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What if, instead of wrapping up something someone might not want, we wrap up the gift of a more sustainable and just world?
This highlights the huge disparities that impact people around the world and motivates us to invest in fair trade gifts to help correct some of these inequalities.
When you buy fair trade gifts, you’re supporting a product made by an artisan in (usually) a developing country who’s been paid fairly for their labor.
Ideally, this is backed up by an official Fair Trade Certification, but in the case of smaller brands who may be unable to afford the certification, we look for transparency, and a strict Code of Conduct that ensure equivalent standards.
Fair trade gifts keep on giving because they mean all parties involved are compensated with above-living wages and benefit from improved access to health care, education, and training opportunities.
Ultimately, they mean a better world, and that’s a gift we should all be giving.
For the best handmade fair trade gifts, we turn to Ocelot Market and their beautifully curated collection of fine gifts from small businesses and makers from around the world. It helps that they prioritize fair and ethical labor by only selling the wares of those who pay fair wages.
Another incentive for purchasing your gift from Ocelot Market: they plant a tree for every purchase.
Whether you need a housewarming gift or fair trade Christmas gifts, here are just a few possibilities OM offers:
- Zazi’s Striped Sand + Hunter Green Coasters, Set of 4: Made of sweetgrass and sisal, the sunburst pattern on these natural coasters is based on Rwanda’s flag and symbolizes hope. They’re intricately hand-woven by Rwandan women artisans in an ethical environment.
- Zazi’s Medium Metallic Gold Hope Round Basket: This beautiful natural fiber basket can be a fruit bowl, a decorative piece to hang on the wall, or a place to stash always-lost keys. Each bowl is colored with organic dyes and includes a profiled weaver tag.
- Zazi’s Beaded Pink, Sun + Pearl Bud Vase: This one-of-a-kind handwoven vase utilized glass beads and jacaranda wood. It takes weeks to complete in a fair trade, ethical environment.
There’s nothing better than a pair of winter slippers under the tree and a great option if you’re looking for fair trade gifts for him and her. For a wonderfully wooly gift, wrap up something from Baabuk, a family-owned Swiss company and hands-down one of our favorite sustainable slipper makers.
The slippers are made with just four ingredients: water, wool, soap, and natural latex rubber. They source natural New Zealand wool in a way that’s better for the sheep (because New Zealand doesn’t allow mulesing), the workers, and the planet.
The Certified B Corp is conscious about supporting their global makers in Nepal and while they’re not certified Fair Trade, they are serious about providing fair wages (no wool over the eyes here) and doing their part to help decrease regional poverty.
Their Nepalese workshop has 20 employees, all above 20 years old (no child labor), and they get paid 25% better than local employees. They also have the option of working overtime, for which they’re compensated with 50% more on top of their hourly rate.
Oh right, this article is about gifts for other people…
For friends and family who care about people and the planet, there’s no better gift than their fair trade pajamas. The breathable, waffle-knit GOTS organic cotton means warm and comfy nights all season long.
Because they’re Fair Trade certified, your gifted good night’s sleep comes with social development projects for farmers and factories that provide safe working conditions, empower and uplift local communities, and put the planet first.
Your gift recipient can then give back themselves by using the box their clothes came in! Pact’s Give Back Box lets people send gently used clothes back to Pact to be distributed to nonprofit organizations. How’s that for a new Boxing Day tradition?
If fair trade organic gifts are on your shopping list, Dab Herb’s Organic Make-up Set will make you blush. It includes mineral-free Petal Translucent powder, Coconut Eyeliner, Herb/Henna Mascara, Lip Tint, and Petal Power Blush.
The handmade products are made from 95% certified organic and 5% wildcrafted ingredients, some of which are food grade and sourced from fair trade certified farmers and suppliers. They’re cruelty-free and don’t use palm oil. They reuse the shipping materials from their own suppliers, and they use totally zero waste packaging.
Helping the global community in ways that go beyond fair trade, Dab Herb supports Made In The Free World, an organization committed to ending human tracking by providing rescue and care support for victims.
For those of us who panic at the thought of gift-giving season, gift cards make things easier and more eco friendly by eliminating unwanted gift waste.
Gone are the days when gift cards were considered impersonal. Ethical and fair trade gifts online have become much more popular in 2020, so sending and receiving a gift card to an ethical online marketplace ensures someone gets exactly what they want in a safe and sustainable way.
