Sustainable Products for the Home and Kitchen; Organic and Fair Trade Food and Beverages; Ethical Shoes, Apparel, & Accessories
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 a 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 is produced by recipients of the SOCAP Social Entrepreneur Scholarship. Support a social venture and feel good about your holiday shopping in 2020!
Sustainable Products for the Home and Kitchen
Imani Collective – Ethically made by empowered artisans in Kenya – Imani Collective started in a small village outside of Mombasa, Kenya. Our founder, Jenny Nuccio, traveled there looking to help fund education projects for kids. As she got to know the families she realized that the children who were struggling the most came from single-income homes where their mothers did not have many job opportunities and often sold fruit for mere pennies a day. Jenny fell in love with the people and decided to move to Kenya full time to learn from and invest in the community.
Tierra & Lava – We believe you shouldn’t have to compromise with natural skincare – you can have a product that is both kind to your skin and the earth. All of our ingredients are locally sourced in an ethical and transparent way so we can ensure quality at every part of their journey; from inception to the final product. We build relationships with our farmers and financially support them so they can carry on the legacy of their disappearing traditional cultural practices. Many of our ingredients are grown in our very own organic garden, ensuring the utmost level of care. Because we are so connected to where our ingredients come from, we work to preserve their natural integrity – using as close to their whole, raw, and unadulterated forms as possible.
LVNGBook – LVNGbook’s mission is to help people feel more confident about making a healthy lifestyle change in ways that fit who they are. Our tools combine good food, nutrition, behavioral science, culture, and technology. We have a diverse team of recipe developers who specialize in creating easy, family-friendly, tasty recipes reflecting a variety of cuisines. Our registered dietitian creates guidelines and approves each recipe. LVNGbook’s cookbooks and planners include a habit change guide to help you create the mindset, environment, and routines you need to make a healthy lifestyle change last. We want to help you incorporate healthy eating into your speedy life, manage cooking for your family, and find ways to enjoy the flavors and cuisines you love.
Stasher – What started as an endlessly reusable, non-toxic silicone storage bag has exploded into a global mission that’s preventing over a billion single-use plastic bags from entering our oceans and landfills. As a proud member of 1% For the Planet, a portion of every Stasher sold goes straight to high-impact nonprofits like Surfrider and 5 Gyers, that are dedicated to preserving and rehabilitating our oceans. So far, Stasher has sold millions of bags preventing over 1 billion single-use plastic bags from entering our oceans and landfills. And we’re just getting started.
Roots Studio – Roots Studio works with indigenous artists globally to digitize their unique and endangered heritage arts onto new mediums, through a model that can financially support their livelihoods, communities, and traditions.
Organic and Fair Trade Food and Beverages
Yolélé was founded in 2017 to create economic opportunities for smallholder farming communities; to support biodiverse, regenerative, and resilient food systems; and to share Africa’s ingredients and cuisines with the world. Our first product is fonio (phone-yo): a tiny, nutrient-dense and drought-resistant ancient grain. Fonio has a light and fluffy texture, is naturally gluten-free, low glycemic, and cooks in just 5 minutes. West African inspired fonio pilaf blends, signed cookbooks, gift sets, and more can be found at yolele.com.
Acarí – Started in the summer of 2017 as a fun homemade snack, El Diablito jerky is a mouthwatering jerky that you won’t feel guilty eating. A couple years ago, the Acari team in Mexico began experimenting with ways to preserve the “devil fish” to craft a protein-packed snack for people on-the-go. After several months of experimenting with flavors in a household dehydrator, El Diablito was born. Because of the fish’s unique texture, El Diablito jerky tastes and feels like beef jerky but comes with the nutritional and environmental benefits of eating fish. As an invasive fish, every delicious bite of El Diablito helps to restore the natural ecosystem. No concerns of overfishing or fish farming here! El Diablito is the jerky you crave, without the guilt of traditional meat jerkies.
Coconut Whisk – Coconut Whisk is a mission-driven vegan & gluten-free baking mix company that helps busy families create healthy indulgences & positive kitchen experiences. Our yummy-tasting baking mixes are easy-to-make, dietitian-approved, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and made without preservatives or artificial ingredients. From pancakes to muffins to cookies, we make sure to create products that are better-for-you yet indulgent.
Waykana – Natural organic products for change-makers, people who make things happen. Made with Guayusa super leaf organically sourced from the Amazonian Rainforest that brings you healthy energy. Guayusa (gwhy-you-suh) is actually not a ‘tea’ but a herb. It is found in the Ecuadorian part of Amazon Rainforests. It has been called the Amazonian Superleaf and has high levels of Caffeine to give you the ‘Jaguar’ power.
SoulMuch – Working as waitresses in the restaurant industry, we became frustrated witnessing perfectly untouched food being thrown away each night. Oftentimes, it would be 30-40 pounds of oversupplied cooked brown rice, quinoa, and organic juice pulp doomed for landfill. We were wondering why nobody else was stopping this from happening. Then we realized, WE are that somebody.
De La Gente – Coffee is a huge global industry worth over $200 billion a year, and it’s estimated that only 10% of that income goes to coffee-producing countries. While it is a source of inspiration, daily ritual, and community for billions of drinkers around the world, it is all too often a source of economic precarity for farmers. We created De la Gente, a name that encapsulates our values and what we do. We specifically focused on the coffee value chain and related components and began to work with more cooperatives and on a larger scale. Today, De la Gente works with 5 cooperatives representing about 300 farmers and delivers almost $500,000 in improved income to farming communities. We have been recognized for our coffee and the quality of experiences we offer, and you can find our coffee with roasters around the US and Canada, or in our online shop.
