Gifts That Give Back To People And The Planet 2023 Guide

A hug, a phone call, or a card is certainly more than enough — particularly this year.

Yet, if you are interested in gifting a little something to your family, friends, or colleagues, here are some brands that are looking to build a better economy that’s people and planet-friendly.


This small business is rethinking how we use candles, which have been a popular purchase through the pandemic. Instead of buying a new vessel each time, they sell you just the wax and wick. A little DIY is needed. The packaging is compostable and you can keep ordering refills from them. Order a ceramic vessel from Siblings directly or repurpose something already at home. And relax.



When France went into lockdown, the Veja team benefitted from a statewide compensation program for all French citizens and residents. But Veja decided to extend those benefits to their entire team in Brazil and in the US, ensuring that everyone on their team would be paid.

So aside from continuing to use organic cotton, recycled polyester, resin made from corn waste, and wild Amazonian rubber, Veja also made a social commitment to its global team. If you are in the market for a new pair of shoes, these are ones you can feel good about buying, even in a pandemic.


Girlfriend Collective is known for their size-inclusive leggings and sports bras made out of recycled materials. Parks Project is a brand raises money for US national parks through purchases. The two have come together in a unique collection this holiday: made from 79% recycled plastic bottles (RPET), each purchase supports a program to send more kids to the National Parks in the US and experience the beauty of the outdoors, in hopes they become stewards of the land.


Bay Area brand Taylor Stitch has made a reputation for doing classic menswear well and using eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, recycled fibers, and wool. This winter, their Gibson Jacket has a yesteryear appeal but is styled for the modern man. Made with wool and dead stock fabrics that have been repurposed, it’s an investment piece that can sit in the wardrobe for years — if not, decades — to come without going out of style.


New Zealand brand Icebreaker has announced its plans to go plastic-free. With much of their emphasis on responsibly-sourced wool, the brand specializes in 100% merino wool, sourced from New Zealand itself (a country known for its high sheep count!) The 200 Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe Snow Heritage is their best-selling base layer top that can be worn to bed, on Zoom, and under real clothes when you do decide to pop out of the house.


Admit it. These may not the prettiest shoes you’ve ever seen. But they’ll be a great conversation starter, particularly the recycled foam soles. Left in their natural state, these shoes save water and chemicals used in the dying process, and use 100% recycled fibers for the body. Great for everyday strolling to the grocery store and back.


You may have that travel itch by now. But instead of buying yourself a plane ticket, consider a beautiful handwoven rug that’ll bring a bit of Morocco to your home. Made graciously by these artists, you can customize their offering, learn about the Berber women who hand weave each piece, and be a part of the process. The rugs come in an assortment of sizes from small mats to massive eye-catching works of art that could even be hung on the wall.


Sweatpants anyone? 2020 may be heralded as the year of loungewear. Richer Poorer is committing to use more eco-friendly materials in their entire collection going forward. They’ve started with these comfy bottoms made out of recycled poly. And on Giving Tuesday, they’re launching a buy one, give one pack for the holidays.

Over the holidays, the Richer Poorer team will be hand delivering over 4,000 gift bags to Boys & Girls Club Metro LA, The Midnight Mission and South LA Café — all of which will include socks, tees, PPE, and gift cards.


Canadian brand Pela wants to tackle all the waste that comes with our tech obsession. Unlike most conventional phone cases that are made of plastics, their selection are made out of bio-based polymers (aka plant-based “plastics”). The cases are designed to breakdown in composting units. Based on temperature and the local organic matter, those breakdown times can range from 6 months to 2 years. But the company has shared this data on the site to show what tests have indicated. Coupled with carbon offsets and donating 1% to the planet, Pela hopes to redefine how we use and look after our beloved smartphones.


Women-founded brand Sijo not only creates soothing loungewear sets, such as this one made out of eucalyptus fibers in relaxing shades of gray, sage, and pale pink, but they’ve also partnered with Joyful Heart Foundation, a non-profit that helps women who have been victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and abuse. As a brand crafted by women, aiming to serve women, a percentage of sales will go to the foundation.


Made in a women-owned factory in Peru, this alpaca sweater exemplifies the brand’s ‘less is more’ attitude. Classy, elegant, and slightly oversized, this turtleneck is the right mix for 2020: cozy enough to wear around the house, yet a polished look that’s a massive upgrade from your PJs. Shilpa Shah, co-founder of Cuyana, explains that Cuyana’s alpaca production is Oeko-Tex certified (meaning no hazardous chemicals are in the finished garment). Moreover, alpaca fibers are an eco-friendly material, she says, because their “soft padded feet and gentle grazing patterns prevent land degradation.” Beauty meets substance.


Patagonia is putting emphasis on recycled materials this holiday season. Just under 70% of the company’s fabrics are made with recycled materials this winter; in comparison, under 10% of fibers made globally are done so with recycled materials. In fact, this Black Friday weekend, Patagonia is urging customers to repair its old clothes, primarily, or buy used ones. But if you’re in the market for a new sweater, this wool cardigan puts recycled wool to work in a timeless design.


Old is gold, right? When it comes to Levi’s, these vintage gems are a classic slice of Americana. Now, the denim brand wants to make them a staple in our modern-day wear. Repurposing clothing and keeping it going is the most eco-friendly solution: it doesn’t require additional dyes, water, or manufacturing. So Levi’s is selling used jackets, dating back to the 1960s even, in hopes that a new generation will give them the attention they once received. Check out the Secondhand shop for a collection of previously used pieces that still have some years ahead in them.

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