Dec 4, 2020 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Psalm Delaney | Illustration by Bibi Powers

The holiday season has arrived and winter is finally here! We are eagerly hitting the slopes, bundling up for the trails, and buying gifts for our fellow outdoor enthusiasts. However, it is highly important that we consider the cost of our purchases beyond the price tag.

As we excitedly shop for new items to support our outdoor adventures this year, garment workers across the globe are working extremely hard in unethical conditions, and the factories and transportation of the consumer goods are harming the planet and making the outdoors less enjoyable for everyone.

This year, I urge you to do your research before you buy. Companies that are fair trade certified uphold standards that prioritize ethical labor and environmental sustainability.

In addition, products that are produced in the U.S. are held to higher labor standards than in most countries that house factories for mass-production. Purchasing domestic products also reduces the need for international transportation and therefore reduces greenhouse gas and carbon emissions.

I urge you to shop locally and sustainably and purchase from companies that are fair trade certified. Your effort will support people across the globe and strive to protect our air, water, and land.

Get started by checking out some companies that are making a difference.

Farm to Feet

Farm to Feet is dedicated to producing merino wool socks that are sure to keep you warm and refreshed for all your outdoor adventures this winter. The company is entirely based in the U.S. to ensure ethical and sustainable practices in all stages of the production process. The merino wool is sourced from U.S. sheep ranchers, processed into clean wool, spun into yarn, and knitted into socks in North and South Carolina. Additionally, all packaging is domestically sourced.


PrAna is a certified fair trade active outerwear company that is dedicated to supporting garment workers across the globe. PrAna sources its products from fair trade factories where safety mandates protect the mental and physical health of employees. As a fair trade company, PrAna pays an additional premium to the factory and a committee of factory employees vote on the use of the funds. The company was one of the very first to shift to fair trade in 2010. Since then, 11 of the factories have become fair trade and the premiums have benefited over 26,000 workers across the globe. PrAna intends to produce all of its products in fair trade factories by 2028.


Avocado is a great choice for your next yoga-inspired purchase. The women’s activewear company is based and produced entirely in downtown Los Angeles. The company even spins its own premium yarn in the factory! Local production reduces greenhouse gas emissions and ensures safe working conditions and fair wages for employees.


Nalgene water bottles are produced right here in the U.S. Through the Nalgene Water Fund, the company has committed itself to combating domestic water insecurity. It is currently supporting the Navajo Nation with its “Tó éí iiná” (“water is life”) bottle to fight the Navajo water crisis. From each bottle, $5 is used to support the mission. In addition to the water bottle funds, Nalgene has also contributed $30,000 in support of the cause. Furthermore, Nalgene is also committed to supporting the community built and operated McKenzie Croom lab that is providing free water testing to all households in Flint, Michigan over the course of three years.


Patagonia encourages consumers to buy less, reuse more, support employees, and protect the environment. It is a fair trade and certified B-Corp company. As of 2019, 70% of all Patagonia products are made in fair trade factories. Patagonia is also known for its “self-imposed Earth tax” most commonly known as “1% for the Planet,” which supports organizations that are committed to protecting our land, water, and air.


Neck warmers and hats are certainly a must this winter. Produced completely in Vermont, Skida focuses on reducing its environmental impact. It does so by reducing all waste of fabric to less than 1% and using recycled materials whenever possible. All boxes and plastic that are used through the supply chain are recycled. Moreover, all packaging that is distributed to consumers is PVC free.

Support our global community by committing yourself to be an educated and conscious customer this year. Happy holidays and warm wishes for your winter adventures!

Leave a Reply