The Definitive Guide to Sustainable Corporate Gifting


A collection of personalised sustainable gifts flying into a gift box

In the realm of business, forging strong relationships is often as essential as the products or services a company offers. Amidst the sea of emails, conference calls, and boardroom meetings, there lies a powerful tool that can leave a lasting impression and strengthen those connections: corporate gifting.

Far beyond a mere gesture, strategic and thoughtful corporate gifting has the potential to unlock doors, foster loyalty, and pave the way for fruitful collaborations.

There is a vast difference between the corporate gifting of today compared to that of yesteryear. Gone are the days of generic and thoughtless items, sent without any due thought to their usability or impact on the environment - the gesture in itself was already seen as job done !

In today's business landscape, however, sustainability has become a paramount concern for companies across industries. As organisations strive to reduce their ecological footprint and demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility, it is crucial to extend these principles to every aspect of business operations, including a company's gifting strategy.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into each step of incorporating sustainability into your overall Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals. We will explore environmentally friendly gifts, packaging options, partnering opportunities, and the importance of education and communication. So, join us on this transformative journey as we unlock the power of sustainable corporate gifts.


A group of business people around a table having a meeting.

The Growing Importance of Sustainability in Business Practices

The heightened awareness of environmental issues, such as climate change and resource depletion has pushed sustainability to the forefront of global agendas. There's hardly a day that goes by without the climate crisis being in the news in some shape or form.

Consumers, employees, and investors are increasingly demanding that businesses take responsibility for their environmental impact.

In addition, sustainability has become a key differentiator in the market. Companies that prioritise sustainable business practices not only attract environmentally conscious consumers but also gain a competitive advantage by demonstrating their long-term viability and commitment to ethical practices. According to Hubble HQ, 'more than three quarters (77%) of Brits have switched, avoided or boycotted brands because of their environmental policies'.

Moreover, regulations and government policies are increasingly focusing on sustainability, urging businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. This includes initiatives like carbon pricing and emissions reduction targets that incentivise companies to integrate sustainability into their operations.

Overall, the growing importance of sustainability in business practices reflects the need for companies to address environmental challenges, meet stakeholder expectations, stay ahead of regulations, and ensure long-term success in an increasingly conscious and interconnected world.


The Role of Corporate Gifting in Promoting Sustainable Values

Corporate gifting has the potential to be a crucial tool for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility and ethical practices. By selecting eco-friendly gifts, using sustainable packaging, and educating recipients, companies can send a powerful message about their values and contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.

Furthermore, prioritising eco-friendly corporate gifts showcases a commitment to reducing waste, supporting an equitable supply chain through fair-trade, and minimising environmental impact. It serves as a platform for education and awareness, empowering recipients to make informed choices and become advocates for positive change.

By incorporating sustainability into their gifting strategies, businesses can enhance their brand reputation, attract like-minded partners and customers, and lead by example in promoting a more sustainable business landscape.


An image showing a range of 14 ethical values that a company could use as a basis for selecting sustainable corporate gifts

The Benefits of Incorporating Sustainability Into Your Corporate Gifting Strategy

There are a plethora of benefits from incorporating sustainability into your corporate gifting strategy that go beyond mere environmental responsibility.

Enhancing brand reputation

In a world where consumers increasingly prioritise sustainable practices, aligning your gifting strategy with sustainability, can attract and retain eco-minded customers, strengthening brand loyalty and differentiation. In a recent survey carried out by Deloitte, it was found that the adoption of a sustainable lifestyle is on the rise with consumers increasingly likely to choose businesses with ethical or environmentally sustainable practices and values over those that don't. Moreover, sustainability in corporate gifting can generate positive word-of-mouth and create a competitive advantage in the market. 

Investing in meaningful corporate gifts that resonate with your clients, demonstrates your appreciation for their support and leaves a lasting impression, fostering loyalty, and staying top of mind.

Employee engagement and satisfaction.

