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. 


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!

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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.

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Helping Hands Penan

Supports: The indigenous Penan tribe

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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. 

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The Asli Co.

Supports: Access to education for Orang Asli children

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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. 

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Supports: Refugee mothers

Since its conception in January 2016, PichaEats, a social enterprise focusing mainly on helping a massive refugee community, has served over 350,000 delicious meals. Partnering with refugee chefs, PichaEats brings packaged meals based on recipes created by the chefs and inspired by their hometown flavours.

By selling these homemade meals for individuals and catered events, PichaEats supports the refugee community in having a self-sustaining income by identifying the cooks, putting them through training, and helping them with marketing and logistics.

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Supports: Refugee youth

Recognising the lack of access to education for the refugee youth community, Fugee aims to help young ones realise their fullest potential. Spearheaded by Deborah Henry, Fugee believes that everyone has the right to a quality education.

Under the Fugee umbrella are two organisations Fugee School and Fugeelah. The former is a stepping stone for refugee children to begin their educational journey, which sees them continuing to the Fugee Youth Academy for higher education courses that are globally recognised. The latter, Fugeelah, is the business arm of the organisation. Shopping here allows you little pleasures with a big impact. Proceeds from the sale of these lifestyle accessories provides for the refugee community.

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Batik Boutique

Supports: Local artisan businesses

Pairing women from low-income backgrounds with one of Southeast Asia’s many ancient arts – making batik, a process of creating patterns and designs by using dye-resistant wax – the award-winning social enterprise, Batik Boutique, gives these women access to sustainable income.

Working with rural and urban artisans nationwide, all of Batik Boutique’s creations are one-of-a-kind genuine batik pieces and directly benefit the local artisans. With over 150 artisans that create gifts and fashion accessories, Batik Boutique is playing a small but pivotal role in disrupting the cycle of poverty in Malaysia.

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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.

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Benns Ethicoa 

Supports: Local cocoa farmers around Asia 

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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. 

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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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Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 3rd August 2021 and has been updated to include more brands.