Marketing giveaways contribute to unnecessary pollution - what are the options?

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Marketing giveaways are a great way to increase customer awareness and retention. Branded presents are an especially popular gift chosen by many companies to make their customers happy and loyal. However, after recently being inundated with unsustainable marketing giveaways given to us by companies and businesses, we strongly believe that there needs to be a shift how marketing is done in a more eco-friendly way, especially when it comes to corporate gifting. The tip of the iceberg was the many "plastic" toys and gadgets offered to our children at restaurants and other places of leisure during a short break at the sea side last week. Not only did these look flimsy and easy to break, but they also increase our plastic waste considerably. WRAP, a registered charity which works with businesses, individuals and communities to achieve a circular economy through helping them reduce waste, estimates the annual plastic waste in the UK at a staggering 5 million tonnes already. So, wouldn't it be nice to avoid any contribution this in the form of unnecessary giveaways?

Here are some suggestions how small and even large companies can reduce the impact of unsustainable giveaways and to be more socially and environmentally responsible companies:

1) Triple bottom line ( People - Planet - Profit); change the way you measure your business/marketing success - the principles of triple bottom line (TBL) require you to not only look at a company's profits or net income but also to include social and environmental issues to measure the total cost of doing business. According to Investopedia "in addition to the economic bottom line, the social and environmental areas in making investing and business decisions" are crucial as well. Consumers nowadays are becoming more aware of social and environmental practices of a company, and want more transparency in the way it operates - for example, that its employees are not exploited. The same applies for the marketing strategy.

2) Implement a sustainbale marketing strategy which works as well in the long run  - Until now the following concepts have been essential to a successful marketing strategy: 1) production concept 2) product 3) selling concept 4) marketing concept 5) societal marketing concept. However, marketing has evolved in the recent years and sustainability has become indispensable as it has shifted from meeting intra-personal and inter-personal needs towards meeting the needs of future generations. Sustainability can indeed be a competitive advantage as it has become a requirement which takes the long-term strategy of a company into account. Marketing teams should ask themselves if they really need marketing giveaways in the first place or if they can at least decrease the amounts used, or if they can find other sustainable solutions to please their target markets.

3) Sustainable marketing giveaways do already exist - If a company decides that it can't omit giveaways in its advertising, it can turn to companies that already offer eco-friendly promotional articles. Here are some suggestions: 1) 2) 3)

For more information on consumers' willingness to pay more for sustainable products:

For more information on the triple bottom line:

For more information on sustainable marketing: