Choosing holiday gifts that create social impact will do so much more than bring joy to the people who receive your presents. This holiday season, choose to support social ventures that are creating positive impact in communities all over the globe. To help you find ethically and sustainably made gift items that make an impact, we’ve put together this list of social ventures from around the world. Each of these socially conscious gift options are produced by recipients of the SOCAP19 Social Entrepreneur Scholarship. Support a social venture and feel good about your holiday shopping in 2019!
Sustainable Products for the Home and Kitchen
NAECO (OCEAN spelled in reverse) offers well-designed reusable products that eliminate plastics from our oceans and seas–and they plant one piece of coral for every bottle sold. Their attractive and durable stainless steel water bottles and straws were in such high demand that they sold out at the SOCAP19 Marketplace.
Made out of pure-platinum silicone, Stasher is a healthier and more environmentally responsible alternative to single-use plastic bags and containers. An IHA Global Innovation Award and Red Dot Design Award winner, Stasher is a plastic-free bag that can change the way you cook, store and travel.
Organic and Fair Trade Food and Beverages
Vava Coffee is a Certified B Corp with a social enterprise business model that has a network of coffee producers in different regions of East Africa. Vava Coffee exports, roasts, and consults on coffee value chains. The company aims to contribute to better future prospects for coffee communities and the industry as a whole. Vava Coffee is geared towards sustainable livelihoods for the people and communities they work with. Located in the picturesque Kajiado county inhabited by the calm yet courageous Maasai community, Vava Coffee works in this atypical coffee growing region to influence and transform communities by providing economic empowerment opportunities using coffee – through trade, education and capacity building with a sharp focus on elevating the opportunities for women and girls in these communities. Their coffee colorful cloth bags are made by groups of women in various informal settlements across Kenya. For a special gift for a caring coffee lover, take a look at their Soil to Cup subscription.
Waykana produces an organic, energy tea made with guayusa, a rare ingredient sustainably sourced from the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. This nutritious alternative to coffee contains natural caffeine, antioxidants, theobromine, and amino acids. An Ecuadorian social venture, Waykana’s mission is to create sustainable livelihoods for small scale growers through direct and fair trade practices that support environment-friendly farming practices. Waykana products can be purchased at Amazon.com or iHerb.com.
SOULMUCH is a source for nutritious, delicious cookies that combat food waste. Giving the gift of SOULMUCH supports a progressive health food enterprise with a sustainability, health & wellness, and food justice mission. With flavors including Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Espresso, Red Beet Velvet, Carrot Ginger, SOULMUCH cookies are as tasty as they are responsible.
Ethical Shoes, Apparel, & Accessories
Give the gift of adorable, handmade, fair-trade sweaters, blankets, and other knitwear to the children in your life this holiday season, and help change lives in Bolivia. Nanay, which in the Aymara native language means “how cute,” is a social venture based in La Paz that creates high-quality baby and children’s knitwear while creating employment opportunities for women at the base of the pyramid.
Surprise your loved ones with colorful, handcrafted sarees, jackets, dupattas and other apparel and crafts from RangSutra. RangSutra is a collectively-owned company that is creating sustainable and fairly paid jobs for a community of over two-thousand artisans across rural India. Their beautiful handcrafted pieces are modern in design, but made using traditional techniques.
Adelante Shoe Co. works with artisans in Guatemala to handcraft men’s and women’s leather shoes. Simply select your style, choose from an impressive range of size and width options, and receive your unique pair of Adelantes in two weeks. While your shoes are being meticulously crafted, you’ll also receive updates from the expert artisan who brings your shoes to life. Adelante envisions a world that prioritizes human well-being over profit, which is why the craftsmen earn enough to live well with their families.
Fuse is a socially-conscious footwear brand that empowers women artisans in Pakistan. The purchase of their hand-embroidered sneakers supports education and financial empowerment for rural Pakistani women through employment and fair wages. Their ethically-produced products are made with sustainable materials such as organic cotton and natural rubber to reduce their environmental impact.
Afrikapu’s fair trade jewelry and traditional handicrafts are made by artisan entrepreneurs from across the continent of Africa. A Kenyan-based social enterprise that focuses on empowering African women, Afrikapu makes a positive impact in marginalized communities by developing their artisans’ entrepreneurial skills, providing mentorship, and connecting them to the international market.
PrisonArt offers stunning and unique products featuring tattoo designs by current and former prisoners in Mexico. Their variety of products, featuring colorful prints or chiselled designs, include leather handbags, wallets, and other accessories. This social venture’s profits support its non-profit Prison Art Project partner, which provides job training and placement for prisoners and the formerly incarcerated. Founded by artist Jorge Cueto, Prison Art helps returning citizens go back to society in peaceful ways by giving a second chance with dignified employment, while supporting prisoners and their families.
Soul of Africa
Soul of Africa is a social enterprise that facilitates job creation and knowledge transfer, and income generation through shoemaking, creating sustainable supply chains, and supporting community projects. The simple design of Soul of Africa’s Ababa shoes, which are hand stitched in Ethiopia, pays homage to the original humans of the Rift Valley. Soul of Africa’s shoes for adults and children are independently verified for locally sourced materials and ethical production methods by Proudly Made in Africa.
For other socially and environmentally responsible holiday gift options, take a look at SOCAP’s 2018 Socially Conscious Gift Guide.