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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Juliet Kinsman

20 really sustainable gifts

If we care about the world, every time we spend our money, we should think about the true cost of what we’re buying and whether we’re giving our hard-earned cash to companies that deserve it. Rather than brands and products that just talk a good game when it comes to be greener or kinder, we should invest in gifts which make a positive pledge to planet and people.

While it's easy to fall for a bargain, we have to remember that sales are still about the brands making money from flogging us a lot of things we don’t really need; and we’re not truly winners in the end.

Have a think about what a supply chain might look like beyond what you want, and the harsh reality of those so-called feel-good items online is that they're often made in a way that involves the exploitation of natural resources and human labour, and result in emissions galore as part of an ugly take-make-waste life cycle.

So many purchases that we think will make us look or feel nicer exaggerate the problems causing the climate crisis, and fuel social injustices in the destinations where the products were made.

Luckily, there are lots of hero products out there which are actively tackling social, environmental and economic challenges. So let’s spend our hard-earned cash in a way that also gives a salute to the values and messages we want to be amplified in the world, and in turn, it might also make the folks you give these gifts to think a little more deeply about what matters and why.

Ucon Acrobatics backpack


This B Corp-certified brand makes cool contemporary bags from recycled PET from the drinks industry, turning waste into fashion before it ends up in landfills.

From €99.99 (£85.65)

Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

Human Kind A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman (Bloomsbury)

Fans of Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens book will love this manifesto for better living from the straight-talking Dutch historian, Rutger Bregman.


Arthouse Unlimited chocolate

(Arthouse Unlimited)

Ethically-sourced charity-supporting chocolate from Arthouse Unlimited is enhanced with art by creatives living with complex neuro-diverse and physical support needs.

From £5.25,

Jewellery from Pivot

Silver half moon earrings (Pivot)

Selling affordable accessories from makers who’ve been homeless or who are living in hostels, Pivot's earrings, necklaces and bangles are made from zero waste acetate, recycled sterling silver and responsible brass.

From £25,

Tumblers from Ishkar


This social-impact homeware brand is now based in E2 on Columbia Road, and its products include beautiful hand-blown tumblers made by artisans in Afghanistan.

From £65,

Shampoo bars by Eco Warrior

Eco Warrior Soap (Little Soap Company)

These vegan, bio-degradable zero-waste and waterless bars do a great job at cleansing and conditioning your hair.

From £5.50,

Patch Plants

(Patch Plants)

What’s more eco than giving some living, breathing greenery? Order indoor and outdoor potted plants and Christmas trees — we especially love Patch's 'unkillable' houseplants.

From £10,

Suri electric toothbrushes

Suri toothbrush in fern (Suri toothbrush)

This indie toothbrush brand - a portmanteau of 'sustainable rituals' - considers nature and waste along its supply chain in a way the big-name brands can never compete with. The UV-light case is especially well suited to those on the go.


Sapling Spirits

Sapling vodka (Sapling spirits)

These climate-positive vodkas and gins support deforestation with every bottle purchased. We'll drink to that.

From £25,

Swapfiets cycling subscription

Power 1 bike (Swapfiet)

Swapfiets offers a shared economy solution for human-powered transport. Its fully-serviced e-bike rentals cost less than £20 monthly.

From £18.90 per month,

Blunt Umbrellas

Metro umbrella in mint (Blunt)

These resilient brollies are long-lasting, which is not only helpful in extreme weather but also important when you know how many cheap umbrellas end up in landfills.

From £70,

Hokan Bowls

Stacking bowls (Hokan)

These chic, sustainable ceramic stacking bowls are a dream for easy ramens, and provide storage free of plastic.

From £24,

Hansine dresses

Athena dress (HANSINE)

Invest in one of these elegant designs made in London and keep your packing light. Step out in a dress-up or dress-down style to suit every occasion, whether a beach, bar, or boardroom.

From £320,

Social Supermarket

Festive fizz gift box (Social Supermarket)

Social Supermarket is a purveyor of sustainable independent products from pantry to wardrobe. Its ethical hampers or ethical and vegan gift boxes that are guaranteed to leave a good taste in the mouth.

From £20.89,

Azure Belle period swimwear

Allamanda one piece period swimsuit (Azure Belle)

Form meets function with these swimsuits and bikinis, which let you ditch waste from feminine hygiene products — especially perfect for teens.

From £20,

Rapscallion Soda

(Rapscallion Soda)

Add some festive fizz to everyday drinks, or stock up for a jollier Dry January thanks to these witty, but responsible Scottish soft drink scamps.

From £29 for 12 250ml cans,

Refillable water bottles with a filter

LARQ Bottle PureVis™ insulated (LARQ bottle)

More tap water is drinkable than people realise when they wander, but a Water-To-Go purifier bottle helps when you need to play it extra-safe. Or try LARQ for a more luxe edition, which uses UV-C light to neutralise 99.9% of germs and bacteria at the touch of a button.

Purifying bottle, from £25,, and from £58,

Urbanears wireless headphones

Zinken headphones in salsa red (Urban Ears)

These Swedish makers really think about circularity when it comes to manufacturing their excellent audio accessories.


Sheep Inc sweaters

The cable knit in bottle green (Sheep Inc)

Flaunt your eco values in carbon-negative knitwear made from super-soft Merino wool. Sheep Inc's jumpers teach us about traceability, right down to a cute little QR tag built into every piece.

From £290,

Ffern perfume subscription

Ffern gift membership (Ffern)

Only a lucky few can join the ledger for these limited-edition eaux de parfums from Somerset. Subscribe to Ffern's exceptionally small batch of organic seasonal fragrances and each delivery promises to be an uplifting lesson in transparency and sustainability.

Membership from £169,

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