Make your Valentine’s Day greener with these ethical gifts for both your loved one and yourself.
While we think that love should be celebrated every day of the year, February 14th serves as a little reminder to tell your loved ones and yourself just how much you love them. The day of love, however, can have quite a big impact on the planet and the people further down the supply chain.
From plastic novelty gifts and decorations that end up discarded shortly after the big day and clutter the planet with waste; to a dozen red roses that are usually grown in South America and Africa with the use of pesticides that pollute the soil and are picked by a huge workforce of women (are they being paid a living wage?); and chocolates that may or may not be slave and child-labour free, Valentine’s Day, like any other commercialised holiday, throws up a number of sustainable challenges. This year, though, why not make your red valentine a little greener with these conscious gifts:
Say it with… Flowers
Nothing says ‘I love you’ like flowers, but who says they have to be red roses? Red roses are often imported in mass from far away places for the occasion. Colombia is the world’s second-biggest exporter of cut flowers and employs 80,000 workers, 70% of whom are women.
FLOOM is an online floral-delivery service based in the UK and newly in LA, NYC and San Francisco that only works with independent florists and, well, lets them stay independent and create bouquets using blooms that are in season now. Lana Elie, founder and CEO of FLOOM, thinks that many people are unaware of the impact of the mass-production and mass-distribution of the flower industry. “There is often so much demand for flowers that aren’t always seasonal to that specific local area, like red roses on Valentine’s Day for example,” she explains. “Yet they’re heavily produced in areas that otherwise may not have rain, so water is shipped in. Alternatively, they can travel across the globe on a plane just to get to the right place on time.”
By sending your loved one flowers with Floom, you’re helping cut down on these ‘flower miles’. “Our handpicked independent florists love to use locally grown blooms and greens, or the best stems on the market from their trusted suppliers. And because we work with florists who care, they ensure ethical distribution, so your flowers don’t have many miles to travel,” Lana says.
Say it with… Chocolate
Valentine’s Day without chocolate is unheard of. Whatever your plans on the day, make sure to get a dose of magic cacao – but make it ethical!
The challenge with most mass-produced chocolate is that it contains tonnes of refined sugar and palm oil that has been produced by workers in unfair conditions. However, there are plenty of ethical chocolate brands to choose from. Doisy and Dam is a B-corp certified company that makes ethical chocolate in delicious flavours (hello maple syrup, toasted rice & pink salt). Ombar is certified organic, Fairtrade and made in the UK – our favourite flavour? Raspberry coconut.
Say it with… jewellery.
If you’re looking to give your precious something precious, make sure it’s ethical in its production as well as sourcing of materials. Look out for brands that use ethically sourced Fairmined gold and responsibly sourced gems like Chopard, who have recently committed to 100% ethical gold. The jewellery brand has collaborated with Net-a-Porter on a charity Happy Hearts bracelet that raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. From each sale £740 are dedicated to children with sight and hearing loss. Nothing better than helping others with a truly meaningful gift.
Say it with… Handmade
Making homemade gifts on any occasion is a thoughtful way to show someone how much you care. DIY projects can sometimes be quite difficult and turn into a glue and (biodegradable) glitter mess, so why not try something easy like a bath salt with lavender? Our recipe will make your loved one feel relaxed and regenerated after using it. (P.S. You can do this for yourself too, what better gift than that of self-care?)
Say it with… a home cooked meal.
If you’re not in the mood to join the Valentine’s Day night rush to restaurants, not to mention the stress of actually booking a table in your favourite sustainable restaurant, try cooking Jasmine Hemsley’s delicious Beetroot Millet risotto – it’s seasonal, delicious and perfectly themed as it’s red! Finish off with chocolate mousse or raw chocolate tart for a dessert with the wow-factor.
For more gift ideas perfect for Valentine’s Day, see our favourite ethical underwear brands and Self-care Sunday recipes for spoiling your loved one.