If you are looking to highlight or create attention to your company’s commitment to leaving a lighter footprint for your upcoming Trade Show or Conference, you might want to consider some items that are useful to your potential client. The growth of the eco-friendly promotional products industry certainly has helped to make being environmentally friendly easier. However, if that eco friendly swag ends up in the garbage, it is really defeating the purpose of limiting your environmental impact.
Promotional items that booth visitors actually use not only make the best environmental choice, but also provide regular – sometimes daily – exposure to your brand. So when you’re buying giveaways for that upcoming show, consider the marketing and environmental benefits of the following items:
Water bottles: From BPA free plastic to aluminum or glass, there are some great choices out there. Be sure to choose bottles that are well made, have a twist cap and are leak proof.
USB Drives: Who can’t use another one of these? Often, for a bit extra, you can also have your marketing collateral installed on the drive. Recycled plastic and even bamboo options can be considered.
Unique bags: Yes, lots of your competitors will give away reusable shopping bags, and they’re a good choice. But what about lunch bags? There are some great organic cotton lunch bags available
Coffee mugs – your probably thinking no way for this one, but hold on a second – there are some great ceramic coffee mugs with lids available or why not a stainless steel Americano option?
Stone paper notebooks – 100% tree free, these notebooks are made of stone and are just as unique as your company.
Want something truly unique but struggling with ideas? Give us a shout or email and we would be happy to assist. Advice is free of charge always!
Ahem….Valentines you say?
Yes, I know we’re a little late on announcing these winners! What can I say but that it’s been a little busy lately.
During the month of February we ran a contest on Facebook with one winner per week for 4 weeks.
Each winner will receive – a USB key, lip balm and yummy Camino chocolate!
Congratulations to Nina, Rosa, Kristen and Richard.
We’ll be contacting! Congratulations!
Consider joining hundreds of millions of others by switching off your lights for just one hour, from 8:30-9:30PM this Saturday, March 31.
In 2011, Earth hour was effective across 135 countries. You can find out what is going on in your location by going to their website and click on your location to find events in your area and encourage your friends, family, and work colleagues to attend.
Perhaps the thought of sitting in the dark for an hour isn’t so appealing? Why not make it fun? Here are 3 ideas for you to choose from:
1. Have some friends over for cocktails by candlelight. Try making a “black out” martini or a “blue sky” martini (recipe courtesy of the Fairmont Hotel)
2. Have a neighborhood outdoor gathering with candles on your deck. Make some organic appetizers, break out the organic wine and voila!
3. Have a romantic evening with that special someone by candlelight, try a great organic red wine with some fabulous organic chocolate and let your imagination take care of the rest!
Wine & Chocolate: Atelier from Travis Boisvenue on Vimeo.
You are probably wondering what is sustainable purchasing and why should you care. Essentially, sustainable purchasing is considering both environmental and social factors when making a purchasing decision. The aim is to minimize the environmental and social impact that the items you purchase have. More than likely, in the past, you have considered only the initial purchase price when making a purchase decision on an item for your business regardless of whether or not it was large purchase item, office supplies or trade-show giveaways.
Today, we know that the initial cost may not be the largest expense. The lifecycle cost of the product, ie., the operational and disposal costs also need to be considered and factored in. The rise in the cost of energy and water will continue in the coming decades, as resource scarcity and environmental controls on utility companies increase. As a society, we need to look at sustainable alternatives not just at home but in our daily operations within the organization’s in which we work. The expansion of sustainable alternatives is growing rapidly due to the increased demand so now there is a more sustainable alternative for nearly every item we purchase and the cost is typically only a few cents more or equal in price to traditional non-sustainable items.
Preparing some basic guidelines for your organization to follow when considering purchases is pretty easy to do. However, we have even made it easier for you by preparing a sustainable purchase guide template to assist you and your organization in making informed decisions when considering a future purchase.
There are a variety of economic, environmental and social reasons why any business should consider sustainable purchasing, including:
- Sustainable alternatives can be more energy efficient. Initial outlay may be marginally more but the average payback periods for such initiatives are measured in months, not years. ie., a new office energy efficient fridge vs. the old clunker sitting in the staff room.
- Purchasing sustainable items enhances your brand and avoids reputational damage.
- Many waste minimization measures cost nothing, but yield big results when tracked over the longer term.
- The conservation of natural resources is becoming increasingly important and we all need to be part of the solution not a contributor to scarcity.
- Legislation, both in the UK and from Europe, is forcing North America to also look at addressing the issue of sustainability. Better to get an idea of what you need to do now to become a sustainable organization prior to legislation forcing compliance which could be costly down the road.
The basic guidelines for sustainable purchasing
Don’t feel like reading or downloading our guide? That’s okay, we understand it might not work for everyone. Here are some basic guidelines for you to consider instead:
- Is the product made in part or wholly from recycled material?
