In 2022, the promotional products industry rebounded from many of the challenges and hardships brought by the pandemic and found new opportunities and success. PPAI Media is looking back on the year’s most impactful news and trends in a four-part series on the stories that shaped the industry over the past 12 months.

In the series’ third entry, we share articles and features that document how sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and diversity, equity and inclusion philosophies and programs have been adopted by promo businesses and the Association.

Click through to this year’s top digital transformation articles.

Polyconcept Launching Unique CSR Platform For Distributors

In April, supplier Polyconcept launched ProudPath, an online platform designed to help distributors navigate the possibilities and expectations of social and environmental responsibilities.

  • With an assortment of hundreds of products and sales tools to educate and share ideas, ProudPath aims to equip distributors to establish themselves as socially and environmentally responsible leaders in the promotional products marketplace.
  • Companies across the industry are working with partners and brands who give back to their communities, who make clear their stances on social and environmental responsibility or have a diverse ownership team, and who want to make sure the products they are putting out in the world are eco-friendly and sustainable. If companies didn’t already want these things, they are waking up to the fact that it is what their customer-base expects from them.

How Inflation Is Affecting Sustainability Expectations

As buyers become strained by rising prices, will sustainability remain a growing priority? A new report – the U.S. Sustainability Consumer Dilemma Report – shows the ways sustainability efforts are affected by consumer spending cuts.

  • One finding of the report is that the sustainable actions that have seen the most growth are linked to reusing items as it is practical for consumers during a difficult economic period because it avoids repeat buying.
  • More than a fifth of consumers, led by younger generations, feel that brands have the most responsibility in supporting sustainable initiatives.
  • Industry experts PPAI Media spoke with noted that while inflationary pressures could move sustainability-related endeavors from the front burner for a lot of companies, especially small businesses, many end buyers seem to be holding focus on sustainability.

Eye On Apparel: Sustainability Or Bust

Going green with garments is necessary to keep your business out of the red. But what does that mean on a practical level?

  • Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns includes substantially reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. Industry observers note that the promo apparel market is uniquely suited to adopt a circular model of production, usage and recycling.
  • Cleaning up production operations in the supply chain make a big difference. The more garment suppliers and distributors expect their business partners to participate in sustainable initiatives, the easier, less expensive and more accessible these processes will become.
  • To do sustainability right, companies need to recognize consumer demand, incorporate sustainable initiatives throughout their operations and earn customers’ confidence through transparency and traceability.

What The Death Of Single-Use Plastics Means For Promotional Products

Public sentiment has been progressively turning against single-use plastics, year-over-year, and earlier this year, an Ipsos Group S.A. poll found that 75% of the world’s population wants them banned as soon as possible.

  • This shift represents a potential opportunity for the promotional products industry, which offers a wide range of reusable goods that accommodate shifting consumer preferences.
  • There is a growing willingness among clients to opt for reusable products. Also, industry companies are changing how they position themselves, with several pursuing B Corporation certification in recent years.

Why Promo Pros Should Explore Upcycling

Deadstock is a universal industry challenge. However, recycling may not be the solution. With upcycling, promo pros can design unique and creative new products from existing materials that have greater appeal to today’s eco-minded consumers.

  • Upcycling can be a valuable addition to existing sustainability practices. Upcycling represents the process by which “old” products get a second life as a “new” product. Upcycling is about expanding the product lifecycle by re-adapting and/or re-purposing materials or items in a creative way.
  • By transforming deadstock, promo suppliers can design unique and creative new products from existing materials that have greater appeal to today’s eco-minded consumers.
  • With upcycling, promo pros and their clients can get more out of their products

More Trending CSR Articles From 2022

Recycled Plastic Bottles Are Taking Over Fashion

Black Americans Have Mixed Feelings About Black History Promo

How Black Promo Pros Are Creating Space For Themselves And The Next Generation

Word Play: Are You Guilty Of Greenwashing?

How Koozie Group’s Employees Led The Formation Of Its CSR Campaign