When it comes to choosing a Christmas gift, what factors guide your decision? Is it cost? Aesthetics? Quality? Fashion?
How about whether the product has been produced and distributed in a sustainable and fair way, or whether it contributes to the social and environmental good of our planet? This is the concept behind the booming market for ethical products and gifts.
While there’s no universal definition for what constitutes an ethical product, the term generally refers to merchandise that “gives back” to either people or the planet.
Ethical products include those that fall under the “Fair Trade” label – a certification scheme that aims to ensure producers receive a fair price for their goods; products that promote environmental sustainability; products that provide a social or economic benefit to vulnerable communities; and products that help raise funds for charities and other organisations working for a better world.
But what does all this mean for your Christmas Gifts?
It’s easy to choose Christmas gifts that are beautiful, useful, and also make a difference to the world.
Here’s some ideas for how you can find other great ethical gifts for your friends, family and colleagues this Christmas:
- Visit an ethical retail store e.g. Oxfam Shop (stores nation-wide and online), The Trading Circle (VIC, NSW, QLD, NZ and online), Only Just (VIC and online), and Green Collect(VIC).
- Shop online for ethical products – for instance, check out the People & Planet Diary and Calendar, which help raise funds for Australian charities; The Social Traders Good Gift Christmas Catalogue, International Women’s Development Agency Gifts of Change Catalogue, Friends of the Earth, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and East Timor Women Australia.
- Contact your favourite charity; many have Christmas gift options e.g. The ‘Food For Hope’ Cookbook produced by Connecting Hands.
- Consult the Fair Trade Shopping Guide for businesses that supply fair trade crafts, clothing and giftware, as well as Fair Trade Certified products.