IT'S NOT THAT EASY BEING GREEN
When asked if there was an edict of some kind from the board to PPAI members regarding environmental preservation, Kiewiet said there wasn’t and jovially explained, “This has been totally viral; totally organic, no pun intended.” However, he noted at this year’s Expo, PPAI unveiled its “Guide to Managing Responsibility for Product Safety, Social and Environmental Standards in the Promotional Products Industry.” The 50-page handbook provides suppliers and distributors with the necessary tools for charting the course of bringing environmentally responsible products to end-buyers.
THE RIGHT LOOK FOR THE RIGHT PRICE
When eco-friendly products first came on the scene, the items were generally more expensive and less attractive than their traditional counterparts. However, this is changing. Keely said his company’s Nature-Ad Beverageware sells for about 10 percent less than the identical item made from traditional plastic. “Now, we have developed products that look great and the buyer doesn’t have to pay a premium,” he said. “With this combination, we feel the trend toward our green products has sustainability for the long term.”
In most instances, however, Lederer said price points are generally higher on items that have less of an impact on the environment. “We’ve found items are more expensive when you use organic cotton versus real cotton—it’s 50 percent more expensive,” he admitted.
THE GREEN LAND
Kiewiet was careful not to call what’s taking place a trend, opting instead for “paradigm shift.” Keely, however, expressed more reserve. “I think time will tell which suppliers are in this for the long-haul and which are scrambling to put eco-friendly products in their line because they see everyone else doing it,” he said.
When asked what going green means for the industry going forward, Keely offered this insight: “As eco-conscious Generation Y begins to assume higher-level corporate positions, this movement will continue to become a very viable product category for distributors and suppliers,” he said.