Sustainable gifting demonstrates your commitment to shared values and fosters a sense of pride among employees. When employees see their organisation actively making eco-conscious choices, they are more likely to feel a stronger connection and loyalty toward the company. Sustainable gifting can also boost employee morale and motivation, as it aligns with their personal values and contributes to positive company culture.

Strategic partnerships and collaborations.

Many organisations actively seek out environmentally conscious business partners, suppliers, and clients. By incorporating sustainability into your gifting strategy, you position your company as an attractive collaborator, fostering relationships with like-minded entities that share your values. These partnerships can lead to new business opportunities, increased brand exposure, and access to a wider network of sustainability-focused organisations.

Direct positive impact on the environment.

By consciously choosing eco-friendly gifts and plastic-free packaging, you contribute to the reduction of waste and the conservation of natural resources. Each sustainable gift becomes an opportunity to educate recipients about the importance of sustainable living, inspiring them to adopt eco-conscious behaviours in their personal and professional lives.

Being an advocate for choosing a plastic-free lifestyle can have an enormous benefit in helping to protect ecosystems by breaking the cycle of pollution and preserving our natural surroundings.

In short, the collective effort of many businesses embracing sustainable gifting can drive larger-scale change and contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for all.


Key Principles and Pillars of Sustainable Gifting

The key principles and pillars of sustainable gifting are essential for businesses to follow in order to ensure their gifting practices align with environmental and social responsibility. These principles serve as a guide to making conscious and sustainable choices when selecting, giving, and receiving corporate gifts. Let's explore some of the key principles and pillars of sustainable gifting.

  1. Environmental Responsibility: Sustainable gifting prioritises the reduction of environmental impact. This principle involves selecting gifts made from eco-friendly materials, such as recycled or organic products, and minimising packaging waste. It also emphasises the use of renewable resources and the promotion of energy-efficient and sustainable production methods.

  2. Ethical Sourcing: Ethical sourcing focuses on ensuring that gifts are produced and obtained in a fair and responsible manner. This includes supporting fair-trade products that ensure workers are paid fair wages and work under safe and humane conditions. By choosing gifts sourced ethically, businesses promote social justice and contribute to the well-being of communities worldwide.

  3. Longevity and Durability: Sustainable gifting emphasises selecting gifts that are durable and have a long lifespan. By choosing high-quality, long-lasting gifts, businesses reduce the need for frequent replacements and minimise waste. This principle encourages the selection of items that can be used and enjoyed for an extended period, reducing the overall environmental impact.

  4. Cultural Sensitivity: Cultural sensitivity is a vital aspect of sustainable gifting. Businesses should consider the cultural backgrounds and values of their recipients when selecting gifts. This principle promotes the appreciation of diverse cultures, traditions, and customs, ensuring that gifts are respectful and meaningful to the recipients.

  5. Education and Awareness: Sustainable gifting involves educating both givers and recipients about the importance of sustainability. This pillar aims to raise awareness about the environmental and social impact of gift choices and inspire individuals to adopt more sustainable practices in their daily lives. Businesses can provide information and resources alongside gifts to promote sustainability and empower recipients to make informed choices.

By adhering to these principles and pillars, large and small business owners alike can embrace eco-friendly gifting practices and contribute to a more sustainable future. These principles guide businesses in making thoughtful and responsible choices, considering the environmental, social, and cultural aspects of their gifting strategies.

Ultimately, sustainable gifting aligns with the values of environmental responsibility, ethical sourcing, longevity, cultural sensitivity, and education, fostering positive change and promoting sustainability in the business world.


Assessing Your Current Gifting Strategy

To assess their current gifting strategy, companies should start by evaluating the environmental impact of their current practices. This can be done by examining the materials used in gifts, packaging, and promotional giveaways to identify any unsustainable components.

This could be easily integrated into a company's current supplier audit process which should already be assessing the sustainability of their supplierS and their commitment to eco-friendly practices in all aspects of their business.

Companies should also consider the carbon footprint associated with manufacturing, transportation, and disposal of these items making it a priority to give preference to local gift suppliers with the added benefit of contributing to the local economy.

