April 22 each year is Earth Day. It can be argued that this day is indeed the day that marks the birth of the 1970 environmental movement. However, in 1970 most of the world was oblivious to environmental concerns and instead were focused on the war that was raging in Vietnam. Indeed most Americans were driving huge sedans and there was no fear of legal repercussions for factories spewing forth toxic sludge and smoke. That said, Earth Day 1970 was able to capitalize on the emerging consciousness and was able to channel the anti-war protest movement into environmental concerns.
As we move further into 2014 and beyond we are seeing a growing concern for our environment but while our concerns are growing, our ability to pull together as a society and ensure that we can protect our environment are being threatened by the widening gap between the rich and the poor. This growing gap in equality will lessen our ability as a global society to address and hold our governments and organizations accountable.
Now more than ever we need to be vigilant. We need to make sure we are supporting those organizations that are making a difference not only in terms of environmental sustainability but those that support the global community encompassing: economic, social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
A simple and easy definition of a carbon offset is “a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere.”
This definition, on Wikipedia, appears to be pretty straight forward. Why then is carbon offsetting so confusing?
The answer is in the quality of the carbon offsets and the performance of the vendors offering the offsets. Some offsets are heavily criticized as not providing enough benefits to the environment while others say that offsetting only further promotes our over consumptive behaviors.
The challenge for an organization that is looking to mitigate its GHG emissions is to find a reliable carbon offset provider that also connects with your sustainability initiatives.
In 2009, The David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute prepared The Carbon Offset Guide to help Canadians understand and assess the quality of available carbon offsets. Although now five years old, this is a useful tool if you are responsible for figuring out the best carbon offset project for your business.
According to Carbon Catalog the following companies are listed as Canadian offset providers:
A carbon offset is produced by either preventing GHG emissions or carbon sequestration.
A project that prevent GHG emissions is one one that would have otherwise occured such as a wind or solar farm vs energy from a coal powered electrical plant.
Carbon sequestration involves trapping or removing GHG from the atmosphere from storage of CO2 or removal of CO2 by plants and micro-organisms.
Oops…I just realized it is March and I somehow missed putting up an article for February! So, let’s make this one spectacular shall we? Coming up with great promo ideas for either events for just to have that little something special to remind your client that they are special, is not the easiest thing. To top it off, we are all on rather restricted budgets aren’t we? Looking at environmental options usually takes a back seat when dollars are limited because often they are perceived as more expensive than other options. However, this really isn’t the case. There are a ton of great ideas that are extremely cost effective and really tell your clients that you are thinking of them. Organic lip balm and/or clip on hand sanitizers are just two examples that will easily run you only a few dollars each.
I recently read a blog from the salesproblog that I thought was really interesting because it was the view from a sales professional explaining what he liked and didn’t about the different tchotchkes available. His top three points in what makes a good giveaway is that it should be cost effective, intriguing and branded.
A friend and business owner mentioned to me what he hated the most about give aways are the sheer number of pens with lasers, flashlights and iPhone touch points that are kind of cool but all have way too little ink in the pen. He believes the average life of a premium pen cartridge is less than four days and mentioned how he would pay way more to have a high quality pen with a lifetime supply of ink!
So, in planning your next give away item, you may want to take a step back and think about the perception the client will have of the organization you represent and you as the representative.
Being a business owner and having had several past businesses, January was typically the time when we would look at our overall marketing and sales plans and set aside the required budgets to support the identified tactics.
As a business owner, you know it’s important to always put aside a little money for promotional items for trade shows, events, special promotions, giveaways etc. The upside of promotional items is that it gets the word out there about your products and business. However, the downside is that if you pick the wrong item you could possibly have the wrong “word” out there about your products or business and this can sometimes hurt your business.
By choosing an eco friendly option for your promotional items, you are letting your customers know you care about your community and our planet. Studies show that today’s consumer would prefer to use companies who use more eco-friendly options for business.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, waste per household increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Americans throw away 4 million tons of gift wrapping and shopping bags annually, buy 2.65 billion holiday cards, and spend an average of $800 per person on gifts. It’s no wonder, then, that a national survey found 70% of Americans wish there was less of a focus on holiday gift giving.
Although material-free gifts are often the most environmentally conscious presents, eco-friendly products are increasingly available, thanks to programs like EnergyStar and efforts by individual manufacturers. Gifts from watches to incredibly funky sunglasses that provides vision to someone in need with every pair sold are just a few of the possibilities. Looking for a completely “no impact” gift? Why not consider helping out your local economy by giving theatre or movie passes, spa gift certificates or gift certifications for local sustainable restaurants.
Stuck with a box full of t-shirts for a product release version 1.3 and your are now on 2.0? Accidentally spelled your name wrong when ordering pens? Changed your branding and have a ton of leftover items that have the old logo? Left with a box of unwanted bags or other items and don’t want to incur the costs of shipping them back? Many local charities would love to take your unwanted items from you. These items can go to multiple uses within a number of charities. Oxfam will take any unwanted goods and even arrange to pick them up for you. Contact an Oxfam office near you for pick up. Local women’s shelters would love to get your leftover hand sanitizer or even those little pads of paper and calculators.
Afraid that giving your items will somehow lead to a marketing disaster? That is understandable but should not prevent you from looking at donating as an option. Instead, clearly communicate to the charity you choose how they can use your items and what the limitations are for that usage.
There is only one opportunity to make an impression. Not only do you need to ensure that you have competent booth attendees, you need to ensure your trade show giveaway represents your company’s values and makes a lasting impression on the potential client. You need something that is not only useful and practical, but you need something that is a “game changer”. Eco friendly alternatives that are both fun, interesting and useful is THE way to guarantee you will be remembered.
New fun and interesting ideas include: recycled plastic bracelet stylus or recycled plastic pen stylus, recycled plastic cell phone holders, recycled or bamboo usb keychains and recycled lanyard pen/stylus. Extremely popular is the recycled plastic or corn based banner pen which allows you to print your exhibitors and/or trade show schedule right on the pull out banner hidden within the pen!
Looking for something more useful perhaps? A little more refined perhaps to go along with your corporate image and branding? Why not try an eco friendly and extremely useful solar or windup flashlight as a possibility? Of course iphone skins and cases are also very welcome and with the new bamboo and recycled plastic options, it is easy to create an image that will have a lasting impression.
Always appreciated are bamboo highlighter and pen combo’s or compostable stone paper notepads. There are some increasingly more sophisticated recycled water bottle pens as well as many bamboo pen/pencil options that are guaranteed to be appreciated by your potential client.
We are happy to work with you to determine the right fit at the right budget. If it isn’t on our site, we can easily source it or have it made for you.
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.