- Ocelot Market is one of the best places for responsible shopping—and finding unique items like Turkish shoes and handcrafted beaded jewelry from around the globe. They have gift cards available in $25, $50, $100, and $200 denominations.
- Ten Thousand Villages: With a maker-to-market mentality, Ten Thousand Villages is attempting to break cycles of generational poverty while igniting social change. They’re the place to shop for unique, sustainable, and downright beautiful fair trade accessories, homewares, kitchen items, and body care products. They sell physical gift cards but why waste the plastic when they also have e-cards?
- Made Trade: Made Trade makes it super easy to buy fair trade gifts through a function that allows you to search by values (including fair trade, made-in-the-USA, and women-owned). For those who want to leave the decision to someone else, mailed gift cards come in a range of amounts ($50 – $1,500) with a handwritten gift card. The digital gift cards come in the same range of values but are sent via email.
We all know and love someone who likes to keep it simple. Thankfully, minimalism is nowadays. For ethical fair trade gifts for minimalists, we’ll turn again to Ten Thousand Villages:
- These handcrafted Kenyan Flattened Hoop Earrings use brass in a modern and minimalist design to complement any outfit.
- For the cuppa lover in your life, this Speckled Tea Strainer Mug (pictured) combines minimalistic design with practicali-tea. It’s made by artisans at Sana Hastakala, a Nepalese fair trade organization that employs women in rural areas.
- For fair trade gifts for kids, check out Ten Thousand Villages’ cutest range of toys including wooden spinning tops from India, worry dolls from Guatemala (said to remove worries from sleeping children) and finger puppets from Nepal.
Not only is fair trade important for Ten Thousand Villages, but they were actually a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization and have strong partnerships with Level Ground Trading, Fair Trade Federation, and Equal Exchange.
They’ve invested $99 million dollars into the artisan communities they work with, especially giving women gainful employment. Now that’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
They’ve got gifts for anyone too (not just minimalists). We’d recommend checking out their Gift Shop—they offer sustainable gift wrap, too!
There’s probably another thing on your mind as we approach the holiday season: eating.
There’s nothing like joining friends and family to enjoy the gift of good food. So why not impress the chef or foodie in your life with something for their kitchen?
Here are a few fair trade Christmas gifts for foodies that caught our eye and made our stomachs grumble:
- Minna’s Peach Grid Apron: This 100% cotton apron has been made by a family-run, women-owned, and fair trade cooperative located in Chiapas, Mexico. It’s got a few tool loops for your spoons and spatulas. For a more involved gift, they sell other kitchen staples to match.
- Creative Women’s Stone Washed Linen Tablecloth: There’s nothing that screams a thoughtful meal like one with a good base. What better meal base than a linen tablecloth?! This one is made from the world’s finest Belgian flax and crafted in a women-owned, fair trade workshop in India.
- Azizi Life’s Wooden Lela Long Handle Measuring Spoon Set: These hand-carved wooden measuring spoons are made of musave tree wood that’s been polished with beeswax. Azizi Life is a Fair Trade Federation member that partners with artisans in Rwanda.
Since all these gifts are available on Made Trade, they’ll also send via carbon offset shipping and, as members of 1% for the Planet, part of your purchase will go back to the environment.
Omi Woods is THE place to do any and all ethical jewelry shopping. The word ‘omi’ translates to ‘water’ in the Yoruba language and pays homage to the founder’s Jamaican-Ashanti-Maroon heritage.
As a black-owned business, these contemporary heirloom jewelry pieces celebrate the connection to Africa and her diaspora. Each piece is designed to last a long time and be passed down to future generations.
All gold is sourced from fair trade African artisanal mines that provide education, health care, safety, and living conditions for mining families and their communities.
You’ll find fair trade jewelry gifts for both men and women, including rings, anklets, stacks, bracelets, pendants, and necklaces.
VivaTerra literally means “living earth,” the first indication of how green this sustainable furniture brand is. They’ve got “globally-inspired” chairs, mirrors, cabinets, bookshelves, and bedding made out of reclaimed or FSC-certified wood, vintage upholstery, salvaged metal, or recycled glass.
