Eco- friendly Gift Ideas for Corporates

Thursday, November 19, 2015

<p>Corporate gifts can help to convey your company’s commitments to sustainability, social investment and environmental conservation. (Image Source: Copyright - serezniy / 123RF Stock Photo)</p>

Corporate gifts can help to convey your company’s commitments to sustainability, social investment and environmental conservation. (Image Source: Copyright - serezniy / 123RF Stock Photo)

The end of the year is customarily coupled with the traditional exchange of gifts between colleagues, clients and service providers, as a token of appreciation and good wishes for the festive season and upcoming new year. While gifts are an excellent way to show appreciation, they are also an extension of the company’s brand and can therefore be used to reinforce the organisation’s values with its stakeholders.

This article presents a list of gift ideas which will convey your company’s commitments to sustainability, social investment and environmental conservation. Gift ideas include locally crafted items produced from recycled material; upcycled items; and, supporting environmental, wildlife conservation and other sustainability initiatives.

Supporting locally handmade products

  • E’yakho Green and Made At Home Handicrafts both have a number of local products made from reclaimed PVC banners and billboards. Their products include folders, backpacks, cooler-bags and mouse-pads. 
  • Iphepha Beads has a wide range of beaded jewellery, Christmas decorations and bookmarks made from waste paper and cardboard, shells, glass and wood.
  • Umcebo design produces art pieces such as chandeliers and lampstands from beads, reused waste and scrap metal.
  • Inandi Crafts produces original handcrafted beaded jewellery using African semi-precious gemstones, glass, wood and clay from local rivers.
  • The Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust employs local crafters who produce a variety of beadwork crafts such as Christmas decorations, necklaces and tableware.
  • Novel Gifts is a South African company which sells various corporate gifts mostly produced locally from recycled and upcycled components.

Reusable products

Companies can also purchase locally made reusable coffee travel mugs or water bottles with the company’s branding on them to give as gifts. This will aid in reducing waste and decreasing the number of disposable coffee cups and water bottles which end up in landfill sites.

Supporting food security

Organisations can sponsor food gardens and planting of indigenous trees on behalf of their stakeholders to benefit disadvantaged communities through the Food & Trees for Africa initiative. In exchange the gift recipient will receive a certificate from Food & Trees for Africa in their name. Organisations can also donate food to Foodbank SA, a non-profit organisation which collects and distributes surplus edible food to verified Non-Profit Organisations in South Africa.

Supporting local charities

Organisations can support a local children’s home, school or old age home by donating money on behalf of stakeholders or purchasing items that the facility needs, such as food, stationery or uniforms. The stakeholder can then be provided with a card from recipients.

Supporting sustainable living

There are various eco-friendly products which can be given as corporate gifts, such as:

  • Water saving low flow shower heads which reduce the amount of water used when showering, saving both water and electricity.  These shower heads use around 10 litres of water per minute, whilst standard showerheads use between 20 - 50 litres per minute.
  • Portable and robust solar panel chargers specifically designed for fieldworkers, with micro USB outputs that can be used to charge smartphones, MP3 players, and GPS systems.
  • Solar Panel home kits which can provide enough light for comfortable reading and other day to day activities in an un-electrified household, including low cost mobile phone charging. These kits can provide up to 40 hours of light.

Supporting conservation

  • Endangered Wildlife Trust sells a range of Cheetah, Wild Dog, Dugong and Rhino Bracelets to raise awareness and support their initiatives which strive to protect these endangered species.
  • Rhino Force sells locally made bracelet and mugs to raise awareness and pay a portion of proceeds to rhino conservation efforts, as well as to support local employment.
  • GreenPop sells handmade Tree Rings, each represents an indigenous tree that they will plant in an under-greened community or as part of a reforestation project on the company’s behalf.
  • Donations can be made to support a number of environmental organisations such as Greenpeace Africa, WESSA, Wildlands Conservation Trust and WWF-South Africa.

Organising a tour for stakeholders

Another idea would be to take stakeholders on a tour of an organisation or initiative that promotes sustainability. In Durban the “Markets of Warwick” tour provides the opportunity for individuals to support local informal traders at Warwick Junction and to better understand the contribution of traders to the informal economy.

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