Updated: Aug 6
In 2020, a KPMG survey reported that 96 percent of the world’s top companies – the G250 – are committed to sustainability. Of the top executives, leaders of the world’s biggest brands, 60 per cent believed that attention to sustainable practice is important to stay competitive.
How Eco-minded are you?
BY JOSHUA PAXTON
The international trend to report on sustainability has been steadily on the rise for the past 20 years, and in North America, today 90 per cent of companies are reporting on the sustainability of their business practice.
A steady increase over time can be seen in the annual ASI Global Ad Impressions Study, where in 2020 nearly half of consumer respondents reported having a more favourable impression of a company or brand if the promotional premium they received was environmentally friendly.
We appear to be reaching a standard of excellence in talking about sustainable choices, but are our buying habits reflecting the same initiative? How do sustainability values extend to brand building and specifically, sourcing promotional premiums?
For organizations striving to live the change they want to see in the world, I looked at different variations of eco-involvement in the promotional products industry and chose examples of eco-minded suppliers you should have on your radar.
CAUSE CO-BRANDING, A SHARED STORY
Partnering your brand values with like-minded products and organizations is the right thing to do and creates exciting content for social messaging.
Eco-minded Suppliers To Have On Your Radar
Tier 1: COLLECTIONS & CATALOGUES
Over the past two decades we have witnessed eco-friendly options evolve from single style or product options to dedicated collections and catalogues focused on promoting eco-conscious manufacturing. Bio-plastics, recycled fibres and alternative energy sources are highlights of the innovations adopted by the promotional products industry.
GO GREEN with Peerless Umbrella
(RPET). Approximately five water bottles are saved from landfills for each umbrella created. What used to keep water inside and help you hydrate will now repel the water and keep you dry. Circle of life? As a bonus impact, one per cent of sales from this RPET collection are donated to Rainforest Conservation.
FOR YOUR NEXT WATER-THEMED PROMOTION
Whether protecting the ocean or a local lake, the Selva umbrella by Peerless helped to keep plastic bottles out of landfills and waterways. It will protect you too.
PURE EARTH by Stormtech
A brand nurtured by nature, Stormtech recognized the close affiliation between performance athletic and recreation apparel and the outdoors. Enhancing their corporate social responsibility, the PURE EARTH collection of apparel solutions was introduced with a six-point plan for how their manufacturing and distribution practice will make clothing sustainable through product design, sourcing and compliance. It is a leading example of eco-conscious international apparel sourcing.
ORIGINAL ORGANIC with Ecorite
An early adopter of eco-importance, Ecorite has been providing the promotional products industry with made-in-Canada solutions since 1991. In the early days of the sustainability movement Ecorite was already educating customers about the values of organic cotton, recycled fibres and the importance of keeping plastic waste out of
Today, they have added philanthropy to the sale of their products, supporting the positive work of organizations like One Tree Planted.
Durable and biodegradable – jute grows quickly requiring no fertilizers or pesticides. Jute crop also consumes significantly less water than cotton during growing and processing, managing water supply while providing an eco-friendly fabric.
Tier 2: ECO-CULTURE CAMPAIGNS
Next-level green thinking goes beyond the borders of catalogues and websites. These companies have recognized the positive impact of sustainable practice, embraced sustainability as part of their corporate culture and holistically applied the idea of sustainability to their operations.
ProudPath with PCNA
One of North America’s largest suppliers of promotional goods, PCNA introduced ProudPath as a comprehensive social and environmentally responsible platform to educate and empower their distributor network.
Through their corporate effort PCNA is creating transparent supply chains, reducing carbon emissions by 50 per cent and organizing multi-brand initiatives to give back to organizations doing positive work for the environment. Their design is to meet the environmental and social responsibility objectives of all customers.
CARING CULTURE with Spector and Co.
This Montreal-based supplier applies a holistic approach to environmental and social responsibility, proudly embracing high standards and code of conduct as part of their company culture.
In 2018 Spector & Co. received QCA accreditation, an industry measure of social compliance, product safety, product quality, supply chain security and environmental impact. Eco-responsibility efforts are ongoing as all levels of operations continuously look for innovative solutions to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Factory lighting changes reduced energy consumption to the equivalent of 60 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Returned product is dismantled and repurposed or recycled to reduce contributions to landfill. Valuable metals are recovered from returned and donated electronics. Spector eliminated the equivalent of 17,000 plastic water bottles by installing filtered fountains and providing all staff and guests with reusable tumblers.
SHOP ETHICA by Attraction
A Canadian-owned family business in rural Quebec since 1980, Attraction has long specialized in creating apparel that is durable, not disposable. The use of ethical fibres in the creation of ETHICA T-shirts and hoodies significantly reduces the impact on water use, fossil-based resources and carbon emissions.
Their print decoration offers an eco-friendly reclaimed black ink and an innovative screen washer has reduced water consumption by 50 per cent. From the factory floor to the office and boardroom, Attraction strives to be a paperless facility, relying on an electronic ERP system.
For times when paper is needed, like the production of promotional catalogues, the equivalent amount is systematically reforested with PrintReleaf. These are just some of the company’s in-house eco-initiatives.
Tier 3: LITERALLY PLANTING SEEDS
GIVE TO THE ENVIRONMENT with Botanical PaperWorks
Celebrating 25 years in the promotional products industry, an idea that started as a small seed planted by Heidi Reimer Epp and her mother Mary has flourished to share the eco-positive messages of Fortune 500 companies and individuals around the world.
On a mission to help spread beauty and reduce waste, Botanical PaperWorks manufactures and distributes biodegradable seed paper made from post-consumer material. Their efforts to collect post-consumer and post-industrial waste saves a local landfill 10 tons of paper per year.
Active community members in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Botanical PaperWorks participates in youth education that teaches the next generation about reducing, reusing and recycling. They also organize and lead community cleanups to pick up litter.
The education and awareness of eco-impact extends to their industry involvement, where Botanical PaperWorks uses their trade show space to also advocate for the declining population of bees in Canada.
A natural fit for any organization involved in direct mail campaigns and/or connected to agriculture and nature.
- as featured in marketingedge magazine June 2022 - click to open e-magazine