Unwrapping the World of Ethical Corporate Gifts
Guest Post by Sustainable Jungle
2021...the year of appreciating employees. At least we hope so!
After the trials of 2020 and 2021, it’s more important than ever for employers to show how much they value and respect their employees. Those that truly deserve a little extra.
Corporate gifts can be a fabulous way to do just that, but rather than gift some cheap company monogrammed pen, companies should think about the impact of their gifts beyond the employee's first impression.
By that, we mean both the social and environmental impact.
- Why Give an Ethical Corporate Gift?
The most thoughtful gifts are those “that keep on giving”.
Giving sustainable and ethical gifts shows you care—and not just about your employees but about fair labor values that affect them and the world at large.
We live in an era where true corporate responsibility is an expectation. Just as more people want to buy from and support businesses that operate a triple bottom line (people, planet, THEN profit), more people want to work for those same companies, too.
For better or worse, our jobs are a huge part of our identity, so it’s no wonder that people are migrating toward more mindful employment.
A few simple holiday gifts may not seem like they could make a difference, but consider the US corporate gifting industry is expected to reach $242 billion this year. That’s a lot of billions that could go toward maintaining our plastic-saturated world...or go toward changing it.
The benefits of sustainable corporate gifts are numerous, but one of the biggest is simply that it’s a small but meaningful step toward making your company one that people are proud to work for.
- What Does It Mean to Give an Ethical Corporate Gift?
Start with the gift itself and what it’s made out of (or rather, what it isn’t made of).
Ideally, you’re looking for things made of sustainable fabrics, which is to say, NOT PLASTIC (unless it’s recycled).
Organic cotton is one of the most earth-friendly materials available and thus the products from Terra Thread and their sister company Terra Thread Home are a good starting place for your corporate gift search.
Choose between laptop sleeves, backpacks, duffel bags, and more all made with 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton and little to no chemical inputs.
While any one of these gifts is practical and likely to be used for years to come, you can rest easy knowing that if they do ever wear out at the end of their life, they are fully compostable.
Be sure to also look for quality products that will last your employees a lifetime, rather than a chintzy mug or corporate branded t-shirt.
- Unwrapping Beyond the Gift Itself
Finding an ethical corporate gift means more than avoiding plastic and wrapping it in zero waste gift wrapping.
Buying a sustainably made product is one beast, but ensuring it’s also made in an overall ethical way is an entirely different one.
Just like slow fashion demands we ask #WhoMadeMyClothes, we should be asking who made that gift we’re eyeing, whether it’s a sustainable backpack from Terra Thread or something as simple as a sustainable candle.
It’s easy for a company to make a decent sustainable product while still practicing environmentally-damaging or unethical practices. Greenwashing is rife and it has been around for years.
Transparency is key for any brand, but if you’re finding their supply chain details a little lacking, you can also look for the badge of third-party certifiers who have done that digging for you. These include Certified B Corp, WRAP, Carbon Neutral certified (meaning a brand uses carbon offset programs to negate their overall operations), and any one of the many fair trade certifications.
For instance, Terra Thread’s cotton is certified by Fairtrade International while their factories are also certified, but by Fair Trade USA. They’re also Certified B Corp and certified Carbon Neutral, ticking all the right boxes for an all-around ethical company.
And they’re not the only ones!
The market offers more eco friendly gifts and fair trade gifts than ever so there’s really no excuse to opt for unethical options instead.
- Other Things to Consider When Choosing an Ethical Gift
Keep an eye out for brands that give back.
That way, you’re not only sharing the love in your own organization, but that same gift is also going toward a greater cause, just as each Terra Thread bag helps support Feeding America’s campaign to end hunger.
Make your employees feel extra special by including a card about which environmental or social cause benefited from buying that gift.
The last consideration to thoughtful corporate gift giving is to personalize it. While larger corporations may not have the capacity to include this detail, smaller companies should certainly consider the differences in their team when picking out gifts.
Do you have a team member who’s vegan?
Narrow your search to gifts for vegans. A vegan handbag, like Terra Thread’s organic cotton tote bag, is a functional and fashionable way to say, “I see you and I respect your values!”.
Likewise, if you know one of your employees is trying to reduce their overall waste, a zero waste gift shows just that much more appreciation for who they are.
Final Thoughts on Ethical Corporate Gifts
Giving back to your employees goes a long way to creating a sense of appreciation.
And even more so if the giving itself is considered rather than just a routine gesture. Putting thought into it and how that gift impacts the world around you really shows you care.
After all, gift-giving can give to more people than just the name on the card.