A Guide For Eco-Friendly Gift-Giving

Choosing to integrate eco-friendly gifts into your corporate gifting strategy is a responsible choice that will foster positive relationships with clients and stakeholders. This also aligns your organization with current values and trends while making a valuable environmental impact. Small businesses and larger corporations alike are seeing the benefits of switching their day-to-day business to more sustainable living practices. This switch includes the rise of sustainable gift-giving at trade shows and during holidays.

Eco-friendly gift-giving is about finding the most sustainable way to show appreciation to customers and employees. Various facets of gift-giving can be more sustainable, from the gift itself to the wrapping and even corporate announcements. There are a few compelling reasons to opt for eco-friendly gifts and a good selection of offerings.

Reasons to Choose Eco-Friendly Gifts


Understanding the significance of what makes up sustainable presents and how this aligns with current corporate values and commitments is essential. Eco-friendly gifts are a marketing tool that communicates three crucial points about your organization:

  1. You value your client, stakeholder or employee and appreciate their association with your company.
  2. It offers a soft message that says your company is driven to reduce its environmental impact.
  3. A final soft message says you want to empower the recipient to do their part for the earth, too.

These sustainable gifts also allow businesses to be creative, searching for unique and practical gifts that the recipient will use daily. Almost 70% of consumers prefer to support companies that act on the promise to reduce their carbon emissions. Sending out eco-friendly gifts meets these expectations and poses the following benefits:

  • Environmental impact: Choosing eco-friendly gifts reduces the ecological impact of traditional corporate gifting practices like waste reduction while conserving valuable natural resources.
  • Brand reputation: Selecting sustainable gifts speaks volumes about a brand’s image. It quietly showcases a commitment to reducing the organization’s carbon footprint, which will retain clients, employees and stakeholders who are environmentally conscious.
  • Inspiring change: Corporate gifting can encourage recipients and competitors to adopt green initiatives, creating a ripple effect of positive change.
  • Corporate social responsibility: These gifts enhance corporate sustainability initiatives by allowing your organization to lighten its environmental influence.
  • Waste reduction: Gifts manufactured with longevity or sustainability in mind significantly reduce waste by encouraging the recipient to use the gift for an extended period.
  • Circular economy contribution: Sustainable gifting also promotes a circular economy, where materials are reused and repurposed to minimize the quantity of waste sent to landfills.

Types of Eco-Friendly Gifts

There is a wide range of sustainable gift options to explore, each matching various recipient preferences and organizational budgets. Gifts are considered sustainable if they are made from materials that are repurposed, recycled or eco-friendly. Locally sourced, organic materials or those made using a certified sustainable process, those that eliminate single-use plastics and products officially approved for meeting sustainable industry standards also fall under the umbrella term of eco-friendly gifts.

Sustainable Products

Sustainable products cause minimal environmental harm or have little to no contribution to the depletion of nonrenewable sources. Instead, these materials can include bio-based polymers made from renewable sources and recyclable elements. Selecting the right eco-friendly corporate gift depends on the target audience and available budget. While these gifts reflect your organization’s commitment to sustainability, it is essential to remember the recipient and how they will value your message and the gift itself. There are several sustainable products to consider for corporate gifting:

  • Water bottles: BPA-free reusable water bottles contribute to reducing single-use plastics while promoting sustainable hydration practices.
  • Tote bags: Made from jute, organic cotton or recycled materials, these bags can be used for work or shopping to eliminate the need for plastic bags.
  • Reusable straws: Available in bamboo, silicon and metal, these are easy to use on the go and make an excellent addition to reusable cups or tumblers.
  • Tumblers: Reusable tumblers, travel mugs and coffee cups can replace their single-use alternatives and are almost guaranteed daily use, adding to their value as marketing and appreciation gifts.
  • Notebooks: Recycled note pads accompanied by recycled pens offer practical day-to-day use.
  • Recycled apparel: Recycled or organic apparel like t-shirts, hoodies or hats are made sustainably and provide a practical application for the end user.
  • Zero-waste kits: While sustainable products on their own are great gifts, consider sourcing multiple pieces to create a zero-waste kit with reusable produce bags, straws and tumblers.
  • Virtual gifts: E-books, gift cards or online courses can be a sustainable option, as these produce no physical waste and will prove valuable to the recipient.

