5 Social Enterprises to Shop at and Feel Good

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The days of mindless consumerism is coming to an end. With the world at the state that it’s at, we can put the first-world privilege of shopping to good use, by being conscious of what we buy. Social enterprises are businesses that give back to a community or cause of choice. This means that your purchase helps improve something, somewhere in the world. Check out these 5 social enterprises to support!

1) Tentree

A post shared by tentree (@tentree) on Apr 5, 2017 at 5:18pm PDT

Hipster-cool casual-wear made from part organic cotton, part recycled polyester so they’re uber comfy and leave a positive environmental footprint. For every item you buy, Tentree will plant 10 trees.

They aim to plant in areas of most need – for example, in Madagascar and Ethiopia, where massive deforestation has led to debilitating impacts on the communities living around these forests.

The benefits of planting more trees are numerous, like improving air quality, preventing soil erosion, supporting ecosystems and more. Tentree is committed to looking after the trees so that they thrive and live for 20-30 years, propagating seedlings that will in turn grow into more trees.

They also improve the lives of local communities through providing work to care for the trees, and educating them about more sustainable practices (like cutting down trees responsibly!).

Available at: Tentree ships internationally.

2) Ethnotek

A post shared by ethnotekbags (@ethnotekbags) on Mar 11, 2017 at 11:00am PST

The weavers were seeing a drop in demand for their craft because machines and factories in major cities could create more textiles in a shorter time.

Your purchase of an Ethnotek bag allows precious traditional craft to carry on, as well as improve the lives of weavers and craftsmen in the communities. One cool thing about Ethnotek bags are the interchangeable “Threads”, which allows you to velcro on a different design whenever you wish!

Available at: The Bag Creature (outlets in Velocity and Suntec City) or from their website.

3) Human Nature

It’s amazing how Human Nature can produce these highly effective, natural beauty products that don’t cost a bomb, and empower so many communities in the Philippines.

The social enterprise sources all their raw ingredients from local small-scale farmers where possible, making an impact on the country’s economy in their own way. They then hire locals and train them with the skills to create and run aspects of the business, providing basic rights such as fair wages and benefits (not common in the country, unfortunately).

Human Nature’s products are naturally-derived, biodegradable and not harmful to the environment when you wash them off. They also have PETA’s cruelty-free seal of approval – which means they do not test on animals. Like we say, for such quality, it’s a wonder they can keep prices low.

Available at: Human Nature Singapore

4) East Bali Cashews

Trust us, these cashew nut snacks are addictive (the Chilli Crunch flavour is our favourite!).

Started by founder Aaron Fishman when he realised that much of Bali’s cashew nuts were being shipped overseas for processing, East Bali Cashews grows, processes, cooks, and packs their snacks all on Balinese home ground.

Besides providing more income to the cashew farmers, the social enterprise also employs other villagers – and particularly, more women – for the other roles in the processing lines. Childcare and education is provided for the children of the women so that they are enabled to come to work.

The production of the snack is also a very sustainable process – the shell that encases the cashew nuts are collected and burnt as fuel for the roasters, which then result in a carbon-rich, organic fertiliser for the cashew trees.

Available at: Redmart Singapore

5) Sole Rebels

A post shared by soleRebels (@solerebels) on Mar 10, 2015 at 7:17am PDT

Get your fix of funky, comfortable shoes and slippers made with sustainable materials and by communities in Ethiopia.

The design follows the traditional “selate” and “barabasso” shoe, with a recycled car tyre sole – it was the footwear rebel soldiers wore to fend off invading forces, allowing Ethiopia to be the only African nation to never be colonised. Pretty cool to have a story like that on your feet!

And did we mention that every pair is made from scratch when you place an order? Sole Rebels pay their workers four times the legal minimum wage and three times the industry average.

They also include medical coverage and safe transportation to and from work. Materials that go into producing the shoes like tyres, organic cotton, organic jute and others, are recycled and locally-sourced.

Available at: Sole Rebels provides free shipping worldwide.

Make your spending go further

Apart from helping communities, did we already say that you can also help your pocket by using the right shopping credit cards? Here’s a couple of credit cards we think are worth considering for online shopping:

Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum Visa Card – 7% cashback on online purchases
UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card – 10X UNI$ on online shopping
DBS Woman’s World Card – 10X DBS Points on online shopping
Citi Rewards Card – 10X Rewards on shopping (bags, shoes and clothes)
HSBC Revolution Credit Card – 5X Rewards on online spends
OCBC Titanium Rewards Card – 10X Rewards on shopping (bags, shoes and clothes, electronics)

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