes based on the designs and causes that they care about the most, including charities such as Oceana.
For the whole family: United By Blue fashion
United By Blue removes approximately one pound of rubbish from oceans and waterways around the world. So far, the company has cleaned up more than 3.5 million pounds. It also prioritizes sustainable materials and ethical business practices in the production of its fashionable clothing and accessories. To learn more, read United By Blue’s 2020 impact report here.
LIVEKINDLY is here to help you navigate the growing marketplace of sustainable products that promote a kinder planet. All of our selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, LIVEKINDLY may earn a commission.
Liam writes about environmental and social sustainability and the protection of animals. He has a BA Hons in English Literature and Film.