Additionally, analysing the amount of downstream waste generated from gifting activities and the recycling or disposal methods employed can provide insights into the environmental impact. There are an increasing number of gift products on the market that integrate circularity into product design, which alongside take-back schemes are an effective way of ensuring minimal impact on the environment.

Through simple steps in evaluating the environmental footprint of their gifting practices, companies can go a long way to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions to transition towards more sustainable options.


The word 'goal' written in chalk

Setting Sustainable Gifting Goals

Setting sustainable gifting goals is essential for companies aiming to prioritise environmental responsibility and align their gifting practices with broader business objectives.

To establish these goals, companies should consider several practical steps.

Defining clear and measurable sustainability objectives

Companies should identify specific targets, such as reducing the use of non-recyclable materials, increasing the percentage of eco-friendly gifts or the purchases of gifts from local suppliers. Measurable goals provide a benchmark for progress and accountability.

Incorporating sustainable gifting goals into broader business goals

By aligning sustainability objectives with other business objectives, companies can demonstrate a holistic approach to sustainability and maximise the impact of their gifting initiatives. It ensures the integration into the overall company strategy.

Ensuring alignment with company values and culture

Sustainable gifting goals should reflect the core values and culture of the organisation and is a great way of reinforcing an organisation's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives. This fosters authenticity and engagement among employees and stakeholders, enhancing the effectiveness and long-term success of sustainability efforts.

By following these practical steps, companies can set meaningful and impactful sustainable gifting goals that drive positive change and align with their values and overall business strategy.


A selection of sustainably curated gift boxes

Sustainable Gift Selection

When it comes to selecting sustainable gifts for a corporate event, companies should approach it with careful consideration and practical steps. Researching sustainable gift options and suppliers is crucial in implementing a sustainable gifting strategy.

Supplier evaluation

As mentioned previously it is important to conduct some sort of supplier evaluation either through an introductory call or questionnaire to ensure suppliers are committed to sustainable and ethical practices.

Eco-friendly materials and production methods

Always opt for gifts that are produced using sustainable manufacturing processes and materials like sustainably sourced bamboo, organic cotton, plastic free or recycled plastics which can significantly reduce the environmental impact. Be particularly careful when buying promotional giveaways as many suppliers offer cheap poor quality products that are in the bin no sooner than they're off your exhibition table. Find out about our top tips for sustainable promotional giveaways that don't break the budget.

Prioritising gifts with a reduced carbon footprint and waste.

Companies should select items that are locally sourced, have minimal transportation requirements to minimise emissions or at least are part of an accredited carbon offset scheme.


Choosing gifts that carry the fair-trade label or are accredited to a similar scheme is a great way of ensuring the gifts you purchase have been made to ethical and sustainable trading practices.


Opt for gifts with minimal packaging or packaging made from recycled or biodegradable materials which helps reduce waste. At The Ethical Gift Box we source the majority of our packaging from DS Smith, a leading supplier of sustainable packaging solutions.

Sustainable gift ideas

The following is a list of sustainable gift ideas that we supply at The Ethical Gift Box that can inspire you for your next sustainable gifting project.

Sustainable Apparel - We work with two great suppliers of clothing who are leading the way in ethical garment production in an industry with a reputation for being one of the most polluting in the world. Neutral clothing is both organic and fair-trade, made in production facilities powered by renewable energy. Pure Waste on the other hand make their clothing from GRS-certified discarded cotton waste

Reusable Drinking Cups - make great eco-friendly corporate gifts and should feature in any company's gift guide. By personalising with your company logo in your brand colours you can create a lasting impact for years to come. From the B corp certified company Klean Kanteen to Circular & Co the world’s first reusable coffee cup made from recycled single-use paper cups we have a great choice of sustainable drinkware for your next gifting project.

Eco Friendly Stationery - We stock a wide range of ethically sourced stationery. Vent for Change protects the planet & supports children’s education projects worldwide through the sale of their quality stationery. Moyu stone paper notebooks offer a sustainable alternative to regular pulp paper saving valuable trees, water and Co2 emissions.

