Sustainable Corporate Gifting 101
Sustainable Corporate Gifting
It’s that wonderful time of year when the pressure is on to finalize budgets and find the perfect corporate gifts for everyone on your 2023 list: current and new clients, employees, and partners. But when it comes to choosing eco-friendly corporate gifts that show your appreciation for both people and the planet, you might not know where to start.
That’s why we’ve put together this sustainable gift-giving guide for corporations to help you get started. Read on to learn our best tips for giving sustainable corporate gifts, as well as our recommendations.
Tips for Choosing Environmentally Friendly Corporate Gifts
“Sustainable” and “eco-friendly” are unregulated terms, so when it comes to searching for sustainable gifts, you may need to look beyond the surface. Watch out for products and companies that use greenwashing in their marketing. Just because a product has natural imagery or uses the term “sustainable” doesn’t mean they’re better for the planet. When choosing corporate gifts, here are some of the sustainable attributes to evaluate:
- Material: Gifts made from recycled, alternative, biodegradable, or eco-friendly materials are one way to give sustainably. For example, bamboo is a sustainable material that has surged in popularity. Bamboo can be used to make a huge variety of products–such as socks, cutlery, straws, and phone cases–that are perfect for corporate giving.
- Origin: Gifts sourced locally don’t just benefit your local economy (although that is one of the goals of sustainability). In general, local products have less of a carbon footprint because they don’t need to be shipped around the globe. Plus, you’re more likely to find something unique.
- Process: Another thing to consider is whether the products you give are made with sustainable processes. Look for products that are free of harmful dyes and free of bleaching.
- Zero-waste alternative: Products that replace single-use plastics are another way to give sustainably. For example, plastic-free cups or water bottles with your company’s branding can be used over and over again while keeping plastic water bottles out of the landfills. Reusable straws or silicone sandwich bags are other great zero-waste alternative gifts.
- Second-hand: One of the major goals of sustainability is keeping goods in circulation rather than tossing them into landfills. Finding high-quality, unique gifts at a thrift store or antique shop is a unique way to gift, especially for a smaller group or team.
Sustainable Corporate Gift Ideas from BanQu Partners
At BanQu, we work with amazing partner companies paving the way in corporate sustainability leadership. Here are just a few sustainable corporate gift ideas from our BanQu partners:
- Coca-Cola Products: Okay, so maybe Coca-Cola isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sustainability, but the company IS taking important steps toward a more sustainable future. For example, in 2021 The Coca-Cola Company and BanQu launched a payment platform for waste pickers in South Africa. The platform ensures the waste reclaimers are paid and helps them establish credit. Gift ideas from Coca-Cola might include personalized glass Coca-Cola bottles with your employees’ names or personalized Coca-Cola tees and hoodies.
- AB InBev Products: For all the beer lovers out there, AB InBev is another large company working toward sustainability throughout their global operations. Working with BanQu, AB InBev has employed the platform to ensure the equity of the smallholder farmers that produce their crops in Ecuador, Zambia, and Tanzania. One such example is Nuestra Siembra, a locally sourced beer brewing a better economy for Ecuador. As always, ensure your gift notes and encourages responsible drinking practices.
Sustainable Client Gifts
The best sustainable corporate gift ideas will show your appreciation to your clients while also keeping your business top of mind. According to Forbes, sustainable corporate gifts – when done right - are appreciated and memorable, having the power to leave your clients with a more positive attitude toward your company.
According to a 2018 report by the Advertising Specialty Institute, businesses spend around $48 on average per client. There is no specific price point on ensuring those gifts are sustainable. However, keep in mind that you’re using a budget already allocated toward gifting, and ensuring that you’re money is responsibly spent.
A few sustainable corporate gift ideas for clients include:
- Personalized gift sets: Ethik is a wholesale marketplace that specializes in ethically sourced corporate gifts. They create personalized, timeless pieces sure to brighten any partner's or employee's day.
- Bamboo cheese board: Charcuterie boards are at the height of popularity right now. Giving your client this bamboo cheese board from Bambusi will show just how much you appreciate them. The cheese board is made from 100% Moso bamboo with utensils made from stainless steel.
- Sustainable gift baskets: The best thing about gift baskets is how much room you have for creativity. Fill them up with sustainable treats from your farmer’s market or other local business. Place your branding on blankets, hoodies, or water bottles, and fill a basket. You can even find pre-made sustainable gift boxes and sets, such as this hot chocolate set or this conscious gift box.
- Live plants: Rather than sending a bouquet of flowers that will wilt within the week, you can make a big impact by giving your clients live plants. Succulents and moss terrariums make especially great desk plants that are easy to care for. Consider purchasing from a local nursery, especially one that limits its plastic use and focuses on growing plants native to the local land.
- Beeswax candles: These handcrafted beeswax candles are both beautifully made and environmentally friendly. Small batch, local candles, and related products are a great way to ethically gift.
Sustainable Gifts for Employees
The way you treat your employees has a big impact on turnover rates and company morale. Corporate gifts show your appreciation and when chosen carefully can aid in the positive culture of your company. Eco-friendly corporate gifts for your employees also demonstrate your dedication to sustainability. Here are some of our top sustainable corporate gift ideas for your employees:
- Sustainable notebooks and pens: Show your employees your appreciation by giving them something you know they’ll use. These notebooks from Greenfield Paper are made with sustainable hemp paper. Fountain pens, such as this one from Diplomat, are plastic-free and zero waste.
- Gift cards: Gift cards are incredibly popular gifts for their flexibility and variety. When it comes to sustainable corporate gifts, you’ve got lots of options with gift cards. You might choose a gift card to a local thrift store or online upcycling company. Other ideas include gift cards for services such as a massage or local events.
- Recycled socks: Earth Easy socks are comfy, unique, and made from recycled cotton yarn.
Sustainable Gift Wrapping
The way you wrap your sustainable corporate gifts can make a difference in how they are perceived. Choosing sustainable wrapping can help you decrease your environmental impact all the while impressing clients and employees.
Here are a few ideas for sustainable gift wrapping:
- Kraft paper: Kraft paper is both durable and recyclable (unlike typical wrapping paper, which may not be recyclable) and gives your gifts a natural feel. Add a sprig of pine for a touch of elegance.
- Upcycled containers: Package your sustainable corporate gifts in repurposed jars or boxes.
- Sustainable gift wrap: Purchase sustainable gift wraps from companies such as Ecoartte or Central 23.
- Upcycled fabrics: Repurposing fabrics - or upcycling other material such as newspaper - to wrap your corporate gifts is a fantastic way to reduce waste and wrap sustainably.
Sustainable Corporate Gifting Conclusion
The corporate gifts you give say a lot about your company. Choosing environmentally friendly and humane corporate gifts demonstrates your commitment to sustainability while also showing your appreciation to clients and employees alike.
Looking for more ways to improve your company’s sustainability and reach ESG goals? BanQu can help. BanQu is a sustainability solution that helps you protect your supply chain while ensuring the utmost sustainable sourcing and efficiency. Schedule a chat with us today to learn more!