The Role of Promotional Products in Sustainability Strategies

On average, a (traditional) promotional product has a lifespan of six months before being thrown in the trash. That’s a very short time considering the financial investment and environmental impacts necessary for its production. There are ways you can be strategic about choosing promotional products, so that they function to help your company reach its sustainability goals and build your brand as a responsible business leader.


You have the power to be a precursor

More and more, companies are working toward becoming leaders in social and environmental innovation. If your company hopes to achieve some form of sustainability objective, your investments speak the first – and loudest – about your priorities. Your practices prove your values, so it’s important to be intentional about all your investments, including your promotional products. In choosing to invest in a locally made product, one using responsible materials or designed by a local artist, you are leaving a lasting impact on the environment, the economy and your community.Every dollar invested is important, and speaks volumes. By being intentional about all your business practices in an effort to strengthen sustainability, you are not only leaving a positive impact on your environment and brand; you are being a precursor sustainable business practices. Choose wisely, and your promotional product can function to positively affect more than your branding.

What kind of suppliers do you hope to choose? What types of products do you hope to distribute? Where do you want to position yourself?

The quick and easy choices aren’t necessarily those that will enable you to transform the way your business impacts society. On the edge of innovation, be visionaries – your ideas will be contagious!


Your clients are becoming responsible consumers – follow the path to sustainability with them!

In Quebec, more than 13 millions tonnes of waste (the equivalent of more than 500 000 large trucks) are generated every year. Almost half is sent to landfill or incinerated.With this in mind, we can easily understand that low quality promotional products, barely reusable or recyclable, contribute to the already steep volumes of waste we, as citizens, end up paying for.

As a company, you have the power and responsibility to make sustainable, useful investments. We can no longer afford waste, in every sense of the word, be it financial or environmental. Choosing responsible products, made from post-consumer, post-industrial or recyclable materials is an easy first step towards a transformation that positions you as an innovative sustainability leader.

You have the opportunity to build an ecosystem around you that is mutually beneficial for all parties. By valuing what your responsible consumers value, you’re building a relationship of trust between them and your brand. By carefully choosing a supplier that is as mindful of sustainability as your company (more on that here), you’re establishing a sustainable, long-lasting business relationship. Finally, by being intentional about all your investments – including your promotional products – you’re positioning yourself as an innovative leader,  proactive in finding creative ways to meet sustainability goals.


Privilege quality over quantity

Plastic goodies and gadgets, false publicities, forgettable products… consumers have had enough of them.

Want to leave a mark on your audience and make them remember your brand? Then make your consumers your primary ambassador. Instead of distributing 800 USB keys at your next conference, often hoarded by participants who will forget the event – and your company – as soon as they drop the USB in their bottom desk drawer, why not offer an object of quality? A local object, creatively designed, responsibly-made, that has inherent value and behind which real humans tell the story of how the product was made in accordance to their values, and your company’s.

By distributing less items but concentrating on their value, their message and story, you’re speaking to your audience. A client that receives a cotton bulk bag to help them ease into the beginnings of a zero-waste lifestyle, or an intern that receives a small cactus in a concrete pot to welcome them into a new company, or even an employee that can use an erasable mini whiteboard at his desk every day will be more attracted to and convinced by your company mission in comparison to the 800 individuals that have picked up – and lost – your USB key.

Your values are found in and expressed through your promotional product. Your audience will be on board with your vision if it is clear and is immediately transmitted through your chosen object. Unique design is no longer inaccessible! Additionally, many companies work today in an effort to prove that shopping local and responsible is more effective, useful and is a source of richness compared to low quality products imported from overseas. Investing in a responsible promotional product means acquiring sustainable business practices and transmitting this perspective and way of doing business to all involved in your business’ ecosystem.


The main aspects to remember are well summed up by a guide put together by Equiterre on responsible promotional products:

  • meet the expectations of your consumers by offering promotional products with a lot of added value, for them, the company and society as a whole
  • incorporate sustainable, creative design in distributed items in order to grow their usage and extend their lifespan
  • understand that consumers’ purchasing power has given a signal to the industry, expecting environmentally-friendly options
  • accompany suppliers to help steer them towards sustainable products by favouring environmental certifications or by choosing suppliers that able to incorporate elements of sustainability into their production process


Don’t hesitate to contact us and we will accompany you on your sustainability journey, helping you achieve your goals through the effective promotional product!


Ready to develop your idea and join a community of Ecoleaders, precursors in sustainable business? Get inspired and contact us!