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Eco-Friendly Corporate Gift Ideas

Green, healthy and ethical corporate gift ideas

Feel like a do-gooder? Why not use your influence to make a small difference in the world with the products and services you choose? Here are a few corporate gift ideas to get you thinking of ways you can promote change and sustainability.

Go local. Yes, it might cost more to buy locally made corporate gifts and promotional items. But, the truth is, the environment that saves when you buy locally, since goods don't have to be shipped halfway around the world in oil-guzzling ships and vehicles. Plus, chances are, you'll find local producers more than willing to customize a program for you or try something new and unique. Scour events like art shows, craft markets and local galleries to get all the ideas you need.

Eat your bouquet. Why send flowers that will eventually get pitched, when your bouquet or centrepiece could double as a good source of dietary fibre?! Create your edible displays, or get inspired by the pros at Edible Arrangements.

Seed a greeting. You know you'll use a "grow" theme as some time or another to motivate a team, so why not plant a seed of opportunity? Use wildflower seed-infused paper for business cards, calendars, bottle tags, greeting cards and lots of other need-to-have promo products. A mother-daughter team from Winnipeg have dug out a niche for themselves among the seedy competition with their company Botanical Paperworks. The local angle is that this product is made in Canada by skilled papermakers from 100% recycled paper or cotton, using pure North American wildflower seeds.

Make a charitable gift. From tree seedlings to health and hygiene kits, a donation to a charity can help provide basic necessities to those who need it in the developing world – and is a perfect corporate gift idea for someone who probably already has too much swag. If your organization doesn't already have a favourite charity, find a non-profit organization that matches your philosophy by browsing the "NPO" tab at Canada's CharityVillage.com.

Buy fair trade products. Make a difference in the world and support the livelihood of developing world farmers and workers. TransFair Canada is Canada's only non-profit certification and education organization promoting Fair Trade. Its logo guarantees your product arrives here through a supply chain built on fairness, transparency and accountability. Products available in Canada include cocoa, coffee, flowers, sports balls, and wine. Manufactured products include chocolate bars, cosmetics and cotton clothing - Canadians buy about $120 million dollars worth of Fair Trade products each year. The Fair Trade Certification system now benefits more than 1.4 million producers in 59 developing countries.

Use recycled stuff. There are more options than ever to choose from when it comes buying to paper products that use recycled material and environmental printing processes. And recycled need not be dull, scratchy or boring. Just check out the bright colourful designs of the Canadian ecojot line that uses 100% recycled paper. Your old bills, paperwork and yesterday's news never looked so good!

Keep Earth in Business. That's the slogan of 1% for the Planet, a worldwide association of businesses that donate 1% of their annual revenues to environmental causes - they've given more than $30 million to date. They hope it's an incentive for you to do business with them for products and services. With about 100 members in Canada, from Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Coop, to the family-run Island Abbey Foods in Prince Edward Island, these companies aim to fund small non-profit initiatives that aim to preserve and protect the environment.

Spread the word. You don't have to grab headlines to change the world. But why not give a gift of empowerment? The Green Living Guide published by Greenpeace Canada aims to show every one of us ways to be an "everyday activist," in all the little things that can add up to a better environment. Get a preview on the Greenpeace website with these tips to be greener at work.

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