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Social Capital

How to buy your gifts responsibly in 2021?

Each year, Republik wishes to raise awareness about the power of making the right purchase decisions during the Holidays. There is always room for improvement when it comes to responsible shopping practices. To help you navigate your gift shopping this December, we present to you our 5 favorite tips.

1. Online Shopping

Whether it be for convenience or for geographical reasons, online shopping has been widely adopted over the past few years. While this purchasing method is certainly more convenient, what about its environmental impact? Here are the three golden rules to get the most out of this service that is not running out of steam any time soon, especially with the holidays coming up.

Say no to express delivery.
These are partially-filled trucks travelling great distances to deliver your parcels in the shortest possible time. Instead, choose for regular delivery that will optimize the delivery route planning.

Avoid returns.
Many are accustomed to ordering extra sizes to try at home, but this habit doubles transportation, thus increasing GHG emissions.

Find certified FFP (Frustration Free Packaging).
While buying through platforms such as Amazon is not encouraged, there are ways to identify minimalist packaging or recycled materials. If you are buying from a small business, contact them directly and ask to reduce the amount of bubble wrap or unnecessary cardboard from your order.

Here are a few companies who have gotten creative with their green initiatives.

  • Minuit Moins Cinq uses pages of old books and magazines to create shipping envelopes.
  • Lush offers different gift packaging choices, including recycled cotton rags from t-shirts!
  • The clothing shop Odeyalo, the zero waste online grocery store Vrac sur Roues, the micro roster Barista and the zero waste soap maker Faveur Montréal all use a bike delivery service for Montreal residents.
  • BKIND packages are protected by cornstarch beads that melt when diluted in water.

2. Get started early

It’s no secret that postal services are swamped during the weeks preceding the holidays. Knowing that a good majority of Quebecers will favour online shopping, plan your purchases earlier than usual to avoid delays.

In conjunction with point #1 about fast delivery and its impact on the environment, we must also consider small businesses. They deal with reduced staff, arduous supply management, and overwhelming demand anticipation during these busy times. The best act of kindness you can offer is to plan your purchases to give them a moment’s rest before New Year’s Eve.

3. Awareness

The last two years were far from being uneventful: our daily lives were marked by major upheavals that have highlighted social issues that demand our attention. Because we dream of a society that leaves no room for discrimination and injustice, in 2021 we continued the dialogue by talking about racism, grossophobia, inclusiveness, diversity, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to take concrete action to encourage this vision of a new tomorrow and the communities associated with them, here are a few gift suggestions.

Take some time to reflect on your present. Think about the message you are sending through it, and feel free to write it on the card to whom you are giving it. After all, it’s the ideal occasion to discuss these topics.

4. Buy local

The last two years have helped to bring to light why buying local is so important. In order to continue to encourage local businesses, we’re sharing with you a few reasons why it’s still a good idea to choose gifts that were made in Quebec:

  • Reducing shipping transportation and consequently, the GHGs emitted;
  • Saving local jobs and businesses;
  • Connecting with local producers and artisans;
  • Encouraging a more ethical industry that provides a healthy work environment;
  • Adding flavour to your table with fresh produce and unique ingredients;
  • Spreading the many talents of the people from here.

To make informed decisions or to learn more about the concept of buying local, we invite you to take a look at our article on the subject. Don’t know where to start? Check out these websites: Signé local, Le Panier Bleu, and Aliments Québec.

5. Think about the planet

Is your gift really useful? How long will it last?

Before buying your gift, make sure to ask yourself these questions to avoid making purchases that cause more harm to our planet. The good news is that there’s no lack of imagination when it comes to sustainable gift ideas.

With this in mind, here are our gift options that will benefit the planet and the people who receive them.

  • A plantable greeting card from Flowerink.
  • An experience such as a trip to the spa, a restaurant date, a day at the museum or a show at the theatre. We also invite you to choose your mode of transportation wisely in order to reduce your impact.
  • Stay at a luxurious and eco-friendly loft, like Zoobox at Le Vertendre, or a cabin on stilts at Kabania.
  • Organize a family contest where the winners choose an organization and donate the amount usually spent on the gift exchange.
  • Add some greenery: a plant, herbs, or seedlings.
  • A yoga, spinning class or gym subscription.
  • Tools and accessories to ease a transition to a zero-waste lifestyle (reusable bowl covers, reusable gift bags, reusable makeup wipes, or even a recycled stuffed animal from Dans le sac).
  • An authentic design made by you: there is no better occasion to reveal your hidden talent to make your own gift. A hand-knit sweater? A home-made loaf of bread? Maybe a natural exfoliant? Let your creativity run wild!

Overall, take the time to select your gifts. You’ll be rewarded with a smile, but also knowing that you made a small—but meaningful impact.


Republik is a social impact creative agency. Its purpose is to give meaning to the growth of brands, through the Creation of Social Capital™. It is the first B-Corp certified agency in Quebec and was named Best for the World in the "Employee" category in 2019, in addition to being a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact and a member of the Global Compact Network of Canada.