8 Malaysian Brands That Support Social & Environmental Causes

Shopping is commonly referred to as ‘retail therapy’ but did you know that shopping can help not only yourself, but others, too? What you spend your money on can impact society and the environment! Luckily, there are many Malaysian brands creating positive change. (L-R: @theaslico, @dapoware)

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When was the last time you questioned the impact of your purchase? There’s no right or wrong answer, as the question is simply meant to deepen your awareness. 

As more social and environmental issues become known, more brands around the world have been trying to become part of the solution. Either by working with communities in need or by adopting sustainable production methods. Alternatively, some brands donate a portion of profits to causes they believe in. 

Thanks to brands like these, helping those in need and ensuring that nature thrives is easier than ever. Especially with things being available at your fingertips – literally! Online shopping can feel indulgent, but by sapot-ing these lokal brands with a cause, your shopping spree will be anything but naughty. 

MAKING POSITIVE SOCIAL IMPACT

Suri Lifestyle

Supports: Underprivileged single mums
 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by SURI Lifestyle (@surilifestyle)

Suri Lifestyle strives to empower underprivileged mothers within the B40 category by providing them with life skills and a stable income. Mainly working with single mothers, Suri Lifestyle ensures that each mother undergoes a three-month training in sewing as to provide customers with quality assurance. 

From the 40 mothers employed by Suri Lifestyle, 10 have become officially certified by the Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia. The social enterprise also uses only 100% upcycled denim for every item made and actually collected 5,496 kg worth of discarded fabric through various initiatives. Products range from bags to cushion covers to shirts and more!

Grey Bear Days & Crowning Glory

Supports: Mental health 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Author Sabrinah Morad (@greybeardays_crowningglory)


Sabrina Morad is the author behind Grey Bear Days and Crowning Glory, both illustrated children’s books. Grey Bear Days tackles depression in a way that can be grasped by children, while Crowning Glory touches on the loss of hair, typically experienced by cancer patients. Sales profits go towards the Malaysian Mental Health Association and Angsana Care, respectively. 

The latter is a not-for-profit that provides professional medical treatment to paediatric patients that are chronically or severely ill at Tunku Azizah Children’s Hospital. When Morad is not using her pen to write, she’s using it to draw and donate via My Lukisan or to plan events like The Depressed Cake Shop – an annual fundraiser in support of mental health. Shop for Morad’s books at Ilham Gift Shop or Areca Penang.

Helping Hands Penan 

Supports: The indigenous Penan tribe
 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Helping Hands Penan (@helpinghandspenan)

Helping Hands Penan works directly with an indigenous tribe in Sarawak known as the Penan – a semi-nomadic group that’s among the few left in the modern world. The brand is dedicated to the welfare of this unique tribe by providing them with economic stability. Shopping with this social enterprise will let you fill your closet and home with beautiful hand-woven bags, hand-woven clutches, and hand-woven homeware. 

All funds raised are channelled back to the Penan community in Ulu Lumbang and Ulu Baram. Tangible products aside, Helping Hands Penan is trying to provide as many Penan settlements as possible with solar powered lights as well. 

The Asli Co.

Supports: Access to education for Orang Asli children

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Asli Co. (@theaslico)

The Asli Co. is on a mission to keep Orang Asli children in school. For those unaware, Orang Asli translates directly into ‘the original people’. In order for the Orang Asli to attend school, at least RM100 to RM150 is required per month, and sadly, many children stop attending school due to how unaffordable it is. 

The Asli Co. is changing that by training and working with the Orang Asli in Kampung Orang Asli Serendah, Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Buloh, Kampung Orang Asli Hulu Kuang, Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Cheding, and Kgampung Orang Asli Rasau. Each artisan under The Asli Co. works from home and is paid up to four times the minimum hourly wage to produce products like eye-pillows, hand-sanitisers, soaps, and more. 

CHANGE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Love, Light, Lemons 

Supports: Sustainable fashion and refugees
 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Love, Light, Lemons ? (@lovelightlemons)

Love, Light, Lemons aims to continuously uplift communities in need through every sale made. A social enterprise selling activewear that doubles as loungewear, the materials used are GOTS certified 100% organic cotton. Some designs even incorporate upcycled batik. 

Each garment was hand-cut and sewn by talented artisans from Afghanistan and Myanmar – that just so happen to be refugees. By purchasing from Love, Light, Lemons, customers support fair wages for refugees in Malaysia and the production of organic cotton over (harmful) modified cotton. 

For every collection curated, a different beneficiary benefits either through direct donations from customers or through a percentage of total sales. Thus far, donations have been distributed to the Malaysian Association for the Blind, the Rohingya Education Centre (Klang), Pusat Jagaan Rumah Juara, and the stray dogs of Shah Alam.

Panacea

Supports: The livelihood of corals 
 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by A Cure for Mother Nature (@projekpanacea)

Panacea is a new brand that specialises in multi-purpose scarves made from 100% natural fibres that were ethically processed. The goal of Panacea is to raise awareness on environmental sustainability through ethical fashion. Its current collection is inspired by the sea and highlights the importance of conserving and protecting the ocean. For every scarf sold, a coral will be replanted in Tioman Island in partnership with Seabells. 

Benns Ethicoa 

Supports: Local cocoa farmers around Asia 
 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Benns Ethicoa ?? (@bennsethicoa.my)

Established in 1973, Benns Ethicoa was founded with the intention to promote sustainable and natural methods of producing chocolate. Unbeknown to most, countless cocoa farmers use unsustainable farming methods while being underpaid and overworked. 

Instead of relying on a middle man, Benns Ethicoa deals directly with farmers around Asia. This guarantees that the farmers won’t be cheated off profits either – a common problem, unfortunately. In Malaysia, Benns Ethicoa works with the Koh family, who have over 30 years’ experience in cacao farming. The chocolate from their estate in Sungai Ruan is known for its fruity taste thanks to the fruit plantations nearby. 

Dapo 

Supports: Green manufacturing 
 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Dapo™ (@dapoware)

Dapo is the first homeware brand in Malaysia that’s PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified promoting sustainable forest management. This means the wood used by Dapo is locally sourced, such as the PEFC-certified Balau wood from Pahang, Acacia wood from plantations in Sarawak, and Rubberwood from various plantations around Peninsular Malaysia. Dapo uses recycled pine wood as well but it’s collected from various locations around the world. 

Everything by Dapo is crafted at The Green Factory in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, that prioritises green manufacturing. As testament to its vision, Dapo uses only safe finishes like non-toxic water-based finishes and/or organic coconut oil mixed with beeswax to coat homeware items produced. 

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Raisa has had a passion for writing since she was little, often penning fictitious short stories. Besides writing, she is obsessed with finding food anywhere and everywhere, so decided to start a website titled 'Raisa Reviews' - a compilation of short restaurant, food and travel reviews that is constantly expanding. When she’s not eating the world or venturing into nature, she’s probably curled up in a corner reading.