As consumers, we have decisions to make every day about what we buy and where we choose to shop.
Each choice might seem small in isolation, but together they can have a big impact on the world we live in.
For that reason, it has never been more important for us to take responsibility and support brands that both prioritise and promote sustainability.
We should work together on a solution that not only meets our consumer needs in the present, but also gives conscious thought to how our habits affect future generations.
Today, we’re sharing a comprehensive guide that explores sustainable gifting, and why shopping considerately is a positive philosophy.
What is sustainable gifting?
Sustainable gifting is defined as giving presents that seek to minimise the use of resources by choosing products made from natural, reusable, or biodegradable materials.
It also means supporting artisan and independent businesses, so that they can afford to pay their workers fairly and help create a society that benefits everybody.
Sustainable gifts also generate less waste while encouraging us to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle.
What is a good sustainable gift?
With the act of gifting creating millions of tons of waste every year, the best place to start is by looking for alternatives that have as small an impact as possible.
There are many examples of ethically-sourced, environmentally-conscious, and sustainable gifts. A good sustainable gift needs to have environmental, social, and economic benefits. This applies to its entire life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials to the manufacturing process, consumer usage and, finally, being recycled.
For example, stainless steel water bottles sidestep the need for single-use plastic alternatives, while reusable grocery (or tote) bags are ideal for supermarket trips.
When it comes to sustainable beauty, luxury gift sets that are inspired by nature and packed full of essential oils can be a perfect present.
All in all, the best gift is a thoughtful one, which can mean choosing an eco-friendly alternative to harmful plastic products from an environmentally-aware company, or even shopping for second-hand gifts to reduce waste.
How do you know if a product is sustainable?
Most products are considered sustainable if they meet the following criteria:
- They do not directly harm the environment
- They do not deplete natural or non-renewable resources
- They were sourced ethically
When trying to learn if a product is sustainable, the first place to look is the label.
It is there that you’ll find out what a product consists of, where the ingredients are sourced , and the environmental impact it has.
Most labels declare if the packaging consists of recycled materials, if it is biodegradable, and occasionally if it was manufactured using ethically-sourced labour.
Are natural products sustainable?
While natural products are generally created without artificial ingredients not all natural products are sustainable, and what might be good for you as an individual may not be for society or the planet. ,
It is easy to confuse the terms ‘sustainable’ and ‘natural’ because they both have positive associations, but they can mean different things.
There are many products, particularly in the beauty industry, that are labelled as natural or organic. However, these terms are not only unregulated, but they are also missing the crucial word ‘sustainable’.
Natural products may use organic ingredients, but how these are sourced and manufactured may cause damage to neighbouring communities or ecosystems.
They rely on taking ingredients directly from the earth, which presents a challenge if those resources are not replaced.
It is important to do your research about a company to ensure that the product you’re interested in aligns with your core beliefs and values, being both good for you and the earth itself.
Are luxury products sustainable?
It is possible to buy from brands that make sustainable luxury products, but to do so we must be mindful of where we choose to shop.
The catalyst for our own Nereus London range came from identifying a need for genuinely sustainable premium toiletries and beauty products.
With 85 per cent of luxury growth driven by Millennials, who care about the environment and the impact of their choices on the planet, it makes sense that luxury brands are dedicating resources to promote their green credentials.
Why is sustainability important for brands?
A company that prioritises sustainability demonstrates it cares about more than just profits.
It is proof as well that it considers the impact its products have on the planet, and how consumers will respond to that stance.
The evidence is that they attach worth to such an approach because they want to support brands that demonstrate values which align closely with theirs.
Indeed, on average, those buyers are willing to pay three per cent more for products that are sustainable.
How to steer friends and family toward sustainable gifting
As a society, we have been led to believe that presents must be bright, shiny, and new - often forgetting the most important thing is that they are thoughtful.
Sustainable gifts can be among the most considerate because they not only demonstrate you have taken the time to find something that is not only meaningful, but also sound ethically.
