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A guide to responsible Christmas shopping

For those who celebrate Christmas, it often feels like December is over before it’s begun. Whizzing by in a flurry of festive planning and parties, all while trying to wrap things up at work before a hard-earned break. And whether you enjoy shopping or not, finding gifts for friends and loved ones can be stressful. Even more so when you care about the origin of those gifts, the labour conditions of the people involved in their production and the environmental impact.


This is the very reason that Rank a Brand formed back in 2009. And it’s times like these that the Rank a Brand website becomes the perfect tool for busy people trying to allocate their festive budget responsibly.

Now that the number of graded brands on our website has exceeded 750, we thought a quick guide to which brands are on our “nice” list would save shoppers some time. This means that the brands mentioned below scored no lower than a B-label in our rankings.

Under Fashion, Clothing & Shoes, you’ll find sustainability information about loads of brands in this sector, with just one, Saint Basics receiving an A-label. Saint Basics produces underwear made with organic cotton for men and women, and they also offer digital gift vouchers – the perfect last-minute gift!

Many of the B-label brands in this sector offer clothing and other fair and environmentally-friendly gifts, conveniently via their online stores.

Greenality has some funky reusable cups by KeepCup, which pair nicely with some A-label tea or coffee beans from GEPA or Lebensbaum. There’s also some creatively designed glass drink bottles from Soulbottles, bags, wallets, socks and jewellery. People Tree is also a great source for accessories, mainly for women, including totes, clutches, slippers and gift vouchers, if choosing becomes too difficult!

For that true individual, check out the bleed range of belts made from cork and recolution for ladies t-shirts with fun and interesting designs.

Most of the brands in our Casual Clothing sector offer winter accessories such as scarves, beanies, gloves and mittens, which make excellent gifts for all ages. But if you’re buying for an outdoorsy type, Vaude may be more their style.

For cute clothes and accessories for babies and kids, there’s plenty to choose from. See Band of Rascals, Cotonea and hessnatur.

In the second half of this year we added Cosmetics to our rankings. In this sector, a B-label was the highest grade given, with Weleda and Dr Hauschka topping the list, closely followed by Sante, Logona and Self. All of these brands have store finders on their websites to help you find a stockist nearby.

But of course, we don’t just spend money on gifts at Christmas. We’re also hosting and attending parties, and it wouldn’t be much of a party without food, drinks and decorations! So be sure to check which brands topped the Supermarket rankings, and our freshly updated Soda and Beer rankings before you start filling your trolley. Scroll down to earlier blog posts if you’re interested in reading about the overall sustainability performance of these sectors.

Finally, for eco-friendly Christmas decorations, including LED-lights, candles and tree ornaments, as well as baking tools such as adorable cookie cutters, we recommend Waschbär.

To continue ranking, we need your support!
Rank a Brand is a completely independent, non-profit organization that runs on donations from consumers like you, who share our vision for a fairer and more sustainable world. If you can spare a portion of your December shopping budget, we can keep offering you up-to-date information on the sustainability of hundreds of brands in the areas of fashion, food and beverages, electronics, body care and many other sectors, and increase the pressure on these brands to become more sustainable, socially responsible and transparent.

You can support us in the following ways:

  • Become Friend of Rank a Brand with a donation of €25 per year and join our community of responsible consumers – simply click on the link and complete the form.
  • Donate directly by bank transfer to IBAN: NL43 TRIO 0390 2148 41 (BIC: TRIONL2U) Rank a Brand, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Join our team of volunteers and help keep our rankings up-to-date. See Research with us for more information.

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