Choose a gift that supports the work of a nonprofit or a social enterprise. These gifts may look like many others you’ve seen, but each has a story that is changing lives for the better and taking the environment into consideration.
Turning Negative Space into Positive Energy.
In an effort to reduce its ecological imprint, Nike has created an ingenious way to reduce waste and produce an alluring new running shoe: the Atsuma. The retro-stylized runner aims to rethink traditional cut-and-sew footwear and uses the offcuts from other styles to create a brand new one. Cutting patterns for athletic footwear produces a tremendous amount of material waste, so using offcuts — pieces of material usually discarded when a pattern is cut — has created an exercise in sustainability and a new aesthetic that highlights negative space. This rethink on how shoes are made has inspired innovation within Nike’s production lines and created a striking new shoe.
Time for Change.
Votch is a cruelty-free watch company based in the United Kingdom. Struck down with a skin disease called Topical Steroid Withdrawal, founder Laura Stageman (above) educated herself on various subjects regarding animal welfare, including facts about the leather industry that genuinely shocked her.
“Seeing the suffering that animals endured simply for fashion, and having felt the pain of losing my own skin, I vowed never to wear the skin of another being again,” she says. The durable, vegan-friendly leather-like straps contain no toxic flame retardants, are Bromine-free, contain no heavy metals, and include recycled and renewable content. Stageman’s watches have won the PETA Best Men’s Watch award in the UK and France and has supported more than 13 animal sanctuaries with the proceeds.
Can You Hear Me Now? Beneath the surface of most electronic gadgets lies a mass of components. These see-through speakers by the Swedish company, Transparent Sound, prove a product can still look and function perfectly while using a fraction of the material. Made with recycled materials, the speaker links to an app that lets you know when a component needs to be swapped out or fixed. Designed to be as much of an interior decor object as a great sounding piece of technology, the upgrade feature also fights the single-use, throwaway consumer culture and saves natural resources.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. Turn heads on your next fitness or leisure ride with a bamboo bike, imported from Africa. Booomers is a social enterprise founded in 2014 by Kwabena Danso, a Ghanaian, with a mission to produce high-quality, affordable bamboo products with economic and social benefits. Their order book for the handmade frames has already surpassed 2,500, and happy customers are now cycling around Germany, Australia, and North America.
Bamboo is an established material for construction and has a tensile strength that rivals steel. Fifty young people ages 18–29 build the bike frames in the village of Apaah, 200 miles from the capital of Ghana, and a further 20 harvest the bamboo from more than 200 farmers. While some entrepreneurs spend millions developing new materials, a solution can sometimes be found growing right beneath your feet.
Store Your Own Energy. Tesla’s Powerwall home battery can detect an outage, disconnect from the grid, and automatically restore power to your home in a fraction of a second. It’s so fast you won’t even notice the power went out. Linked to a solar panel, the battery will power your home for more than seven days, allowing lights and appliances to continue running. The battery is a backup to traditional electricity supply and is best suited to areas where electricity is scarce or expensive. It’s the perfect solution for second homes in exotic locations, where connecting to the grid can result in environmental degradation or a considerable connection cost.