Eco-friendly corporate gifts are a growing trend that is here to stay. As the drive for sustainability increases in all facets of society, even the arena of company swag handed out at corporate events has come under scrutiny.
It still makes sense to gift attendees some goodies so that they form positive associations with your brand. But unless the items you hand over are eco-friendly, they could have the opposite effect.
To avoid this dilemma, look at the following examples of corporate gifts that are practical, sustainable, and in keeping with modern expectations.
Skip to What You Need
- 1 Seeded Paper Bags for New Growth
- 2 Reusable Water Bottles from Recyclable Materials
- 3 Bespoke Branded Photo Products
- 4 Reusable Wax Wraps
- 5 Cloud Service Subscriptions
- 6 Reusable Straws
- 7 Recycled Coasters
- 8 Organic Cotton Clothing and Bags
- 9 Wrapping Up: Final Thoughts on Eco-friendly Corporate Gifts
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
- 11 References
Seeded Paper Bags for New Growth
Proliferating plant life is one of the best ways to support the ecosystem, trap carbon and improve the planet’s prospects as a whole. And as more people take up growing plants and herbs at home, it’s possible to help them out with the branded gifts you give.
This is achievable through seeded paper, which can be turned into bags that are great for storing all sorts of items. Then, when they reach the end of their usable life, they can either be composted or actively planted in soil to allow the seeds contained within the layers of paper to grow and flourish.
It’s possible to make seeded paper by hand, although today, there are a number of manufacturers out there who’ve developed large-scale production methods and will gladly print up branded bags in whatever volume you require.
Take a look at this video tutorial by NevermindPaper to learn more about seeded paper and how it is made:
With this type of gift, it’s worth making it clear that seeded paper is being used on the bag itself. That way, you can highlight the eco-friendliness of your approach without needing to explain the whole thing every time you give one away. The eco-friendly corporate gifts that keep on giving!
Reusable Water Bottles from Recyclable Materials
All of us are being encouraged to stop using plastic, and there are lots of good reasons for this. In particular, it’s single-use plastics that are in the firing line at the moment, but even plastic objects which can be reused aren’t good for the environment or our health.
This is a problem when it comes to branded water bottles. Lots of businesses have snapped them up over the years without necessarily thinking about the eco credentials of the materials being used.
The point is that a plastic bottle will eventually need to be disposed of, and the cost, effectiveness, and accessibility of recycling facilities for such materials can confound the original intent of being environmentally conscientious.
The good news is that there are alternatives out there, with reusable bottles designed using materials that are infinitely recyclable or even compostable. Metal, wood, and glass are being put to work in this market, so if you’re choosing gifts for your next corporate event, make sure to keep this in mind when weighing up your options.
Our favorites include stainless steel water bottles (or travel mugs) that can be used for years and years, and then recycled into new ones!
Bespoke Branded Photo Products
If you want to showcase your brand, your products, your business practices, or anything else, then using an online photo album maker to collate completely custom books of snaps is a great way to go about this.
The eco-friendliness comes when you consider that giving this type of branded gift to employees will be a token of your appreciation and something they’ll be able to hold onto and enjoy indefinitely.
Obviously, you’ll need to make sure that the recipients are actually featured in the photos that are included, or else there might not be the necessary connection to turn a bespoke photo product into a prized possession.
Reusable Wax Wraps
Another area in which plastic use is being reduced right now is the kitchen, and the era of having leftovers wrapped up in reams of the single-use film is coming to an end thanks to the rising popularity of reusable wax wraps.
As you’d expect, these are totally customizable, meaning you can add your brand either to the wrap itself or simply to the cardboard packaging that contains it.
This is still an emerging trend right now, so if you want to ride the crest of the wave rather than feeling like you’re being left behind, now’s the time to act on reusable wax wraps for your lineup of eco-friendly corporate gifts and event freebies.
In a corporate environment, they’re a great alternative to plastic for work lunches, from wrapping sandwiches to covering reusable dishes or even just keeping your fruit protected.
Cloud Service Subscriptions
So far, all of the corporate gifts we’ve talked about are eco-friendly, but at the end of the day are also tangible, physical products that do generate emissions in their production and their eventual recycling.
If you want to give away products that leave as little impact on the environment as possible, then choosing intangible examples is your best bet.
In a time of cloud computing dominance, it has never been easier to offer access to subscription services for software to all and sundry.
You might have your own in-house platform that could be suitable for this purpose, or you could partner with a third-party vendor, perhaps even creating a branded iteration of whatever solution they supply.
For example, you might choose a cloud storage and file-sharing service rather than opting to hand out branded USB memory sticks, as was once a top trend in the days before sustainability was a top priority.
Just like bottles and bags, straws made from plastic have been identified as an environmental hazard, and global efforts to remove them from circulation have proved successful in recent years.
Disposable straws are still an issue, of course, as even moving to paper or card for this purpose generates emissions for an item that will ultimately be used once and then thrown away.
Reusable straws, typically made from metal, are joining the fight to avoid both of these issues, and the good news is that these are available as branded items that are well suited to being slipped in as part of a corporate event gift bundle.
It’s typically the straw container that’s branded, as this not only makes your logo and messaging more visible but also helps to protect the tube within from wear and tear over time.
Coasters are another tried and tested branded item, and you can find them in bars and restaurants, as well as further afield in any context where drinks are being imbibed, and watermarks on tabletops and other surfaces need to be minimized.
While even standard cardboard coasters can, of course, be seen as sustainable due to their recyclability and biodegradability, the issue is that many are made from wood pulp derived from freshly felled trees.
The better option is to choose coasters that are explicitly sold as being not just recyclable but also produced from recycled materials.
More and more of these are hitting the market right now, and you can, of course, add your own corporate colors and brand messaging to the surface, making it easier to grow awareness of who you are and what you do at busy events.
Organic Cotton Clothing and Bags
There’s no getting away from the fact that branded clothing is incredibly effective in terms of promoting your business. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick with the most affordable and least sustainable garments in this category, especially when it’s possible to get t-shirts, sweaters, jackets, and more that are made from 100 percent organic cotton.
Do check that any cotton clothing you select for giveaways at events or for employees to wear from day to day is certified organic. This is important because not all clothing that is marketed as organic is actually able to meet international standards for this certification.
Wrapping Up: Final Thoughts on Eco-friendly Corporate Gifts
There’s a whole heap of choice when it comes to gifts for corporate events, which are definitely less of a burden on the environment than many alternatives that were popular in years gone by.
However, as with any marketing-related decision, you have to pick products that don’t just serve to boost your eco-credentials as a company but also make sense in the context of your brand identity and overarching aims as a business.
Authenticity is important in brand-building, and so you have to factor this in when selecting gifts, or else they might seem like a hollow offering.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are eco-friendly gifts expensive?
There can be a premium for taking the greener approach to branded products, but this is justifiable given the reputational boost that sustainably made items will deliver.
Can I customize eco-friendly gifts to include branding?
Absolutely, so long as you find the right manufacturing partner and also think carefully about how your logo will fit onto a given product.
Are corporate gifts only suitable for in-person events?
W hile it's obviously useful to give away branded products at events that people attend in the flesh, you can also send them out to participants in virtual get-togethers.
Association of Zoos & Aquariums: Plastic Straws
New Scientist: Material Recyclability
Stanford: Plant Carbon Absorption
The Soil Association: Organic Cotton