Does it pay for a company to be green? Absolutely. According to the inaugural BBMG Consumer Conscious Report, nearly 90% of American consumers are more likely to buy products from companies they believed employed eco-friendly practices. That’s a big number. But to get the attention of consumers who are going green, you’ve got to toot your own horn a bit.
Using promotional products, especially of organic or recycled nature, will not only demonstrate that your company cares about the environment, but will also reduce the effects of harmful materials, pollution and non-biodegradable waste. With that in mind, here’s how three companies spread the word about their environmentally friendly practices.
Greening the (Learning) Scene
When executives at Lindamood-Bell, a learning company, uncovered study after study that drew links between environmental factors and conditions such as autism, its executives decided to adopt dozens of company-wide green practices, included using more energy-friendly light bulbs, video conferencing, a bigger push for recycling and using non-toxic cleaning supplies in its 42 facilities worldwide.
But the company wanted to do more to encourage both clients and employees to adopt the green cause. The solution? Lindamood-Bell launched a week-long campaign last August called “Greening Our Learning Scene,” according to Steve Rossi, a company spokesperson.
“The company’s executives believe it is not only their responsibility as members of this planet but also as members of their community to reduce the negative environmental impact on our planet,” says Debbie Long who helped spearhead the event. For this promotion, the company used a series of eco-friendly promotional products including organic T-shirts, cotton totebags and recycled pencils. “The totebags were given to clients who were encouraged to use them as reusable grocery bags,” Long says. The T-shirts were given to customers and employees throughout the company’s facilities worldwide. All recipients were asked to wear the T-shirts throughout the week.
The promotion was extremely successful. “The entire event created a domino effect,” Long says. Managers passed on their enthusiasm to employees, who passed it along to customers.
Lindamood-Bell was so pleased with the response from employees and clients alike that they have decided to host another Green Week coinciding with Earth Day and the company continues the use of green products to promote the green cause, says Rossi.
“My client’s goal was to create awareness and educate others about reducing the negative environmental impact on the earth,” Long says. “This goes far beyond a simple return on investment or formula for success. Because of the domino effect from this event, the longterm benefits can reach to future generations and change the world one person at a time.” After the week concluded, Lindamood-Bell was honored with a Pollution Prevention Recognition Award from the Air Pollution Control District in San Luis Obispo County for its green-friendly activities.
Toes in the Sand
When snorkeling off the coast of beautiful tropical islands it’s easy to lose track of the time. For hours, backs are exposed to the blistering heat of the sun. Best solution? Sunscreen.
But, before lathering up to protect yourself, take a moment to consider the environment as well. According to leading biochemists, there are four main ingredients in sunscreens that are harming coral reefs by activating viruses that kill the algae that feed the coral through photosynthesis.
Cancun, Mexico, has begun prohibiting the use of certain sunscreens when snorkeling over the coral reefs, says Tom Whaley, president of a sunscreen manufacturer. With this information in mind, the company was able to better serve a promotional products distributor calling for ideas for first-night room gifts for a group of Presidents Club incentive winners from a financial firm vacationing in Cancun. The idea sprang to life in the form of a jute basket filled with eight-hour waterproof sunscreens, lip balms, moisturizers and sunburn relief items. “We provided certificates of biodegradability for our items,” Whaley says. “The recipients were able to use the items while snorkeling at the reefs as well as on the rest of their trip.”
The snorkellers were impressed with the basket of gifts because “the products could be used on the snorkeling trip, kept the recipients from getting sunburned throughout the week and had a high perceived value as they were also sold in the gift shop of the resort at very high retail prices,” Whaley says.
When choosing sunscreen as a promotion, here are some tips to keep in mind.
• Look for the active ingredients in sunscreens. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are minerals that will scatter and reflect UVA and UVB rays, while petrochemicals absorb them
• Always read the label carefully as many “natural” sunscreens contain chemicals harmful to corral reefs.
• Sunscreens that claim to be waterproof may not always be. “In chemistry there is one law: similar dissolves similar,” Ferreira says. “Sixty percent of sunscreen is water. The truth is, when synthetic sunscreen comes in contact with water, it breaks down and washes away.”
• Finally, if you’re planning a trip to a balmy locale, consider offering hats and clothing that offer UV protection or have an SPF rating.
All in the Structure
To welcome employees to a new facility in Texas, a Fortune 500 technology company turned to a promotional products distributor, for gift ideas to promote the new building. The new business campus was designed as an environmentally friendly building, and they wanted the promotion to tie in.
The new offices promote open work spaces for a friendlier atmosphere where the supports and structures of the building are clearly visible. The floors are made of polished concrete and the ceilings reveal the pipe work. Using fewer materials and fewer walls helped reduce the amount of construction dust that would enter the environment, not to mention the preservation of natural substances that would have gone into making the materials. The company also spent $11 million on environmental improvements to the land where the complex was to be housed.
To keep their theme green, they wanted to order a stainless steel mug for each employee, limiting paper and Styrofoam waste at the coffee machines. It was taken one step further by considering a recycled coffee mug.
The 3,500 mugs ordered were delivered just in time for the opening and the promotion went over well with the employees who viewed using their new mugs as “commitments to eco-friendly initiatives in the new building,” .
The client loved the mugs because they went over very well with the employees. They were thrilled. In June, they are planning a grand opening celebration for the community and looked at a variety of eco-friendly items to compliment this family-style event. Eco-friendly items that are being considered include flip-flops, T-shirts, hats, backpacks and recycled USB memory sticks.
Mary Beth Swayne, Advertising specialties Institute, Contributing Writer