Burlap & Barrel – Burlap & Barrel is a Public Benefit Corporation building new international food supply chains that are equitable, transparent, and traceable. We’re working towards ending inequality and exploitation in food systems that disenfranchise skilled farmers. We do this by:
- Connecting smallholder farmers to high-value markets
- Educating consumers about the impact of product traceability on human rights
- Sourcing unique foods with a terroir that are grown biodynamically and organically using traditional techniques
Black Mamba – My husband and I started Black Mamba for the simple reason that we were nuts about chilies! But we soon learned that they’re an amazing way to empower people and the planet too. We’re passionate about uplifting Swazi women and their families and now work with 60 women (and men), providing them with a sustainable income, to help them improve their lives.
Pulp Pantry – We’re putting vegetables at the front of your pantry, in unexpected places like cereals, chips, and more. We believe that healthy eating shouldn’t be complicated. With a little ingenuity, we’re here to see that vegetables make it to every aisle of the grocery store. We’re working to cultivate better, more nutritious & sustainable food choices that serve our generation and generations to come.
Ethical Shoes, Apparel, & Accessories
Someone Somewhere – Someone Somewhere engages communities in alignment with the philosophy of Buen Vivir, or Good Living, meaning to live in harmony with the community, family, nature, and the cosmos. It’s our hope to communicate this ethos – community-centric, ecologically-balanced, and culturally-sensitive – across everything we created. We seek to connect you with the thousands of artisans who live in vulnerable conditions to boost their development and contribute to their well-being. We combine their traditional crafts with pieces designed for you, creating products with a positive impact both for those who use them and those who make them. Through fair trade with artisan communities, we can contribute to the development and preservation of their traditions.
SALUBATA – Meet modular shoes knitted from recycled plastic wastes! At SALUBATA, our mission is to produce the best quality shoes and wearable products that help people and the planet. You contribute to removing 0.5kg of plastic wastes on earth for every shoe you purchase. Because the downhill impacts of these pollutants affect people in the underserved communities the most, we have decided to commit 5% of the profit of the shoes you purchase goes to empowering women in these regions.
NAECO – Your purchase of NAECO products helps support our mission to reverse damage to our ocean. We are 100% for the planet, and through our commitment as a 1% for the Planet member company we donate to ocean conservation organizations like Surfrider Foundation. We are very excited to now be planting a piece of coral for every purchase (with the option to plant more) together with our partner Coralive. We always prefer reusable to single-use and please remember – the best way to keep single-use plastics from getting in the ocean is to stop using them.
Nanay – NANAY is a Bolivian company dedicated to the production of Alpaca and Llama knitted baby and children’s clothing. Nanay is a socially conscious company, and Fair Trade certified. We work with 600 native local knitters who are heads of family and provide the main income to their homes. 90% of our knitters are women. Our main mission is to constantly create jobs and increase hand labor, to improve the living standards of the knitters by searching constantly the growth of our markets for the products. Nanay’s work method has encouraged knitters to become entrepreneurs by establishing their own small enterprise. The passion and enthusiasm that our team puts in the work that we do, makes Nanay products be knitted by happy people to make people happy.
Adelante Shoes – Adelante sells connective products and experiences to fund sustainable economic development in Latin America. We craft shoes that are on par with the highest quality footwear in the market at a fraction of the price. And we started experientially connecting each customer with their shoemaker throughout the production process. The Adelante story is one of capitalism retooled. We envision a future in which business is used to reduce poverty and promote inclusive development worldwide. So, Seguimos Adelante.
Prison Art – The Prison Art Project (NGO) was established in 2012 following its founder Jorge Cueto’s dream of creating a large rehabilitation program in Mexican penitentiaries. The foundation developed a training plan that offers the art and design skills needed for imprisoned people to be employed in the production of high-quality fashion products. Please note: Prices listed on their website are in Mexican Pesos.
EllieFunDay – People always ask, “How did EllieFunDay start”? I’ve always dreamed about creating a product that would empower the economically disadvantaged. With a lot of perseverance and heartache, we spent our first 2 years traveling to India vetting all the right partners to make sure that they were committed to empowering the poor through creating sustainable jobs. We hope that you and your loved ones continue to follow our journey here as we work together to empower the less fortunate through our gifts and products!
Soko – We are a women-led, people-first ethical jewelry brand and tech-powered manufacturing platform built to connect artisans in Kenya with the global market. We use mobile technology to connect marginalized Kenyan artisans directly to the global marketplace. Unlike centralized factory production, we use technology to enable the human workforce. Through a continued exploration of form, materiality, and artisan techniques, we create jewelry collections comprised of evolved classics and subtle statements to celebrate your uninhibited self-expression.
TAMGA Designs – TAMGA Designs is a sustainable lifestyle movement, born out of the need for a positive example in fashion. We believe in a bright future for style, people and the planet, so we create clothing that respects all three. Today we’re proud to be creating vibrant and premium quality clothing from the world’s best sustainable materials, with dignified conditions for every worker throughout the process. We’re excited to continue our journey and share every step of it with you, our TAMGA tribe.