- Is the product made from a material that came from a sustainable source?
- Is the product made from a material that can be recycled after use?
- How energy and water efficient is the purchase?
- Avoid excessive packaging
- What are the disposal costs for the product?
About the guide
The guide is designed as a template, so feel free to edit and make it your own. You can download it here
Have a show coming up and feel stuck for ideas? Let’s face it, events cost a lot of money and putting up the same old ho hum booth isn’t going to improve your traffic this year. Why not try a themed booth or event? A few added props and some ingenuity is all is takes.
Want to make your product/service memorable? Think Hollywood or Disney. Create a theme and make sure booth staff are willing and able to act in your event. Choose staff that are outgoing, knowledgeable and fun!
Here are some ideas that you might want to consider:
- Vegas theme – rent a few vegas props – ie., blackjack table and create blackjack cards focused on your product/service. Rent a blackjack card guru and give away some themed prizes and you will have people around the booth guaranteed!
- Circus/Magic theme – rent a small pop up circus tent (depending upon your booth space size) rent a juggler to show potential clients how to juggle or perhaps a medium who can read cards or palms. Or, using lots of black cloth, create a magic theme, hire a magician to show simple card tricks and theme your promotional giveaways around this.
- Disco/LMFAO theme – hang a disco ball, throw in some disco music and have booth staff dress in disco clothes. Throw in a dance floor with a couple of disco dancers and you will have people flocking to the booth to see what is going on.
- Safari Park/Nature theme – this can be either a calm and relaxing oasis within which attendees will want to sit and watch your demo or it can be fun with a full safari park theme with the team dressed as safari guides playing a role of guiding attendees through the dangerous aspects of your booth.
Remember to consider sustainability in your planning process by either renting props or using environmentally friendly materials if making your own props.
As an organization you have committed to optimizing your business processes and identifying the true impacts of your products and services. You have even gone so far as to publicly commit to your sustainability goals with your partners and clients. In order to reach your goals you know that you will need to be able to inspire and motivate your employees.
Creating what is referred to as “green teams” is an excellent way to empower them – to make them feel that they are part of the solution. There might already even be an adhoc team or two located in your company that has taken on the responsibility of recycling or planning a “bike to work” program. These teams seem to be found in many organizations regardless if there is a sustainability strategy in place. The goal is to harness these teams, set the strategy, get them excited about the possibilities and then let them run the show. If you have a solid strategy with clearly established goals, letting these teams own the program, has proven to be a quicker and more efficient way to reach your sustainability objectives. You can easily get them moving by doing the following:
1. Co-create a vision – have them co-create, understand and share a vision statement that clearly defines the programs goals. Discuss and clarify where they are and how to get to where they need to be given the resources available to them.
2. Identify the concrete and actionable steps – together identify the various steps needed to achieve the vision. With varying levels of knowledge of sustainability, clear actionable steps are a must.
3. Outline key success metrics – create an initial baseline of where the organization is and identify the performance metrics required to obtain the program goals at the onset. Make the metrics understandable by all and achievable.
Looking for a corporate or even family gift but not quite sure what to buy? Socially conscience gifts provide an option that truly is unique and gives both the sender and receiver a nice warm fuzzy feeling.There are some truly incredible gifts that you can give depending upon your budget and your client. Here are our top picks:
1. Save an animal – The world society for the protection of animals (WSPA) provides you with the option of saving a dog, pig, whale or donkey just to name a few. Budget for saving your favorite animal is between $20 and $40.
2. Plan Canada – If saving animals is not a relevant gift for your client or Aunt Sally, perhaps a gift of hope from Plan Canada would be perfect. You can choose between the peanut butter project, which helps communities grow peanuts to make peanut butter that will provide protein for families or planting mango trees or building a well. These gift donations are matched and range from $35 to $10,000 depending upon the project.
3. Nothing But Nets – Perhaps the above options are a bit too large to wrap your mind and budget around? You could consider sending a net to people in Africa to help stop the spread of malaria and save lives.
4. LifeStraw – Is your budget less than $10/client? For just over $6, you can buy a lifestraw for a child and provide clean water for up to one year
5. Kiva – A great option for your client or entrpreneurial nephew is to give the gift of a micro loan. Kiva provides the option of empowering people around the world through a $25 micro loan. Since this is a loan, you do get your money back with the choice of re-investing in another individual or taking it out.
How Kiva Works from Kiva on Vimeo.
We would love to hear your ideas on gift giving for this holiday season, drop us a line!
