An Ethical Gift

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Hello everyone,

It’s that time of year again, where the shops are bursting with people buying presents for loved ones and the amazing Christmas jumpers are dusted off once more for another parade during December.

I have been spreading my Christmas gift buying over a couple of months this year, not only to ease the pain to the bank balance but also to find the perfect gifts for my loved ones. I have also noticed recently, especially my time working in the student green office and in my current retail job that the question of ethical buying and consumerism has come up a lot from customers and students.

The SGO has provided a little guide to ethical buying and a list of 10 retailers to find that perfect Christmas gift that was ethically sourced:

What is ethical buying?

Ethical buying involves favouring ethical products, such as Fairtrade chocolate, organic strawberries or cruelty-free eggs. Shopping ethically helps give people a higher quality of life, and achieves sustainable development.
Ethical buying may reduce globalisation, narrowing the divide between the rich and the poor, help local communities, businesses, shopkeepers and farmers gain power, and reduce the consumption of natural resources.
Ethical buying gives YOU a say in how products are made, and how the company that produces them are run. It can make a difference, but we need you to help us.
clothes, glorious, clothes
So you need a pair of shoes which need to be comfortable and look good, but also need to be ethically made, are cheap and have low environmental impact? Check out our tips below to find prom-perfect shoes for that fabulous night out!
Buy second-hand
Second– hand shops are perfect for buying those in-fashion clothes, but are cheap at the same time. Yes, you may come across a (no offence) old granny dress which you would not want to be seen dead in, but if you look hard, you’ll be able to find adorable prom dresses, sequinned tops, and sometimes even oh-so-perfect boots.
Boutique of the BFF
You may have to do a bit of sweet talking, charming, and bribing with a (Fairtrade) chocolate bar, but ask nicely and he/ she may let you have a search through their wardrobe. Sharing each others clothes means you have access to double the amount with no extra cost! Make sure you don’t spill anything on her dress on that night out though– she won’t thank you for that.
Look online at ethical and green clothing companies. While they may be much more expensive than high street brands, you can sleep easy know you are buying from ethical brands, which treat their employers with more respect, and use ethical produce to create their clothing. Mix with second-hand shopping to make online shopping affordable.
Do you really need it?
Next time you come across a coat or pair of earrings you like, think ‘is it really necessary to buy this?’ Chances are you already have a fir coat in the same colour, or a pair of heels shockingly similar to that pair you saw in New Look when you look back. Say ‘NO’. A week later you’ll usually discover you didn’t really need it and you’ve saved twenty quid to contribute to that pair of winter boots you found online that you do need.
Heavenly Chocolate
According to the International Cocoa Association, 3.7m tonnes of cocoa was produced, however a discovery was made that 997,357 children in Ghana worked to make chocolate for us– otherwise known as child labour.
Chocolate production also impacts global warming. Temperatures in the cocoa-growing regions are predicted to rise by 2 degrees by 2050, affecting the suitability of farm crops.
What with the festive season on our doorstep, we believe you need to know the best of the best ways to source ethical chocolate without the need to feel guilt.
Companies such as Niko B are AWESOME for seasonal chocolate. It is Fairtrade and 100% organic. It uses biodegradable and recycled packaging and composts unneeded products. The ingredients are seasonal, and made in small batches.
For those of you that are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free or egg-free, Cocoa Loco, based in Sussex, is the perfect choice of chocolate. The chocolates are made by people in the local community with care. They disagree with exploitation, the farmers being paid fair wages for the work they perform.
If locally made cocoa treats are what you’re looking for, purchase Montezuma’s luxury chocolate. A truly British brand, they are made in West Sussex. The company recycles and reuses packaging to limit damage to the environment. They provide both organic and vegan sweets.
We understand how annoying it can be when you are a nearly broke university student. But Divine chocolate, based in London, is both good priced and helps with sustainability. The company is 45% owned by farmers in Ghana, meaning they get a large share of the profits earned. They are working to reduce their carbon footprint, and are available at Waitrose and Oxfam as well as online.

List of 10 ethical High street stores and Online stores:


body shop






ASOS Green Room –  Link

Made UK –  Link

Seasalt Cornwall – Link 

If you would like to find out more about ethical buying or ethical fashion please visit this amazing blog that i stumbled upon called Ethical Fashion. I provides great how to? projects and amazing tips to buying ethically.


Jess, Megan & SGO



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