Promotional Gifts Sow Easy have a great collection of promotional giveaways ALL made from plantable seed paper including lanyards, coasters and seed paper badges. Or why not add your company logo to Fare's collection of sustainable umbrellas made with sustainable bamboo handles and a cover made of recycled plastics

Reusable Water Bottles & Flasks SIGG has been offering sustainable alternatives to disposable PET bottles for over 100 years. There My Planet range is ingeniously created from waste high voltage wiring and printing plates, and is designed to be recycled again after many years of use! Each Ocean Bottle sold funds the collection of 11.4 kg of ocean-bound plastic. They fund plastic collectors in impoverished regions to collect plastic before it enters our oceans.

By following these practical steps, companies can approach sustainable gift selection with a well-informed and eco-conscious mindset, making positive contributions to environmental sustainability while sending thoughtful and responsible gifts.


Sustainable corporate gift boxes with a selection of personalised stationery and lifestyle items

Customising and Personalising Sustainable Gifts

Customising and personalising eco-friendly corporate gifts provides an excellent opportunity for companies to effectively communicate their brand in a unique and memorable way.

By creating sustainable branded gifts e.g. for a corporate event, companies can create a lasting impression on recipients. Whether it's adding a logo, tagline, or custom design, these personal touches make the gift truly representative of the brand's identity.

When it comes to customising and personalising branded gift boxes, there are some important considerations for companies to keep in mind.

Incorporating branding and personal touches sustainably means choosing eco-friendly methods. Opt for sustainable printing techniques like water-based or vegetable-based inks where possible, and explore embroidery or engraving on eco-friendly materials. Our apparel printing supplier Get A Grip uses water-based inks for all their printing.

Utilising sustainable packaging and materials for customisation is key. Look for recycled or biodegradable packaging materials, eco-friendly ribbons, and reusable gift tags made from sustainable materials. This ensures that your customisation process aligns with sustainable practices and minimises waste.

Partnering with eco-conscious independent businesses and artisans can take your sustainable gifting to the next level. By doing so, you can add a personal touch to your promotional gift projects while supporting ethical and environmentally responsible craftsmanship.

By considering these points, companies can create customised and personalised sustainable gifts that showcase their brand, add a special touch, and contribute to a greener future.


Packaging and Presentation

There are important considerations that companies should keep in mind when choosing packaging and presentation for corporate gifts;

  1. Sustainable packaging alternatives should be prioritised. Look for options like recycled or biodegradable materials, such as cardboard or paper. Where practical have a zero-tolerance policy to plastic or non-recyclable materials that contribute to waste.

  2. Get creative with eco-friendly presentation ideas. Consider using reusable or recyclable gift boxes, fabric wraps, or eco-friendly ribbons. Explore natural and biodegradable materials like jute, twine, or dried flowers for a unique touch. Incorporate sustainable elements like seed paper tags that can be planted to grow plants.

  3. Reducing excessive packaging and waste is crucial. Choose packaging that is appropriately sized for the gift to minimise unnecessary materials. Opt for minimalist designs that still convey elegance and thoughtfulness. Encourage recipients to reuse or recycle packaging to extend its lifespan.

By considering these points, companies can choose packaging and presentation options that are both visually appealing and environmentally responsible, making a positive impact while leaving a lasting impression on recipients.


One Percent For The Planet logo

Partnering with Sustainable Organisations

Collaborating with eco-friendly nonprofits and charities gives companies the opportunity to align their gifting initiatives with organisations dedicated to environmental causes helping support their valuable work while also raising awareness and promoting sustainability.

Donating a portion of gifting budgets to environmental and social causes is a powerful way to give back. By allocating a portion of the budget to support initiatives such as reforestation projects, conservation efforts, or renewable energy programs, companies can make a tangible difference and demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability.

Engaging in meaningful corporate social responsibility initiatives goes beyond financial contributions. Companies can actively participate in volunteer programs, community clean-up events, or educational campaigns to raise awareness about sustainability. By involving employees in these initiatives, companies foster a sense of pride, purpose, and collective responsibility.


