Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and whether you love the showy display of affection, or loathe it with every fiber of your being, chances are you’re going to have to do something to celebrate your love—and you’re going to have to make it good.
But if you’d rather stay away from the ethical complications of some traditional Valentine’s Day gifts—like diamonds, which most likely came from the bloody battlefield of an overseas political insurgency—there are still options for you. Sustainable, ethically-sourced gifts can be just as festive as their traditional counterparts, but they’re blessedly free from the hangover of guilt.
What follows are the best ethically sound Valentine’s Day gift ideas, none of which will fund a war, promote slavery, poison the environment, or otherwise sully your love with the rank odor of social injustice.
Roses are pretty much a given on Valentine’s Day, so if you’re going to go that route, go organic. Organic Bouquet offers sustainably grown flowers in biodegradable packaging. The company also partners with organizations like Fair Trade and the Rainforest Alliance to bring jobs to communities in need.
No Valentine’s Day celebration is complete without chocolate. But mass-marketed brands like Hershey often source their cocoa from farmers who use child labor. Put down the Hershey’s Kisses and instead look for brands that are Certified Fair Trade. One in particular is Theo Chocolate in Washington state. The company takes online orders and sells through a national network of local retailers.
Decadent soaps and personal care products are a Valentine’s Day mainstay, but many still utilize animal testing and include chemicals that aren’t great for the environment. Lush is the holy grail for anyone looking for organic, cruelty-free, homemade soaps and lotions that are so decadent, they still feel like high-end department store buys.
Who doesn’t love a bottle of wine? CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are best known for delivering fresh vegetables to your door, but there are also wine CSAs, which allow subscribers to buy into a harvest. If you and your partner are regular wine drinkers, a wine CSA can be surprisingly cheaper than buying bottles of organic wine individually. But more importantly, those who buy in get to support a locally sourced, sustainable business that relies on seasonal harvests and can produce a surprisingly wide range of varietals. Searching for a local one is as easy as going online.
So you’re pulling out the big guns and going with jewelry. It’s quite a statement. If you want to keep it simple and affordable, Fair Indigo uses organic materials and is Certified Fair Trade. Or you can brandish the serious “spend the rest of your life with me” artillery and go with Brilliant Earth, one of the only reliable sources of diamond jewelry that mines from Canada, where labor and environmental standards are high.
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