Top 25 Holiday Gifts for Environmentalists, Conscious Consumers, and Ethical Shoppers This 2019

Whether you're shopping for your environmentalist friends or whether you're a conscious consumer who wants to make better ethical spending decisions this holiday season, we've researched the brands and companies you can trust for your gifts and holiday shopping. These are the top 25 ideas for unique, environmentally-friendly gifts and gifts that give back to charitable causes to make the season of giving a little easier.




December 3, 2019

The Best Sustainable, Ethical Gift Guide 2019

Shopping for an environmentalist or as an environmentalist can be difficult, especially during the holiday season when you're not sure what gifts to get for your loved ones. However, this year, The Good Startup has made your holiday shopping easy by curating a list of 25 Top Brands in 2019 to know and trust when shopping for eco-friendly, ethical, and conscious consumers.

Many of these gifts are clean and simple, and others are gifts that help the environment or give back to charity. NOTE: As always, The Good Startup was not paid to write any of this content or feature any of these brands, and these recommendations are truly our own.

Read on for our list of environmentally friendly gift ideas that you can trust from these brands and our advice for making the most out of your green holiday shopping this season!

What to Get for an Environmentalist for the 2019 Holiday Season

0. A Little Something About Utility

The Good Startup has focused on companies really making a change in the world, which is why we've never really encouraged unnecessary consumerism - even from products and brands that pledge to do good with their profits. While we 100% believe that the way you spend your money is a way you can cast a vote on the future of our planet, we would never encourage you to buy more than you have to.

That's why this holiday, you should first focus on getting your friends and family gifts that are the products and services that you think they'd enjoy and be able to use the most. You should have these gifts revolve around the theme of getting many uses out of the product and/or minimizing the long-term waste involved with the gift. Low-packing food, durable clothing, or unforgettable experiences all work for this idea if they're things you know that your friend needs the most.

This may take a little more thought, effort, and creativity, which make your gift even more special, as opposed to relying on Christmas gift guides on the internet (that are filled with affiliate links and hidden monetary incentives from bloggers and sellers, unlike The Good Startup's list) as a cheat sheet to getting a half-a**ed "thank you" from your friends.

However, if you're shopping for an environmentalist or an ethical consumer, these next gifts can't fail. Whether they're popular companies on the rise or new brands you've never heard of yet, discover the best cool sustainable gifts in 2019 to get for your environmentalist friends. Focus on utility first, but then move on to The Good Startup's Holiday Guide 2019.

25. The Little Market

A member of the Fair Trade Alliance and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, The Little Market is a one stop shop for fair-trade, handmade products that guarantees proceeds to all sorts of charities around the world. Our favorite products are the tote bags, and their kitchen serveware look very well-designed.

As a nonprofit, The Little Market gives money to alleviate many different problems in the world, including: homelessness, domestic violence, refugees, and human trafficking.

24. Creative Action Network

Artists meet activism with the Creative Action Network. Get modern pieces of art printed onto wall art, apparel, stationary, and other merchandise, but even more importantly express what you believe in as an activist and support your favorite movements with each one of your purchases. CAN's Green New Deal merchandise proudly gives back to Sunrise Movement with every sale, working hard to reverse the effects of climate change.

Green New Deal Posters
Artist credits: Top (L-R): Jordan Johnson, Brooke Fischer, S.E. Bloom; middle (L-R): Liza Donovan, James McInvale, Elizabeth Beals; bottom (L-R): Juana Medina, Susanne Lamb & Alyssa Winans

Artists get paid for their talent and voice, and causes receive funds, support, and awareness. The Creative Action Network has included their own 2019 holiday shopping guide here.

23. Imperfect Foods

Now this is a company that has done good marketing because they've made their customers fall in love with the perfectly fine (although odd-looking) fruits and vegetables that never get to make it to the grocery stores. There's a sort of quaint charm to Imperfect Foods, and they've made it to the list of top nutrition startups in 2019.

Box of imperfect goodies, including zucchini, almonds and cage free eggs. Imperfectly shaped carrots. Close up of cooked meal

With great reviews in the health and wellness industry, Imperfect Foods shows us what food should look like, how to drastically minimize food waste at scale, and how to love our own flaws, making it one of the best subscriptions to get for a loved one this holiday season.

22. Thrive Market

This was something I personally on my wish list this year, and I can see myself asking for itas a gift every year from here on out. Thrive Market offers crazy high, guaranteed average savings of $384 a year on healthy food, clean home and bath essentials, and safe supplements all through a simple membership.

A Thrive Market membership helps you stick to your diet and healthy lifestyle while their program gives back to teachers, veterans, students, and low-income families to make healthy living accessible to all. With over 6,000 products and discounts up to 50% off retail, Thrive Market sells the healthiest products that you can actually trust, and you can check out a review of Thrive Market here.

21. World Wildlife Fund (Stuffed) Animal Adoption

If you know someone's favorite animal, then getting them a gift that gives back is easy. The World Wildlife Fund sells stuffed animals in over 100 species, and you can show your support for the nonprofit that's out there saving endangered species.

