Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Switch: Corporate Give-away Options

"The Switch" is a series of blogposts about switching, one item at a time, to more socially-responsible and sustainable products. In the past I've always talked about products for individual use, so I figured it's time for a post on how organizations and corporations can make the switch too.

The marketing department of a company can be responsible for a lot of waste - flyers and marchandizing materials that aren't really useful and end up in the trash, or a multitude of tarpaulin banners that are not properly disposed of at the end of the event... the list can go on.

It's difficult enough trying to hit your deadlines and marketing targets, how can you find time to revamp your department into one that does end-to-end life-cycle management of all of its marketing materials? Well, as with anything, you start with baby steps. Here are my top two suggestions: (a) look into where you are sourcing your materials, or (b) be more conscious about what happens to your materials once your campaign is done. For this post, I'll start you off with some suppliers if you want to do option A.


Trese or GK Payatas 13 Printers is a silk-screen printing and sewing venture operated as a social business model through the combined efforts of Gawad Kalinga Kapitbahayan residents, SIGA, GK Ateneo and GK Ateneo Alumni. They started off doing shirts back in 2003 but now, they accept made-to-order silk-screened giveaway items. You can read more about their story here.

A social enterprise that works with Gawad Kalinga community - how could I resist? So the next time I needed to produce some merchandize at work, I asked Trese to bid for the project against other traditional suppliers.

Look at the pretty bandanas
they made for us! :)
Initially, they had the higher bid. But they took the time to explain why it was so -- complete with excel sheet that broke down all the costs, plus a thorough explanation of their fair wages and labor practices that form part of the company's ethics. No other supplier took the time out to talk to me like that, and I really appreciated it. Of course, at the end of the day I have an obligation to my employers to manage our budget - which means I need to give the project to the supplier that gave the best quality for the best price. The great thing is that the people at Trese were willing to work with my needs - exploring different raw materials, size specifications and the like until they were able to match the lowest bid and still give me something of good quality.

So will I work with them again? Definitely! Good quality, on-time delivery, good client service... plus knowing that I'm helping out a GK community in the process was a great add-on.

For orders and inuiries, contact Mike Go or Felice Caringal at:
johnmichaelgo @ / felice.caringal @

If bandanas and canvas bags are not exactly your company's style, don't fret. Even those who need high-end giveaways can now source from a social enterprise!

Internationally awarded Jacinto & Lirio is a high end brand of leather bags. Water hyacinth plant leather, that is. This group has found a way to turn what used to be considered a bothersome water-pest into a sustainable source of raw materials for statement accessories. Their bags can be found at several reseller stores or purchased online on their site. These retail for about Php 9,000.00, which is rather pricey for give-aways.

The good news is that this year they've launched Kwaderno, a line of water hyacinth leather-bound journals, which now gives more people a chance to own a bit of J&L.

As of now, Kwaderno is only available for bulk orders with a minimum of 100 pieces. Prices range from Php 200++ to Php 400++, depending on the designs.

For orders and inquiries, contact sales @ or +639173027278.
More details can also be found on their Facebook announcement:

Jacinto & Lirio is the flagship brand of EcoIngenuity, Inc., a social enterprise that aims to raise competitiveness of indigenous materials and the communities that produce them, through global design standards.

Another option is the Gifts and Graces Fair Trade Foundation. Compared to the previous suppliers, their range of products offer more variety and they can also customize if you prefer special gift sets or gift baskets. The eclectic collection of products reflects the many different communities that the foundation works with, as each community has its own personality and skill sets. Their beneficiary communities go up to about 30, covering a range of poor, marginalized, and special needs groups.

Gifts & Graces is probably the most seasoned of all three. Among their clients are big names such as Ayala Land, Inc., Shangri-la group of hotels, Philippine Daily Inquirer, HSBC, and El Nido Resorts. Among their retail partners you can also find the likes of Kultura Filipino, Rustan's and the ADB Cooperative Regalo Shop.

This year's set of corporate give-away options include: Charging station made of wood (Php 800), Woven plastic organizers (Php 800), Travel set (Php 7000), Travel pillow & pouch (Php 450), and Gadget organizer (Php 500). Want even more variety? Try and checking out their regular products on their website and view products from the 10 product categories available!

For orders and inquiries, contact their marketing manager,
Chay Pascual at: marketing @

Gifts and Graces Foundation is a certified Fair Trade organization.

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