The mainstreaming of eco-friendly promotional products and campaigns

Businesses that have embraced sustainability and eco-friendly products and practices—and effectively promoted their efforts—have been reaping the financial rewards from ever-more-conscious consumers.

With Nielsen’s 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Survey reporting that more than half (55 percent) of global respondents are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact—an increase from 50 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011—it just makes good sense for suppliers to offer more eco-friendly products and for distributors to keep environmental impact in mind when creating promotional campaigns and recommending products.

So what is the definition of an eco-friendly product? There’s no hard and fast rule on this but, in general, eco-friendliness refers to any product that does not harm the environment through its production, use or disposal, or any product that facilitates or encourages the conservation of natural resources. Products made from recycled plastic bottles (RPET), are great examples of green products.

Read on for eco-friendly product and promotion ideas to help your clients market their efforts to be kind to the environment.

Companies Love These Eco-Conscious Products

Cutting Board web

This mini bamboo cutting board is the ideal size to leave on kitchen counters—keeping your client’s brand front and center in the heart of the home. It’s great for slicing fruits, cheese or vegetables, and the sustainability of bamboo makes it earth-friendly.

Fey Industries, Inc. UPIC:FEY

essential oils web

Made from all natural ingredients, these 100-percent pure, therapeutic-grade Zen Collection essential oils are made from seven proprietary aromatic botanical blends and three single, natural ingredients. The oils are a great way for brands to promote health and wellness with an eco-friendly message as well.


eco friendly document bag web

You can feel good about carrying this document bag made from 65-percent recycled plastic bottles. With an adjustable shoulder strap, the bag has one main zippered compartment with a side Velcro® pocket and an ID pocket on the back. It’s available in three color combinations: black/gray, black/royal and black/red.

Kati Sportcap UPIC: KATI

Nature Plus Pen web

With quality German ink and a two-mile write out, the Nature Plus Pen will last a long time. And when the ink does eventually run out, the pen’s corn plastic barrel will ultimately biodegrade. It’s available in blue, forest green, lime green and white.

Beacon Promotions UPIC: BEACONP

Shower Timer web

Attach this handy shower timer to your shower wall and start conserving water. It’s a great product for residents of drought-ridden areas, as well as hotels, resorts and conservation associations. The timer counts up to three minutes.

Essef Distributors UPIC: 7414140

Chipboard Cover Notebook web

Be kind to the planet by writing in the BIC® Ecolutions® Chipboard Cover Notebook, which is made of 87-percent post-consumer recycled fiber and consists of 100 sheets of lined, 55-pound paper.


Earthstamp beach NBC

Manufactured in the USA, the Earthstamp is made of durable, lightweight, flexible and abrasion-resistant polyurethane rubber. Imprint sand, freshly poured concrete, snow and other soft surfaces over and over again for brand awareness. With proper care and storage, an Earthstamp will last virtually forever.

Earthstamp UPIC:E518245


This heavy-duty, all natural, biodegradable and compostable non-woven reusable bag is made from 100-percent plant starch. It is machine washable, non-toxic, contains no petroleum and is available in a variety of material colors printed with water-based inks and sewn with cotton thread. While it comes with generic hang tags, custom tags are also available.

Earthwise Bag Company UPIC: EarthBag


ReTreads® Recycled Tire Hard Surface Mouse Pads are printed in vibrant four-color process. A brilliant image is protected under a durable, textured plastic surface, ensuring the promotion has a long life. The pads are built on 100-percent post-consumer recycled tire rubber and are a great green promotion for auto or other transportation industries.


Eco Master-700 web

This click-action pen with colored accents is made from recycled paper, recycled plastic and recycled wood so you can feel three times as good about handing it out to your clients.

Lungsal UPIC: LUNG0001


(E)co-branding Opportunities

Almost everyone knows about Earth Day (April 22, 2016)—it’s a natural co-branding event pick for environmentally conscious companies. But for clients who want to take advantage of more opportunities to promote their sustainability initiatives, or position their brand as earth-friendly during the rest of the year, what about suggesting promotional campaigns around some of these other less-well-known 2016 environmentally themed events?

March 12: Plant a Flower Day

Product idea: Custom seed packet or shaped seed paper

March 22: World Water Day

Product idea: Recycled BPA-free sports bottle

June 8: World Oceans Day

Product Idea: Custom temporary tattoos with ocean-friendly image

September 4: National Wildlife Day

Product Idea: Recycled tire pet food placemat

November 15: America Recycles Day

Product Idea: RPET structured cap or RPET reusable bag


Strategic Product Picking

Savannah Mudgett Headshot web

Eco-conscious distributor Savannah Mudgett, president of Malibu Marketing Group (UPIC: MMG) and a member of the Millennial generation, believes in an overarching less-is-more strategy when it comes to picking promotional products. “Product selection is key. Even the most environmentally friendly product isn’t good for the environment if it ends up in a landfill,” she says. “Before I was brought in, one of my clients ordered 3,000 unfortunate-looking eco-friendly tote bags that no one wanted. They couldn’t get rid of them. That’s not eco-friendly. My job is to prevent wasteful spending. If I can help a client allocate dollars toward a better quality product that gets used for years to come, it’s good for their brand and their budget—and the environment.”

Here Mudgett shares the four eco-conscious questions she considers before picking any product for a client’s promotional needs.

1. Does the product meet the client’s marketing objectives?

2. Would I use this product? “My rule of thumb is that I never sell anything I wouldn’t use,” Mudgett says.

3. Is this a quality product that will be kept and used for years or will it end up in a landfill?

4. For mass-ordered items like trade-show giveaways, is the item manufactured from eco-friendly, sustainable or biodegradable materials, and what is its disposal plan?