Ho Ho How to be sustainable this Christmas!

Press/Media: Expert Comment


The words sustainability and splurging 
do not naturally go hand-in-hand but 
with Christmas around the corner 
we looked at various ways that 
consumers can act more sustainably 
this festive season.
While it is important for companies to 
consider the triple bottom line of profit, 
people and the planet, consumers nowadays 
are also being encouraged to think about 
these credentials when making a purchase.
Earlier this year, Mintel reported that 
when purchasing socks, soap and coffee, 
consumers were prioritising recyclable 
packaging (31 per cent), products made in an 
environmentally friendly way (30 per cent),
chemical-free (43 per cent) and items that 
don’t contain any harmful materials (33 per 
While many of these considerations are a 
given for businesses nowadays, developing 
products that resonate with consumers and 
push them towards making more informed 
choices which benefit the planet as well as 
others can be challenging.
At Ulster University Business School, 
our new Sustainability Engagement and 
Communications Assistant Robyn Simpson 
has devised a list of gift ideas from local 
businesses to help you sustainably stuff your 
stocking this Christmas.
n Born & Bred:
Whether it’s art, homeware, food or 
jewellery, you can find it all under the roof 
of Born & Bred in Belfast city centre. They 
stock products from over 85 makers, artists, 
and designers from our local community. 
This company works with artists, 
manufacturers, and suppliers to reduce the 
materials used in the production, packaging 
and shipping process, encouraging them to 
use sustainable, environmentally friendly 
alternatives. The perfect gift shop to fulfil all 
of your Christmas shopping needs.
n Gourmet Grazing NI:
A great option for festive nibbles – they 
only use the freshest and finest locally 
sourced products to create grazing tables, 
platters, and boxes. Gourmet Grazing 
NI supports local Northern Irish & Irish 
artisanal producers like Ballylisk Cheese 
and chutney from Armagh as well as Dart 
Mountain cheeses from Derry/Londonderry.
n Life Farms Microgreens:
An urban farm that specialises in growing 
microgreens from organic seeds, using 
organic methods, and is chemical free. They 
deliver in Bangor and host stalls at local 
markets, providing healthy and nutritional 
products to our local community that can be 
incorporated into your new year diet.
n Mrs R-Ganics:
This earth friendly and cruelty free 
skincare brand handmade in Crawfordsburn, 
County Down, uses the highest quality 
ingredients that are almost exclusively 100 
per cent organic, raw, unrefined and ethically 
sourced. When possible, these products 
are created using local ingredients, such 
as Duvillaun Irish salt, flowers and herbs 
gathered from local organic farms, organic 
apple cider vinegar from local producer 
Natural Umber, Hills Mix spent coffee and 
wild Irish seaweed gathered by hand from 
the west coast of Ireland.
n Wild About Soaps:
Trained horticulturalist Averil Milligan 
produces a wide range of handcrafted soaps, 
shampoo bars, hair conditioners and body 
butters at her local studio in Downpatrick. 
All her soaps are free from palm oil, 
parabens, SLES, SLS, artificial colours or 
fragrances. While a number of gifts stores 
across County Down and Omagh stock her 
items, they are also available to buy online. 
She even has teamed up with local potter 
Lisa Brown of Cloverhill Ceramics NI based 
in County Tyrone to produce some beautiful 
hand thrown soap dishes (available to buy 
n Do Your Bit NI:
This Carrickfergus-based company offer 
natural, chemical free, and plastic free 
products to help you eliminate waste and go 
plastic-free. They provide a wide selection of 
products ranging from bathroom and kitchen 
necessities, like reusable silicone Ziplock 
bags and reusable Q-tips, to festive bundles 
that makes for a great eco-friendly gift.
n TAMs:
The Art of Mindful Style. County Tyronebased mum Naimh Bennett launched her 
sustainable fashion brand after being made 
redundant due to the pandemic. With an aim 
of doing fashion differently, TAMS products 
range from organic cotton t-shirts, hoodies to 
beanies. The products Fair Wear accredited 
and PETA vegan approved so you can shop 
for reasonably priced and stylish clothes 
without a guilty conscious about investing in 
harmful fast fashion brands.
n Beechfield Flower Farm:
Located in Magherafelt, County Derry/
Londonderry, this farm grows a selection of 
seasonal and scented flowers with the aim 
to encourage the promotion of locally grown 
flowers in a sustainable environment of the 
highest quality. From hand-tied bouquets 
to jam jar posies, this business offers a 
beautiful range of flowers that are the perfect 
addition to any gift.
These are just some of the local businesses 
we have spotted doing great things for others 
and the planet. We hope we have given you 
some ideas of where to source locally that 
perfect sustainable stocking filler for your 
loved one this Christmas!
n If you are a local business or you would 
just like to know more about embedding 
sustainability into your everyday practices, 
please make contact with us at UUBS: 
[email protected]

Period23 Dec 2021

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