They’ve also got a handy Holiday Gifts page to help any last-minute shoppers on their search for sustainable fair trade gifts. Here are just a few:
- Mini Bolga Baskets: These elephant grass baskets are handwoven by fair trade artisans in Ghana. They’re perfect planter baskets, storage, and carrying things around the house.
- Sliced Wood Round Side Table: Hand-crafted by skilled (and fair trade) woodworkers in Indonesia, the combination of natural acacia wood grains means this side table can add natural beauty to any space.
- Reach For The Moon Indukala Journal (pictured): This unique lunar-inspired fair trade journal embraces the traditional art of cotton paper making in Rajasthan, India. Featuring pages made from cotton waste, it’s a 100% tree-free way to record thoughts, memories, and dreams.
When it comes to sustainable men’s clothing companies and fair trade gifts for him, Outerknown is outta this world.
90% of their fabrics are organic, recycled, and regenerated fibers, sourced and processed responsibly.
Outerknown was the first brand to pursue Fair Labor Association accreditation—before they even shipped their first product. Through a partnership with Fair Trade USA, Outerknown has now positively impacted more than 5,000 workers.
With fair trade jeans, tees, shirts, sweaters, outerwear, pants, polos, henleys, shorts, trunks, shoes, and accessories, even the pickiest of guys are sure to find something they’ll wear here… or go with a gift card to be safe.
Canadian brand Tentree has some of our favorite sustainable sweaters, scarves, and other gift-ready items. Since Tentree plants ten trees for every product sold, here are 10 reasons they’re one of our favorite sustainable fashion brands:
- They use 100% organic cotton for most products.
- Which all look incredibly cozy and earth-inspired.
- So far, they’ve planted almost 50,000,000 trees (their goal is a billion).
- They plant the trees in areas of the world impacted by deforestation to improve soil health and biodiversity.
- They’re a Certified B Corp.
- With a score of 124.6 (which is really, really good), they’re one of the highest ranked B Corps— the top 1% for manufacturing.
- They’re transparent about manufacturing processes, with specific details of each factory (some certified Fair Trade).
- They have a Code of Conduct that says a big NO to excessive work hours, harassment, corruption, forced labor, child labor, or sub-living wages.
- They partner with GreenStep to calculate the environmental impact of each garment.
- They have everything you could need when looking for fashionable fair trade gifts for her, whether your gal is a lounge lover or crazy about camping.
Don’t forget each ethical hoodie and fair trade dress or romper comes with the additional gift of ten trees planted in your loved ones’ honor.
What better gift for under the tree than what we wear underneath our clothes? Ethical underwear is one of the most practical eco friendly gifts there is.
- Pact’s fair trade underwear is made with long staple, organic, and fair trade cotton, without toxic dyes or pesticides. Better for your bits and better for the planet. They’ve got men’s, women’s and kids’ bottoms covered.
- Azura Bay’s earth-loving lingerie is made with sustainable materials like GOTS-certified organic cotton, recycled synthetics, recycled lace, and TENCEL lyocell. These sustainably sexy pieces come from a variety of fair trade certified and other strict labor law compliant brands. A simple search will show you which options are certifed fair trade—like this recycled mesh set from Underprotection.
Equal Exchange is the one-stop shop for some of the world’s fairest products, from groceries to gifts. Their worker cooperative model is one of the best chances we have at a truly democratic food system. It goes beyond fair trade, keeping big corporate interests out and providing farmers and markers with fair pay and community support.
For anyone who’s dreaming of a better world, check out their Solidarity Box (pictured) . This delectible collection includes organic coffee and tea, organic and biodynamic dark chocolate, Palestinian medjool dates, and more.
Edible and ethical, purchasing it supports farmers cooperatives, workers, and communities in different areas around the globe.
We hope these top fair trade gifts inspire the sustainable Santa and fairtrade Father Christmas (or whatever your special holiday figure is) in all of us.
Impressing someone with a new sweater, pair of undies, or sustainable make-up kit can help you ensure that everyone has a fair and equitable festive season. It’s easy to get carried away during the holiday season, but with gifts like these, getting carried away isn’t necessarily a bad thing (though we are proponents of minimalist giving as much as possible).
Now it’s your turn to open a present. Do you have any fave fair trade gift ideas you’d like to share? This is the season of giving after all!
For more gift ideas, check out our list of Etsy gifts, zero waste gifts and gifts for vegans.