Renewable Energy Related Gifts


These gifts help strengthen green initiatives, promoting the use of renewable energy and discussions around more sustainable practices. Energy-related corporate gifts can include:

  • Solar-powered gadgets: Chargers, speakers or flashlights let recipients harness renewable energy for everyday use.
  • Energy-efficient options: LED lights and hydro-powered clocks can serve as conversation pieces about hydroelectric power.
  • Energy-smart devices: Smart plugs or light switches are a little out-of-the-box, but these gifts can stand out in the recipient’s mind while reducing their carbon footprint and energy consumption.

Experience-Based or Charitable Gifts

Another option is to steer clear of material gifts and say thank you with an experience. These gifts offer a break from traditional material items and can range from simple outings to adventurous endeavors. The following are all great options that the recipient will surely value:

  • Concert tickets: Theater or concert tickets or tickets to sporting events offer entertainment value, which the recipient may only indulge in sometimes.
  • A hands-on experience: A cooking or mixology class serves as a fun experience and lets the recipient spend quality time with colleagues or loved ones.
  • A spa treatment: A day of relaxation, pampering or other wellness treats can boost morale and help the recipient unwind from the daily grind.
  • A food experience: Restaurant gift certificates can offer a unique culinary experience and serve as a special indulgence for many recipients.
  • Charitable donations: These gifts support philanthropic efforts while expressing appreciation to the recipient. You can find a charity of the recipient’s choice, one related to making a local impact or global cause, or find out their interest and contribute to a charity that aligns with their values and interests.

Sustainable Packaging Choices

Packaging made from biodegradable or recycled materials like cardboard, paper or cotton has less environmental impact than plastic alternatives. Each year, about 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper made in the United States ends up in landfills. So, organizations and individuals alike must find ways to keep the magical moments of opening up a gift while acting in the environment’s best interest. Keep an eye out for products vetted by the Forest Stewardship Council or Cradle to Cradle-certified paper, bags or boxes, air pillows made from cornstarch or biodegradable packing peanuts, compostable or plant-based cellophane bags and twine or ribbon made from cotton or hemp. More creative ways to wrap eco-friendly corporate gifts include:

  • Gift within a gift: Reusable packaging serves a dual purpose. A tote bag or wooden box can be repurposed, which reduces waste.
  • Recycled materials: Packaging made from recycled materials reduces the demand for new resources while encouraging recycling.
  • Biodegradable and compostable material: This material breaks down naturally without harming the environment.
  • Eco-friendly packaging: Wooden or bamboo boxes add an elegant touch to gift wrapping while offering biodegradable and repurposing options.
  • Packaging techniques: Swap traditional tape for string or ribbons or use folding techniques like Furoshiki that do not require adhesives.
  • Eco-friendly tape: Made from renewable materials, eco-friendly tape has a lower environmental impact than traditional sticky tape.

Using sustainable packaging for corporate gifts is a responsible choice. It lets organizations reinforce their positive brand values by contributing to a more environmentally conscious business environment. This choice also reduces the demand for new resources, contributing to resource conservation and lowering production’s environmental impact.

Eco-Friendly Communication

In addition to adding eco-friendly labels, tape and more to corporate gifts, it is essential to create feedback loops that provide insight into the target audience’s preferences and values. This information helps to refine your sustainability communication. Additional strategies to boost eco-friendly communication in corporate gift-giving include:

  • Labels and tags: Use tags made from sustainable materials and eco-friendly printing processes. Add a short message to explain the sustainability of the gift or packaging and its impact to educate recipients about its eco-friendly attributes.
  • Seedpaper cards: Plantable packaging or cards contain seeds that can be planted to grow vegetables, flowers or herbs.
  • Promote recycling: Include recycling information or creative reuse ideas to encourage gift recipients to recycle or upcycle packaging and materials.