It can be difficult to steer your friends and family towards sustainable gifting, but there are a few ways that might help persuade them:
- Introduce them to some of your favourite sustainable brands, and let them try for themselves the products on offer. That way, they can feel good about buying them too
- Be honest about your feelings and values, so that when it comes to birthdays and the festive period, those close to you will know what matters to you. They’ll be more likely to explore sustainable options in the marketplace
- Suggest sustainable alternatives to the products they purchase most frequently; they may find a new favourite!
- In the run-up to Christmas, why not suggest a theme of upcycled, vintage or reused gifts to save on money and unnecessary waste?
Sustainable gift ideas
Whether you are looking for sustainable gifts for him or her, there have never been more new and exciting products on the market that don’t cost the earth.
You can now support independent brands that offer a wide range of ethically-sourced and environmentally-conscious presents.
Sustainable gifts for her
There are a great range of sustainable gifts for women, from eco-friendly clothing to beauty products. Some great examples of sustainable gifts to give in 2021 are:
- Candles in reused glass jars or bottles made from soy wax, which is biodegradable and clean burning
- Plastic-free shampoo and conditioners sets using organic natural fragrances
- Recycled cotton cushion covers
- Reusable beauty cleansing pads
- Jewellery made from recycled sterling silver
- Handmade sustainable scrunchies and hair ties
Sustainable gifts for him
There are also many sustainable gifts for men, from grooming products to clothing. Here are some examples of the most popular this year:
- Bamboo socks
- Biodegradable phone cases
- Stainless steel protein shakers
- Zero waste aluminium and zinc alloy safety razors
- Recycled polyester T-shirts
- Ethical vegan leather wallets
What is sustainable beauty?
Sustainable beauty refers to beauty products that use environmentally-friendly formulations, production practices and/or packaging methods.
As people become more conscious of their impact on the earth, many are looking to support brands that genuinely care about the impact of those products they are manufacturing and marketing.
How sustainable is the beauty industry?
The beauty industry has become one of the most unsustainable in the world.
The real cost goes beyond the price tag, with excessive plastic packaging taking hundreds of years to break down in landfill, and toxic chemicals being found in the oceans that irreparably damage ecosystems.
There have been brands in the past that have claimed to make organic products by using one or two natural ingredients to mask more harmful ones.
On a broader scale, the beauty industry has also been one of the biggest users of palm oil in cosmetics, which contributes to deforestation and rapid climate change.
Sustainability in the beauty industry must not stop at recyclable packaging, and instead should focus on the whole production process, from sourcing to formula creation.
There is evidence of change.
Beauty products, cosmetics, packaging, sourcing, and business operations are all moving towards a future where sustainability is a non-negotiable priority rather than an afterthought.
As a brand, here at Nereus London, we are trying to set an example to others by employing five key principles to the way we operate.
- Conscious Design at Every Stage: We focus on consistently improving the design process, looking to implement the best and most sustainable solutions. To date, we have eliminated 98 per cent of plastic from our supply chain.
- Plastic-Free Bottles: All our bottles and caps are made from 100% infinitely-recyclable, BPA-free aluminium, while our labels are produced from biodegradable wood pulp.
- High-Performing Formulations and 100% Natural Fragrances: All our formulations are completely natural, sourced ethically, vegan, and free from parabens, sulphates and gluten.
- Taking Action to Reduce Plastic Impact: For every bottle bought from us, our partner Plastic Bank recovers 1kg of ocean-bound plastic and recycles it.
- British Manufacturing: To ensure each product is to the highest standard, we manufacture solely in the UK to not only create a sustainable process, but to grow the economies and technical skills of communities in this country.
Buy sustainable beauty gifts with Nereus London
If you are looking for sustainable beauty gifts, take a look at the Nereus London range.
Our products are all enriched with naturally-sourced essential oils and are free from toxins, harmful chemicals, plastic, and other pollutants. We want every product in our collection to smell divine and work effectively, so that we bring you a great experience that is also eco-friendly.
Our award-winning shampoo and conditioner set is an ideal present for those who enjoy the finer things in life but have the environment’s well-being at heart.
Visit our online store to see the full range.