Educating Recipients on Sustainability

When it comes to educating recipients on sustainability, companies have an incredible opportunity to make a lasting impact. Here are some things that can be considered.

Including educational materials or messages with gifts

Consider including brochures, infographics, or small booklets with your gifts that highlight sustainable practices and initiatives which can be a thoughtful way to provide recipients with valuable information. These materials can educate recipients about the environmental impact of their choices and inspire them to make more sustainable decisions in their daily lives.

Raising awareness about sustainability practices and initiatives.

Companies can use their gifting platform to share stories and success stories of sustainability efforts, both within their organisation and in the broader community. This helps recipients understand the importance of sustainable practices and encourages them to support and engage in similar initiatives.

Encouraging recipients to adopt sustainable behaviours

As a powerful way to drive change, consider including practical tips and suggestions on how to reduce waste, conserve energy, or support ethical brands. By empowering recipients with actionable steps, companies can inspire them to make conscious choices that contribute to a greener future.

By educating recipients on sustainability, companies play a vital role in creating awareness, fostering a sense of responsibility, and inspiring positive change. Together, we can create a more sustainable world, one gift at a time.


Communicating Your Sustainable Gifting Strategy

When it comes to communicating your sustainable gifting strategy, it's important to spread the word and inspire others to join in your efforts.

  1. Sharing your sustainability journey with stakeholders is key. Engage with employees, clients, and partners by openly discussing your commitment to sustainable gifting. Share the steps you're taking, the progress you've made, and the challenges you've overcome. This transparent approach builds trust and encourages stakeholders to support your sustainable initiatives.

  2. Highlighting sustainable gifting initiatives in marketing and communications is a powerful way to create awareness. Incorporate your sustainability message into your website, social media platforms, and marketing materials. Showcasing your eco-friendly gift options, the positive impact you're making, and the values you uphold sends a strong message to your audience and differentiates your brand.

  3. Collaborating with like-minded businesses amplifies your impact. Partner with other companies that share your commitment to sustainability. This collaboration can involve joint campaigns, co-branded initiatives, or even cross-promotion. By working together, you can reach a wider audience and inspire collective action towards a more sustainable future.

By communicating your sustainable gifting strategy more widely, you can create a ripple effect of positive change. Inspire others, foster partnerships, and showcase your commitment to sustainability.


Evolving Your Sustainable Gifting Strategy

A company can continuously evolve and improve its sustainable gifting strategy by implementing several key practices.

Firstly, they should regularly monitor and assess their current practices, evaluating their environmental impact and identifying areas for improvement.

Secondly, staying informed about industry trends and innovations allows them to incorporate new sustainable technologies, materials, and practices into their strategy. This helps them stay ahead of the curve and make more sustainable choices.

Lastly, celebrating successes and sharing best practices can inspire others and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

By highlighting achievements, collaborating with industry peers, and participating in sustainability networks, companies can learn from others and drive innovation in their sustainable gifting approach.


In conclusion, corporate gifting is a powerful tool for building and strengthening business relationships. By incorporating sustainability into your corporate gifting strategy, you can make a positive impact on the environment, align with ethical values, and differentiate your brand in a competitive marketplace.

This ultimate guide has provided valuable insights and practical advice on various aspects of sustainable corporate gifting, including understanding its importance, differentiating sustainable gifts, setting goals, customising gifts, choosing packaging, partnering with sustainable organisations, and communicating your strategy.

By implementing these strategies and principles, businesses can not only create memorable experiences for recipients but also contribute to a greener and more socially responsible future. Remember, sustainable corporate gifting is not just about the gifts themselves, but also about the values and impact they represent.

So, let this guide be your roadmap to navigate the world of sustainable corporate gifting and make a positive difference in the world, one gift at a time. Together, we can create a greener and more conscious business landscape.

At The Ethical Gift Box, we are experts in sustainable gifting and are here to support you every step of the way. Our team is dedicated to curating eco-friendly and ethically sourced gifts that align with your values and leave a lasting impression. Whether you're looking for sustainable corporate gifts for clients, employees, or partners, we have a wide range of options to meet your needs.