With more emphasis placed daily on becoming sustainable both at home and at work, it will only be a matter of time before sustainable gifts and promotion ideas become mainstream. With so many alternatives and incredibly unique ideas to choose from it is not difficult to make an environmentally friendly choice. From recycled wood cutting boards to plantable postcard promotions, the ideas and choices are endless.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, why not look at creating something truly unique for your clients, co-workers, family and friends. These cards are a terrific way to take office recyclables and create something unique. Michelle Kaufmann has a great DIY video on making your own cards from junk mail that you typically throw out or put in the recycle bin combined with seeds. Granted if we want to ensure that we are truly sustainable, using greywater for the water component as well as paper without dangerous ink and color would be preferable. David Suzuki also has a similar video that you can gather some ideas from as well. Happy card making!
DIY Plantable Paper – Michelle Kaufmann
Plantable paper cards – David Suzuki Foundation
You may be interested in hosting a carbon neutral event but you need to engage other stakeholders in your organization and convince them on the benefits. Here’s some good reasons to share with your colleagues on why greening your event is a good thing to do!
- Your organization is demonstrating that it’s making an effort to help protect the environment.
- You have an opportunity to help educate the public about the problems of climate change.
- Your organization will be participating in the improvement of public health by encouraging the use of alternative transportation such as cycling and walking.
- You will be improve the competitiveness of your event: You will see a reduction in operating costs from reduced energy consumption.
- You may increase your visibility in the media by talking about the event for new positive reasons.
- Your organization will be demonstrating leadership.
- Your organization will look more attractive to all stakeholder groups from board members, to employees to new recruits.
I purchased a new water bottle for my 12 year-old for school over the weekend. When I presented it to her, she asked me is if it was BPA free. Not even understanding what BPA meant or what harm it can cause, the fact that she was aware of it was rather surprising. In explaining to her what BPA was, I realized I really didn’t know all that much about it other than there was a link to breast cancer. So, October being breast cancer awareness month, I decided to do a bit of research on BPA and its link to breast cancer.
Breast cancer has increased from 1 out of every 20 women in 1960 to 1 out of every 8 women today. In Canada, it is the most frequently diagnosed cancer with an estimated 23,200 women diagnosed this year.
A lot of attention and research has been done recently around the link between BPA and breast cancer and although there are discrepancies in the research, there was enough concern for legislation to be passed eliminating BPA in plastic bottles and containers.
What is BPA? BPA is a controversial chemical that is found in many hard plastics as well as in the linings of metal food cans. BPA is known to mimic the hormone estrogen in the body and may interfere with the body’s endocrine system. Recent studies have linked BPA exposure to breast and prostate cancer in animals and obesity and thyroid productive abnormalities, as well as neurologic disorders in humans.
In 2008, the FDA said current research supports the safety of low levels of human exposure to BPA. But in 2010 the agency revised its stance to say recent studies suggest there may be some uncertainty about the health risks of BPA.
Interestingly, I came across two items that I was not aware of and honestly, it was a definite eye-opener. First, I had no idea that recycled toilet paper contained BPA’s and that BPA enters into our wastewater and tap water because of this. Being an eco-conscious consumer, I have always purchased recycled toilet paper.
Apparently, the source of BPA in toilet paper is not due to the fact that it is added deliberately to the product, but that a lot of toilet paper is made from post-consumer sources that include lots of recycled thermal printing paper (credit card receipts). Dresden University did a study examining BPA turning up in wastewater streams and traced it back to toilet paper. Ultimately, it’s sources like these that are the reason you probably have BPA (albeit at extremely low concentrations) in your tap water, too. Of course, the same can be said for other kinds of recycled paper as well.
The second item that was definitely disconcerting was the recent report indicating that some canned soups and meals marketed to children contain BPA. According to the report, all of the products tested positive for the chemical, and Campbell’s Disney Princess and Toy Story soups contained the highest levels.
A spokesman for Campbell’s says regulatory agencies say the amount of BPA in canned foods doesn’t pose a threat to health. However, the average level of BPA in the 12 items tested was 49 ppb (parts per billion) and ranged from 10 to 148 ppb. The Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate of safe exposure level is 50 ppb per day.
“One serving might be a concern, but a combination of repeated and re-exposure to BPA from cans marketed to kids is a bigger concern,” says Connie Engel, PhD, science education coordinator at the Breast Cancer Fund, which conducted the study.
“The combination of these foods with other foods like canned fruits, juices, or vegetables would add up to levels of BPA exposure associated with breast cancer, prostate cancer, infertility in girls, and ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder],” says Engel.
Cooking healthy nutritious and if possible organic foods is really key to keeping our children healthy long-term. With busy schedules and hectic lives, it is difficult to ensure a healthy meal everyday. However, more and more grocery stores are stocking prepared organic alternatives. As for the toilet paper issue, I am perplexed, there are alternatives, such as bamboo toilet paper and bidets but realistically until the cost of these items decreases and general accepted use increases it is unlikely that this will change. Consumer awareness and demand for alternatives will take time, but with additional research and exposure there is hope that manufacturers of these products will look at healthier alternatives.