Green Giving for Small Businesses

by Marcos Cordero on December 22, 2011
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The end of the year is approaching, and you’re in need of some last-minute gifts for vendors, clients, or staff. Consider green giving. Sustainable gifts help you demonstrate your company’s commitment to environmentally sound practices — and lead by example. They also provide opportunities to market your business while making a difference.

When searching for sustainable gifts, consider these pointers from the Green Business Bureau.

  • Consider a product’s durability before buying. Long-lasting items help to prevent unnecessary waste. Beyond that, check product labels to determine whether an item is made from recycled components. Buying recycled helps to build the market for recycled materials and encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available. Find out whether a product can be recycled at the end of its life cycle, too, which will help to close the manufacturing loop and minimize waste.
  • Avoid gifts that may contain toxic ingredients, such as linings or veneers made with lead or BPA, which can pose health and safety risks. Similarly, avoid products that can release volatile organic compounds (like vinyl-based goods), which can aggravate allergies and other respiratory ailments. When in doubt, consult the Household Products Database to determine the safety of specific products or ingredients.
  • Choose gifts that help recipients reduce their holiday waste footprint and encourage sustainability throughout the year. (Americans’ waste stream increases by 25 percent over the holiday season.) Gift baskets with toxic-free items like organic foods put a green twist on traditional offerings. Customized gifts, such as reusable water bottles, serve an eco-friendly purpose and can also be branded with your company name or logo.
  • Go with low- or no-waste gifts. Items like event tickets or gift certificates can help to minimize or eliminate packaging waste. Or make a charitable donation on behalf of your client or vendor. Whether you give to an international organization, such as Heifer International or the Environmental Defense Fund, or a local cause, donations can have a positive impact on the environment and society. Check out the Better Business Bureau’s Charity Reviews for more information about charities working on the issues that are important to you and your partners.

Whatever gifts you choose, paying attention to sustainability can help to promote your business among existing clients and vendors.

Have you already sent out a green gift to your accounts? Do you have other eco-friendly gifting ideas? Share your ideas in the Comments section below!

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