Sustainable gifts – a guide

Corporate gifts have sometimes had the reputation of being not very sustainable gifts. While promotional merchandise has probably been more of a victim to a bad reputation in this area (plastic pens, bags and low-value freebies all seem a little wasteful after watching any David Attenborough programme), corporate gifting can get lumped into the same category.

However, the times are changing. For Simply Thank You, and every other provider of corporate gifts, we are sure we have our own CSR goals to meet and that of our customers.

What are sustainable gifts?

You might think that sustainable gifts are eco-friendly gifts. However, even this is a broad term, and eco-friendly might not be correct to say! At its core, eco-friendly means not harmful to the environment. But when we look over to places such as the FTC Green Guides, the American resource from the Federal Trade Commission on buying eco that have been produced since 1992, you’ll find that to be ‘eco-friendly’ proper, everything from production to packaging needs to be considered safe for the environment. As well as this, to be ‘eco friendly’ in name, even the packaging must explain why it is environmentally responsible.

Eco-friendly might sound light and fluffy, but achieving status as an eco-friendly product is exceptionally tough. Remember that the process also has to be safe for the environment- and in our global world, that may be very tricky. As you may have noticed, almost everything negatively impacts the environment, from the water used, to the fuel to deliver, to the waste at the end of the product’s life. It is tough to meet that dictionary definition of eco-friendly, which is why most products do fit in the category of sustainable.

Sustainable gifts would probably best fit in the definition of a product that doesn’t deplete resources while offering environmental, social, and economic benefits as well.

The importance of sustainable gifts for CSR

Sustainable gifts are not only good for the environment, but they also send a strong message to employees and customers that the company is committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR is the practice of businesses taking into consideration the impact of their activities on society and the environment. Many companies are now starting to implement sustainable practices into their business model to reduce their impact on the environment and give back to society.

There are many sustainable gifts that companies can give to their employees or customers that send the message clearly, such as:

  • Reusable water bottles
  • Recycled notebooks
  • Solar-powered phone chargers
  • Bamboo or wooden desk accessories
  • Fairtrade coffee or tea

CSR is often thought of as a way for companies to give back to society, but it can also be used as a marketing tool to improve brand reputation and customer loyalty. In fact, studies have shown that consumers are more likely to purchase products from companies that they perceive to be socially responsible.

Sustainability gift ideas

We have a huge range of sustainable gifts from some really interesting brands.

Sea Change is one of our wine suppliers, and every bottle of Sea Change helps fund ocean conservation projects across the globe. Behind Sea Change is a family wine business founded by Toby and Bill over 15 years ago. Toby and Bill have always felt strongly that business has a responsibility to the environment. With this in mind, it was a casual discussion in 2018 between them and Simon and Ian, who run the UK side of the business, about the impact of plastic on our oceans, that ignited the idea for Sea Change.

Another favourite is our mini meadow bamboo pots. All cardboard packaging (including the Seedball packs) is made from 100% recycled card and vegetable inks and can be safely composted.

The coir discs are made from the natural fibres found on the outer shell of coconuts which expand when water is added, turning into a great growing medium!

These are just a few brands who are offering some innovative packaging ideas, turning their products into sustainable gifts, while offering no decrease in enjoyment from the recipient.

Look for sustainable packaging and processes

While we have a sustainability range, you can also take advantage of some of the sustainability changes Simply Thank You offer, and use these to enhance your own campaigns.

Let’s say that for your employee reward or staff promotion you really would like to send something that hasn’t been made from sustainable materials. Perhaps even electronics or something else high value.

You can take comfort that the process has been designed to eliminate as much waste as possible.

  • In our fragile products, we are changing from the standard plastic airfill to a 100% recycled and biodegradable alternative called Flexi-Hex.
  • We have now eliminated all plastic flower transport pots and replaced this with a more eco-conscious felt option
  • Plastic tape will soon be replaced with eco paper tape (2023)
  • In our flower care pack the inner plastic wallet on the flower boxes has now been replaced with a paper alternative meaning all flower boxes will now be recyclable.
  • We are currently researching how we can replace the plastic cellophane with an eco-friendly paper alternative.

This is just the start of our journey to offer sustainable gifts and decrease waste in our business over the long term. If we can help you with sustainable gift options, please talk to us today.

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