Beyond the adoption kit, if you wanted to virtually adopt an endangered species or a cute real-life animal of your own, you can opt for the virtual adoption gift package, which makes the most positive impact on the animal you care about.

20. Terrapass Carbon Offsets

Give the gift of carbon offsets this year to your most environmentally-conscious friend. Terrapass offers carbon offsets to sponsor carbon reduction projects and reverse the climate change our atmosphere is facing. They're one of the best gifts this holiday season to directly promote clean energy.

We actually interviewed Terrapass in October 2019, and you can read that interview here.

19. The Top Charities to Give to and Make a Difference

Do you have a friend who wants to really give back this holiday season? The ones with the big hearts that never stop giving are the ones who should really be protected at all costs. If they're needing an introduction to effective altruism, then you can introduce them to The Most Good You Can Do by Peter Singer, a book we recently read that teaches us how to live ethical lives making the maximum influence we can.

The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically

Rather than buy from Amazon, try shopping for a copy of philosopher Peter Singer's book here at Better World Books because they're a B Corp that gives back to literacy organizations around the world.

If you're looking to donate to the most effective charities that actually make a difference, you can check out GiveWell or The Life You Can Save's top charities that save and improve the most lives per dollar donated. The Life You Can Save is also the title of Peter Singer's book that the charity is giving away for free here for its 10 year anniversary.

18. Equator Coffee

A gift for your favorite coffee lover - done ethically by a trusted B Corp. You can buy ethically sourced, clean coffee blends from Equator Coffee and know that you're supporting fair-trade products and every employee in their supply chain. With unique blends from all over the world that support charities in animal wildlife, employees' rights, sustainable agriculture, and more, Equator Coffee is quickly becoming the gold standard of how to bring the best, ethical coffee to market.

17. Bon Temps Tea

Another ethical way to get some clean caffeine, Bon Temps sells tea that contains no chemicals, pesticides, or bleaches. They claim to be the cleanest, safest teas in the world. Besides just having the cutest tea packaging design on earth, Bon Temps tea is great for holiday gifting because they also give part of their proceeds as grants to invest in women in entrepreneurship.

16. ONEHOPE Wine

If caffeine isn't your drug of choice, maybe choose to gift something a little stronger. ONEHOPE itself is a nonprofit, so when you buy their wine, each bottle supports a different cause. So far they've planted over 100,000 trees, provided medicine to 200,000 individuals, and given over 2 million children meals.

No photo description available.

ONEHOPE never skimps on quality either. Sourced from their very own vineyard in Napa Valley, ONEHOPE wines protect their own region, ship domestically, and also have won over 100 wine medals and ranked as the #1 selling wine on Amazon.

15. 100% Pure Makeup

Clean makeup is finally here to stay with 100% Pure. Find fruit-pigmented makeup, skincare products, and hair and body care products all under one brand you can trust that actually cares about the ingredients they use and their impact on their environment. All products are guaranteed to be naturally sourced and cruelty-free, and they promise 100% satisfaction for your purchases.

14. Beautycounter Cosmetics

Clean beauty gets taken to the next level with Beautycounter. They have a list of over 1,500 common ingredients in drugstore makeup that they swear to never use in their own products, and they're looking to shift the beauty industry as a whole by advocating for stricter guidelines and regulations in the personal care industry.

They're socially responsible when sourcing and very transparent about their goals and production process. Sustainability and healthy products are their top two priorities, so their makeup is perfect for any beauty lover in your life.

13. Back to the Roots

A great gift for plant lovers, green thumbs, and nature enthusiasts, Back to the Roots' windowsill garden kits are so easy to fall in love with. Back to the Roots makes it easy to simple grow your own herbs, microgreens, fruits, and vegetables - all customizable to how much space you have and where you're located.

Our favorite kits they sell are the hydroponic ones because they need minimal care, and the recipe books Back to the Roots offers look really good as well. They're great as a source of solace in an urban area and as an educational starter pack for new plant enthusiasts!

12. Public - Supply Stationary

Public - Supply sells some of the most beautiful stationary I've ever seen. Their notebooks, tote bags, pencils, and gift sets are elegantly designed and are bound to help you express your thoughts. Get a set of clean-looking pencils and notebooks for the writers, note takers, and organizers in your life.

A great thing about Public - Supply is that they support classrooms. Teachers submit project ideas and proposals for student activities, experiments, field trips, and more for Public - Supply to fund, and already, Public - Supply has helped nearly 60,000 students.

11. By Humankind

One company that has been taking the millennials' consumer products market by storm is by Humankind. They send you high quality, natural personal care products, such as soap, mouthwash, and deodorant, in reusable packaging. This eliminates waste, and the reusable containers you get are made of recycled materials and guaranteed to last for life.

By Humankind is taking a stand against the one-use plastic crisis one reusable container at a time, and their kind, classy packaging and products help us do our part in reducing waste.

10. Rareform

Rareform's designs are unique. From their color, shape, modern looks, and more, Rareform sells bags and accessories made out of recycled billboard vinyl. Yup, it's interesting alright. Rareform has managed to create a business out of giant old billboard sheets that were destined for the landfill and instead turned the bright colors and materials into something beautiful. Think of your artsy, contemporary friend who would love these cute designs.

