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An ethical Christmas

Local food, newspaper wrapping and secondhand presents: how Brits plan to have a more ethical Christmas
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
An ethical Christmas

A nationwide study from Visa has found that over a third (34%) of us have become more conscious about our impact on the environment in recent years, to the point where 13% would be ‘dismayed to receive an unsustainable gift’ this Christmas.

The study found that more than eight in ten (84%) feel 2019 has been a pivotal year for environmental issues.

Overall four in 10 Brits plan to have an ethical Christmas 2019; that number has been driven up by the younger generation, with 85% of 16- to 29-year-olds planning to have an ethical Christmas this year.

Prepared to may more

According to the study, one in 10 Brits think having a sustainable Christmas will end up costing them less – though the average Brit would be prepared to spend an additional £281 to ensure their Christmas was more sustainable.

35% of Brits claim they’d rather have one carefully chosen, locally bought gift than a mountain of plastic-wrapped, generic items – and four in 10 said they feel disappointed when they see waste at Christmas.

30% of us intend to use recycled wrapping paper this year, and an even greener 15% won’t be using wrapping paper at all, using substitutes such as newspaper.

It takes 24 trees to make just one tonne of paper, so in the UK we use a woodland the size of Wales every year. If Brits recycled just 10% more paper it would save approximately five million trees each year.

Click here to find out why Re-Wrapped ethical gift wrap is a My Green Pod Hero


  • Buying locally produced food (33%)
  • Using recycled wrapping paper (30%)
  • Not sending Christmas cards (29%)
  • Shunning plastic packaging (28%)
  • Minimising family travelling plans (21%)
  • Eating less meat (20%)
  • Giving homemade gifts (18%)
  • Travelling on public transport (17%)
  • Making handmade decorations (17%)
  • Not using wrapping paper to reduce waste (16%)
  • Buying fair trade or eco-friendly gifts (15%)
  • Buying second hand presents (13%)
  • Donating to charity rather than giving gifts (11%)

‘It is heartening to see more people are choosing to shop locally this Christmas, particularly as this is a great way to be more sustainable during the festive season. This is great news for independent retailers across the UK, who we are supporting with our #WhereYouShopMatters campaign.

‘Whether it’s for locally sourced produce, a bespoke gift or simply to enjoy and support the local community, People across the UK are thinking more and more about what they are buying and where they are buying it from. In fact, 68% of those surveyed agreed that where they shop is as important as what they are buying, proving where you shop really does matter.’

Managing director, UK & Ireland, Visa

If you’re looking for ethical Christmas gifts, click here to see how you can help to save land and species with the World Land Trust.

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