Sustainability is good for the environment. But did you know it can also be good for your business? Sustainable promotional products are a great way to entice the modern consumer, and their return on investment is only set to increase over time. Welcome to the world of eco marketing.

The Green Generation(s)

According to a study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), 58% of adults aged 18-24 are more likely to have a favorable opinion of a company with sustainable promotional products. And this demographic is closely followed by the 25-34 year old age group which has 57% favorability. The group with the lowest favorability towards sustainable promotional products is the 65+ group with only 36% favorability.

What this tells us is that, while eco marketing solutions are popular right now, they will become even more popular in the future. Millennials, also known as the “Green Generation,” currently have the most purchasing power of any generation. However, Generation Z is set to eclipse the Millenials within the next few years, and they’re even more eco-friendly.

Millennials grew up hearing about how humans were going to negatively impact the environment, but Gen Zers are growing up seeing this negative impact in action.

Eco Marketing Following Sustainable Laws

branded reusable tote bag

So how exactly do you pick a promotional product that eco-friendly Millennials and Gen Zers will want to own? There are two main ways, but the first involves following sustainable laws at the local, state, or even national level. Often, when environmentally friendly laws are passed, there is some “downside” related to convenience. This is where the sustainable product comes in.

A great example of this is how many states and cities are banning single-use plastic and paper grocery bags. In some cities, rather than an outright ban, there is a small fee per disposable bag. According to Waste Management, 4,000,000,000,000 plastic bags are used each year and only %1 of them are recycled properly. Stats like this show exactly why these bans are being put into place.

But bags are useful for carrying things — that’s why they were invented, after all. By getting rid of disposable grocery bags, consumers will be mildly inconvenienced. However, the trained eye of a marketer will see this mild inconvenience as an eco marketing opportunity. People want bags, but they also want to be environmentally friendly. So just give away or sell reusable tote bags to fill the gap left behind by single-use bags.

Not only are these bags useful — and therefore valuable to the user — they’re great marketing tools. Broad sides can be emblazoned with your company’s logo, turning anyone who carries one into a walking poster. And, some grocery stores even provide discounts to shoppers who bring their own reusable bags, so there’s even more incentive for consumers to use them!

Eco Marketing Following Sustainable Trends

branded reusable water bottle

The second way to market promotional products to the more environmentally conscious generations is by following sustainable trends. While these trends may not be written down as law, they are still important to keep in mind because they influence, and are influenced by, public ideals.

For example, while the disposable water bottle industry isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, consumers are recognizing that these single-use bottles aren’t the best for the environment. Reusable drinkware is a popular choice for capitalizing on this trend. And within the category of drinkware, sports water bottles and shaker cups are particularly hot items.

According to a study by ASI, promotional drinkware is kept for an average of 12 months, and a $7 piece will generate about 1,400 impressions over its lifetime. That comes out to $5.00 per 1,000 impressions, which is cheaper than the average advertising rates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn! And, of course, higher quality drinkware which lasts longer will generate even more impressions over its lifetime.

Quality and Sustainability

paper straws

Generally speaking, the lower quality a product is, the less sustainable it is. When we purchase a high quality product, we expect it to have a longer life of usefulness, which in turn means less waste. This is the mindset you should take when choosing sustainable promotional products.

Let’s take straws as an example. Many cities are banning single-use plastic straws much like single-use plastic bags. But again, people like to use straws and the lack of single-use straws opens up an opportunity for marketers. Reusable, branded straws come in a variety of materials — some are thicker plastic, glass, bamboo, or stainless steel. But, which of these materials will have the longest usable lifetime? Stainless steel.

And because stainless steel straws have a longer usable lifetime than, say, thick plastic, they are worth more to consumers. Even if the average price over the usable lifetime for both materials is the same, the longer lasting product is seen as being of higher value. This is just one more reason it pays to be sustainability-minded when choosing a promotional product — consumers appreciate value.

High quality products also tend to look nicer, which is never a bad thing when you want consumers to think of your brand whenever they see the product they received from you.


Sustainability isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for your business too. It shows your consumers that you care about the ecosystem, which means a lot to the younger generations. And don’t forget, those younger generations also have the most purchasing power, and therefore influence over the market.

Sustainability with Safeguard Premier Branding Solutions

If your company doesn’t currently consider sustainability when selecting promotional products, now is a great time to start. And luckily for you, Safeguard is here to guide you along the way. We specialize in branding high-quality products which are sure to impress. Contact Safeguard Premier Branding Solutions today to learn more about sustainable products your clients and customers will love.