9. The Ocean Bottle

Everyone needs a good water bottle, and The Ocean Bottle does the job by turning plastic trash into beautiful water bottles that last a lifetime. Purchasing this reusable bottle funds the collection of 1,000 plastic bottles from the ocean, which is equal to about 25 pounds of plastic waste.

While the outside of the Ocean Bottle is plastic, its interior is stainless steel, which insulates your liquids up to 18 hours. After their successful campaign on Indiegogo, they've been sold out many times, but they're now restocked for the holiday season, so I suggest ordering these as gifts as soon as possible!

8. Bombas Socks

What's a holiday gift guide without some socks? Bombas is known for their socks and apparel, but they're dedicated to giving back to the homeless. They follow a one-for-one model, so for each item you buy, Bombas donates an item to homeless shelters. With clothing being the item that's always in the highest demand at homeless shelters, Bombas brings awareness to this issue they're trying to solve and donates more clothes each year as the company grows.

7. United by Blue

There are few clothing companies that can say they're continuing to remove more than 2 million pounds of trash from our waterways. Buying United by Blue as a holiday gift will make your friends and family proud to support a company that produces sustainable, long-lasting clothes and solves environmental problems through their philanthropy and ocean cleanup missions.

Beyond their lifetime guarantee for their entire outdoors brand, United by Blue pays attentions to the details and removes all unnecessary packaging from their supply chain, down to the plastic tape and the tiny plastic swift tags attached to your clothing.

6. Amour Vert

Amour Vert is an up-and-coming sustainable fashion brand for men and women. So far, they sell limited quantity pieces made of sustainable fabrics all crafted in California and planted almost 300,000 trees with their profits. Amour Vert means "green love" in French and continues to live up to its name by producing high quality, timeless clothing that convince us that we can really end fast fashion sooner than we think, making it a great company to support and give as a gift this holiday season.

5. Wearwell

One thing about sustainable, ethical clothing is that it can be really hard to find the newer, fresher brands that are truly doing good for the world. A wearwell subscription solves this issue! Their conscious clothing company partners help wearwell become your personal shopper and find the right clothes that tailor to your fashion taste and the causes you care about. Their membership is based on a monthly subscription fee and very affordable prices for additional clothing you purchase from them.

We interviewed the co-founder of wearwell in the other month, and you can read that interview here.

4. Patagonia ReCrafted Collection

While Patagonia is always a classic gift to give for Christmas, their ReCrafted Collection, as part of their Worn Wear initiative, is new. As opposed to gifting clothes made of new material or used clothing, you have a great alternative option with Patagonia because they've started to repurpose old materials from garments that people would've just dumped in the landfill. They clean, deconstruct, and re-sew materials from fast fashion or worn-out clothes and create them into beautiful vests that your outdoorsy friends will love for the holidays.

3. Nudie Jeans

This is by far the most environmentally conscious denim company I've ever come across, and we know that you can never go wrong gifting a pair of durable, clean-fitting jeans for the holidays. Nudie Jeans cares about being eco-friendly and ethical to all humans and animals in every step of the supply chain, even to long after the customer has worn the item.

Nudie Jeans develop their own unique distressed style after you wear your pair over time, and they even provide free repairs on your jeans no matter how much you've worn them. From sourcing, to production, to the post-purchase customer service, Nudie Jeans is dedicated to being the best jeans for the planet.


Another new pioneer in the sustainable fabrics game is RUMI X. Their yoga pants, leggings, women's activewear, and yoga wear have beautiful patterns and colors and fit perfectly, but what makes them stand out is what their fabrics are made of. Their materials innovation is a blend of recycled plastic...and upcycled coffee grounds.

The secret is in the coffee grounds, which when cleaned and spun into the plastic yarn, makes RUMI X the softest, flexible leggings that your favorite yogi will love to receive as a gift. Even more interesting is their next innovation, which will be activewear made of discarded crab shells, and The Good Startup will definitely stay tuned for that update.

1. Lokal Travel

If you've stuck around to read all the way to the end of this holiday gift guide, you're lucky. I've saved my favorite holiday gift idea for environmentalists for last. Lokal Travel gives the gift of experiences by offering you non-touristy, once-in-a-lifetime excursions and ecolodges that actually immerse you in your destination's culture rather than act as just a disruptive, annoying outsider.

Lokal Travel experience: Making homemade tortillas in Guatemala

Additionally, you're helping build the community's bond and encouraging sustainable ecotourism while learning about the amazing world you're in, which makes this gift one of the best memorable presents that anyone could want this holiday season.

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Be the first to know when we figure out something really, really cool

Thanks for being interested in doing good. Please remember to click the social media icons to share The Good Startup with friends!
Something went wrong, please enter your valid email address
Do Things Worth Doing.

The Good Startup is this ambiguous, awkward brand going through puberty right now. Rebellious, existential - but still a heart of gold - I have this weird hobby of designing ways to make your life better (and more badass) than it was before.