Ethical and Fair Trade Considerations


While thinking about how your company can help people boost their environmental stewardship, it is essential to consider how much recipients will value ethically sourced gifts. Organizations should be mindful of several important factors that help ensure their gifts align with responsible and socially conscious values:

  • Fair Trade Certifications: These Fair Trade Certifications help ensure artisans and producers receive fair compensation.
  • Reasonable labor practices: Opt for gifts produced by companies that adhere to these practices. Suppliers who provide fair wages, safe working conditions and labor rights to their employees.
  • Support local communities: Purchasing meaningful, fair trade gifts like chocolate, coffee or crafts that are locally sourced can have a positive economic outcome for these communities.
  • Sustainable materials: Companies should verify that their gifts and packaging are renewable or recycled.
  • Transparency: Choose suppliers that are transparent about their sourcing and ethical production practices.

Tips For Choosing and Customizing Eco-Friendly Gifts

Customizing gifts, especially for the holiday season, to align with your brand and audience preferences adds a personal touch that enhances the experience of receiving the gift as well as the impact of your sustainable gift options. Embroidery or engraved items, custom stationary, reusable products or gift boxes are all ways to add a final touch to gifts. Here are a few more:

  • Personalize gifts: Customize gifts or packaging with your company logo, the recipient’s name or a thoughtful message for a more significant impact.
  • Green delivery methods: It is essential to be mindful of the environmental impact of shipping. Choose green shipping options or hand-delivery for local recipients.
  • Understand the recipient: Gifts that resonate with the interests and values of the recipients ensure that the gifts are appreciated and more meaningful.
  • Minimal packaging: Simple, minimalist packaging reduces waste and exudes an eco-friendly aesthetic.
  • Multi-functional gifts: Add practicality to sustainability by offering gifts and packaging that serve multiple functions, like a water bottle survival kit or a wooden Bluetooth speaker with wireless charging capabilities.
  • Sustainable packaging printing: If you add some personalization to packaging, choose printing methods that use water- or soy-based inks with lower environmental impact.

Budgeting For Sustainable Corporate Gifts

Adequate budgeting ensures your sustainability efforts are both meaningful and financially feasible. There are various factors to consider as you plan for annual gift-giving initiatives, starting with cost planning:

  • Define sustainability priorities: Decide which aspects are most important to your organization and select gifts that align with these. This can include eco-friendly materials, reusable gifts or a focus on ethical production.
  • Set a budget: It is good practice to set aside $15 to $25 per holiday gift, whether these are going to clients, board members or employees.
  • Bulk purchases: This often creates room for cost savings. Speak to your service provider about the options available to your organization.
  • Quality over quantity: Take a look at the reviews of material items to establish quality and popularity with recipients. As the aim of corporate gifting is to communicate an appreciation for the recipient, you want to offer valuable items.
  • Offset costs and sustainability efforts: Justify additional costs by highlighting the environmental or social benefits of the gifts.
  • Keep track: Track and evaluate expenses against the impact and goodwill generated. Response tracking also lets you see what recipients value most, creating room for adjustment with the next corporate gifting venture.

Shop Sustainable Corporate Gifts With ePromos

When organizations choose sustainable corporate gifting practices, they send a message to clients, employees and stakeholders about care, responsibility and forward-thinking vision. These gifts have the power to foster goodwill, trust and a sense of social responsibility among recipients. You know that a gift is sustainably sourced when the materials used in manufacturing are renewable. Personalizing these gifts is easy when you partner with the right vendor.

ePromos is committed to partner with women- and minority-owned suppliers and those who support environmental charities and promote inclusivity. ePromos has various sustainable promotional items to suit your corporate gifting needs. We offer biodegradable, recyclable, organic items and products made with recycled materials. Shop your sustainable corporate gifts today and benefit from our user-friendly online ordering system. Alternatively, call us at 877-377-6667, and one of our expert brand consultants will help you find the perfect promotional gifts.


About Author

Devin Rubink

Devin R.

Reviewed by: Devin R. - SEO Specialist

Devin is an SEO wizard at ePromos as well as an aspiring game show contestant. He can typically be found with his family in the middle of a theme park or camping in the depths of the woods. Devin hopes his addiction to collecting Lego sets will one day fund his retirement.