Safety and sustainability will continue to grow in importance when considering promotional product options, and an argument can be made that these issues should carry as much significance for the buyers as the merchandise budget. Promotional product vendor partners have an obligation to proactively address the issues of safety and compliance before presenting product options for client consideration – and at the same time should continue to promote products and practices that support environmental stewardship.
To help with the issue of product safety, the promotional products industry can look to the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), “… an independent, accreditation organization whose mission is to elevate the standards by which industry firms that import and/or manufacture promotional products provide consistently safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise.” Recalls and product safety issues could damage the brand image, and worse, potentially harm the recipient. Knowing and supporting the product suppliers that comply with established safety standards is a best practice that will protect both the company brand and the customer.
Regarding the growing demand for more earth-friendly products, there are many ways for the promotional product vendor, and corporate customer, to do more while maintaining its focus on strengthening the brand identity. Reducing energy consumption and recycling paper in the office are always a good place to start. But it’s not difficult to go further by using branded products made from recycled materials, requesting biodegradable eco-friendly packaging materials, and finding printers that use water and soy based inks for screenprinting. In some cases, the cost may be a bit higher, but the long-term gains in a healthier planet, as well as the appreciation from the educated, eco-conscious consumer, will pay dividends that may not have been considered.
Safety and sustainability are easy issues to support during a casual conversation or in a well-drafted mission statement. But as more consumers begin to question the impact of corporate give-aways on their planet and in their homes, it may be time to incorporate that discussion during the next meeting with your promotional products provider.