Get in touch with us to arrange a meeting and discuss your sustainable gifting requirements. Our knowledgeable team will provide personalised guidance, helping you find the perfect sustainable gift solutions that reflect your brand and values. Together, we can create a positive impact while fostering meaningful connections.

So, don't wait any longer. Take the next step towards a more sustainable approach to corporate gifting. Contact The Ethical Gift Box today at +44(0)203 917 8693, e-mail us or visit our website to explore our range of sustainable gifts. Let's make a difference together


FAQs - The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Gifting

  1. Why is corporate gifting important for businesses? Corporate gifting plays a vital role in building and nurturing relationships with clients, employees, and partners. It demonstrates appreciation, fosters loyalty, and helps strengthen connections. By selecting thoughtful and purposeful gifts, businesses can leave a lasting impression and differentiate themselves from competitors.

  2. What is sustainable corporate gifting? Sustainable corporate gifting involves incorporating eco-friendly practices and products into the gift-giving process. It focuses on minimising environmental impact by selecting gifts made from sustainable materials, utilising eco-friendly packaging, and supporting fair-trade and ethically sourced products. Sustainable corporate gifting aligns with a company's commitment to environmental responsibility and social consciousness.

  3. How can I integrate sustainability into my corporate gifting strategy? To integrate sustainability into your corporate gifting strategy, you can:

  • Research sustainable gift options and suppliers that offer eco-friendly products.

  • Choose gifts made from recycled or renewable materials.

  • Prioritise gifts with reduced carbon footprint and minimal waste.

  • Use sustainable packaging materials and explore creative presentation ideas.

  • Collaborate with eco-conscious artisans and vendors who share your values.

  1. What are the benefits of incorporating sustainability into corporate gifting? Incorporating sustainability into corporate gifting brings several advantages. It enhances your brand reputation as an environmentally responsible organization, demonstrates your commitment to social and environmental values, and resonates with eco-conscious recipients. Sustainable gifting also aligns with evolving consumer preferences and helps contribute to a more sustainable future.

  2. How can I ensure my corporate gifting strategy aligns with my company values? To ensure alignment with your company values, it's essential to define clear sustainability objectives and integrate them into your broader business goals. Assess your company's values and culture, and select gifts that reflect those principles. Partner with like-minded organisations and engage in meaningful corporate social responsibility initiatives to reinforce your commitment to sustainable practices.

  3. How can I personalise sustainable gifts while incorporating branding? You can incorporate branding and personal touches sustainably by selecting customisable sustainable gifts. Explore options for engraving, embossing, or adding company logos with eco-friendly techniques. Consider including personalised messages or cards with each gift, creating a memorable and personalised experience for the recipient.

  4. What should I consider when choosing packaging for sustainable gifts? When choosing packaging for sustainable gifts, prioritise eco-friendly alternatives. Look for recycled, biodegradable, or compostable materials. Minimise excessive packaging and use packaging materials made from renewable resources. Opt for simple and elegant designs that align with your brand aesthetics while minimising environmental impact.

  5. How can I educate recipients on sustainability through corporate gifting? You can educate recipients on sustainability by including educational materials or messages with your gifts. Provide information about the sustainable aspects of the gift, its eco-friendly production methods, or the positive impact it has on the environment. Encourage recipients to adopt sustainable behaviours and offer tips for living a greener lifestyle.

  6. How can I communicate my sustainable gifting strategy to stakeholders? To communicate your sustainable gifting strategy, share your sustainability journey with stakeholders through various channels. Highlight your sustainable initiatives in marketing and communication materials, including your website, newsletters, and social media platforms. Collaborate with like-minded businesses and organisations to amplify the impact of your sustainable gifting efforts.

  7. How can I continuously evolve and improve my sustainable gifting strategy? Continuously monitor and adapt your sustainability practices by staying informed about industry trends and innovations. Regularly assess the environmental impact of your gifting practices and seek feedback from recipients and stakeholders. Celebrate successes and share best practices with your team and industry peers to inspire others and foster a culture of continuous improvement in sustainable gifting.


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