What if your corporate gifts served your CSR strategy for Christmas?

Corporate gifts are a great classic for the end-of-year holiday season. They aim to thank customers, partners, and employees. They are also part of a communication strategy that aims to transmit the business’ values and maintain a unique link with its stakeholders. For this reason, but also for reasons related to “compliance” issues, corporate Christmas gifts have tended to change in nature to be more and more “virtuous” with the lowest possible environmental impact. According to ADEME (Agency for Ecological Transition), if 77% of French people would like to receive more gifts from companies, 85% believe that the ecological criterion is essential in an object given from them. Therefore, it is also a perfect opportunity to share the commitments and CSR initiatives implemented within the company. Indeed, as companies are more and more concerned by climate issues, Christmas actions, in a world still bruised by the consequences of the COVID-19, are multiplying. It goes through the distribution of responsible gifts or the implementation of initiatives with impact.

Corporate gift ideas become sustainable

The first step for companies towards an eco-responsible approach is the purchase of organic and local accessories. It highlights the company’s involvement in the planet and thus carries an emotional value much more important than a simple use-value. There are many solutions to offset the collective negative impact, such as: 

Multi-use water bottles. Every year, a French person throws away an average of 3kg of plastic cups, and in the world, every day 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away. Most of them are not recycled. To mitigate this ecological disaster, brands such as Gobilab create Made in France products, respectful of the environment, and customize them to the colors of their clients. 

Reusable tote bags. Between 500 million and 1 billion plastic bags are used every year in the world. Most of them end up in the seas and oceans and pollute our ecosystems. Although the law is becoming more and more rigid on the single-use of plastic, their use is still too important. Bilum, a pioneer in upcycling Made in France, offers a wide selection of bags and pouches made from recycled tarps, life jackets, airbags, flags, and other materials. 

Biodegradable greeting cards. Every year more than 70 million greeting cards are sold in France. Most of them are thrown away as soon as they are received. Gifts for Change offers “cards to germinate” to give them a second life. Indeed, these cards are sown and made from vegetable and biodegradable paper. Once put in the ground, a melliferous flower or an aromatic herb sprouts. 

Other ideas. We are witnessing a great return of the “handmade” and the Do It Yourself objects. In addition, other gifts are becoming quite famous such as the office vegetable gardens, plants or gardening accessories, organic paper book, local cultural experience, zero waste kitchen accessories, organic and made in France gourmet baskets, etc. 

Why not offer impact?

Some companies are launching initiatives that go beyond the distribution of gifts. They no longer wish to offer “physical” gifts but promote generosity by triggering a positive impact.

Vinci provides containers decorated with Christmas colors near the stations and tolls of Toulouse, Bayonne, and Orleans to encourage motorists to drop off toys, new or used, before the holidays. The company then gives the toys to charities that will distribute them to families in need. When we see the increase in toy prices this year, we can only agree with such an initiative.

In 2019, Cojean, a healthy restaurant, launched an operation Winter sock or “a soup for socks”. For each soup purchased, the restaurant bought socks through its foundation for people taken in by the Samu social de Paris. On this occasion, more than 20,000 socks were collected.

In 2021, daphni, a Parisian venture capital fund, launched a Christmas operation with NooS. The company made available an amount for donations and allowed its employees, customers, and partners to choose among three associations (Wake Up CaféUSE IT AGAIN, and Chams) through which the amount was distributed. Thanks to this, daphni and its stakeholders generated a positive impact by funding 2322 hours of circular economy awareness training in France and 4643 hours of computer training to refugees in Jordan and giving 169 prisoners access to employability workshops for one year in France. It appears as a great option to involve business’ stakeholders in their CSR initiatives.

Photography credit – Cover: Toni Cuenca via Unsplash