Sales of gifts for Valentine’s Day are set to rise with every passing year. Last year, it was predicted that over £650 million would be spent on gifts. Flowers, chocolates, jewellery, and cards are the top contenders every year. This year, the figure is no doubt going to be close to the £1 billion mark, which made me wonder how much of what we spend actually trickles down to the producer of the gifts and how much of this is spent on gifts that are ethical?
In order to support the ethical market and ensure that small businesses can also benefit from this one day shopping spree, as responsible consumers, look out for them when shopping for that ideal gift this year.
For every penny spent on ethical and responsible gifts, think of it as your personal contribution to the United Nations sustainable development goals, known as SDGs aimed to eliminate of hunger, poverty, reduce impact on the environment and support equality, education, peace & justice to name a few.
Flowers: If you are planning to purchase a beautiful bouquet this year, lookout for the Fairtrade mark. The organisation ensures that the workers and farmers have safe working conditions and receive fair pay. The farms that are Fairtrade certified also receive an additional 10% for every stem sold. This additional amount is spent on better healthcare, education and welfare facilities for the local community. Flowers with this mark are now a common sight in supermarkets as well as online and boutique florists, so they are readily available.
Your bouquet may cost a few pounds more, but you will enhance the livelihood of the local flower producing community.
Chocolates: The last 5 years have seen a surge in local chocolatiers. The one thing most of them have in common is the will to do good whilst enjoying the art of producing chocolates. They support initiatives by purchasing the ingredients from organic and Fairtrade farms. Vegan chocolates, especially vegan marshmallows is also on the rise and they are palm oil free – a crop that has recently been on the news for its impact on the environment. Try to purchase from a local chocolatier and keep a look out for the Fairtrade or organic certification marking on the box.
Jewellery: If you are thinking of splashing out on jewellery, give ethical jewellery a go. Most ethical jewellery will be made from a recycled material, come from a conflict free zone – especially diamonds, be handmade and support artisan communities. Type in ethical or conflict free jewellery on google and numerous online shops will appear. My boards on Pinterest is another place where you will find lots of good ideas for ethical jewellery. You know the money you are spending will make families happy as well as your loved one.
Cards: Handcrafted cards should also be on your list. Although they are not readily available on the supermarket shelves, there is a range cards available online, especially on websites such as Etsy and Notonthehighstreet.com.
Finally, if you are someone who enjoys experiences or loves to create your own special gifts have a look at the blog post, Alternative Valentine’s Day romance, by the Mini Smallholder. Her ideas are fabulous and will help make more than just material gifts, they will form long lasting memories.