4 tips for sustainable gift-giving

by Pippa Rogers

Let’s be honest: sometimes “shopping your values” isn’t so simple. Like how do you know what products are really ethically sourced and environmentally friendly? Or how do you find a balance between your pocket book and shopping ethically?

With the holiday season fast approaching and shopping being on everyone’s minds, we thought we’d give you a few tips on simple steps you can take to make your gift-giving more sustainable.  

Here are 4 tips for sustainable gift-giving that will help you shop your values:

Check the label

Ok, so researching certifications may not be on top of your fun list, but it makes the difference when trying to choose between all the products with various (and sometimes dubious) sustainability claims.

Like does the product just say its ethically sourced, or is it certified by a third party like Fairtrade? When a product has a label like Fairtrade, you can trust that it was made following rigorous standards. 

But what about all the different labels out there, you ask? A little research will go a long way in getting to know what label most aligns with your values. You can check out Fair World Project’s label comparison to get to know the differences between labels.

Four O’Clock Tea showing off it’s Fairtrade certification

Start with just one product

Sometimes life circumstances mean you need to be a little more careful when spending on gifts. You may be a student or between jobs, and that’s ok. You should never be guilted into buying certain products.

But we get the question all the time: “I am on a student budget; how can I start shopping ethically?”

The answer is simple: start with just one product. No matter how big or small, it’s our collective and accumulated actions that make the difference. Start where you are and know that that is good enough!

Here are 6 of our current favourite holiday gift ideas that won’t break the bank:

The Good Chocolatier: Their winter line of chocolate bars is to die for! Try the Maple Crunch Pecan, Peppermint, or Honey & Raspberry.

Dharma Fairtrade soap: The VERY FIRST cold process soap in North America that uses Fairtrade shea butter! You won’t believe how good they smell (all while doing good!).

Four O’Clock Tea:  Who doesn’t love a good cup of tea on a winter evening? Try some of their winter collection, like Chai Maple Pecan, White Chocolate & Coconut, or Gingerbread.

Galerie au chocolat: Bring in the holiday cheer with their winter seasonal line, like the holiday advent calendar, holiday ornaments, gingerbread mans, or white chocolate and candy cane bar.

Dedicated at Simons: Looking to gift some slow fashion? Dedicated clothing brand is now available in Canada at Simons’ online!

Balzac’s: A rich and harmonious balance of sweet plum and dark chocolate notes, their Winter Blend is a great gift for the coffee lover in your life.

Dharma Fairtrade soap is a great, affordable gift idea

Make it yourself

There’s always something special about getting a gift that someone spent time and energy making just for you.

And you know what always wins hearts? Baked goods.

Consider making some holiday mini Fairtrade chocolate banana loaves or a batch or cookies using Fairtrade ingredients, like these tasty vegan chocolate chip cookies featured on Rosette Fair Trade.

Try adding in some flavoured chocolates into your holiday baking, like these flavours from The Good Chocolatier

Shop Local

Shopping local is great, but what about for products like coffee, chocolate, or tea that are grown many kilometers away?

We recommend shopping Fairtrade local by looking for local brands that are sourcing Fairtrade ingredients. That way you’re supporting local brands who are making choices that align with your values.

Use our Shop Fairtrade Local tool to find brands local to you: fairtrade.ca/fairtrade-local

Galerie au Chocolat is a great local brand located in Montreal, QC
Cocoa Coffee