Industry news

From the meteorological point of view the night was calm – but it was raining stars in Wiesbaden on 6 September when the shining lights of the sustainability scene in the promotional products industry were recognised. In the company of some 140 sustainability promoters from the sector the PSI celebrated five years of PSI Sustainability Awards that night. Once again serving as a stage for this spectacle was the magnificent Wiesbaden Kurhaus, already previously hosting the second PSI Sustainability Summit.

PSI sustainabiliy awards
Winners PSI Sustainability Awards 2019. Photo: Reed Exhibitions

Best in class in terms of figures

The economic, environment-technology and social commitment of the promotional products industry is reflected in the first three categories of the Award. Here the winners are established by an automatic scoring system. The stricter and more relevant the profile of a certificate, the higher the corresponding score. This category also considers the type of company – manufacturer or importer of promotional products – the size of the enterprise as well as the manufacturing location and any other production sites.

Category 1: Economic Excellence

Winner: BIC Graphic Europe S.A.

In a tight field of excellent entries in quality management BIC Graphic Europe asserted itself in the category Economic Excellence – and not for the first time. Having obtained extensive, clean and fully up-to-date certification the company scored most points with its detail-rich reporting.

Category 2: Environmental Excellence

Winner: Schneider Schreibgeräte GmbH

Writing instruments are among the most popular promotional products. Some of their producers are the key drivers of CSR and sustainability in the promotional products industry. Just like Schneider Schreibgeräte who, with the latest certificates and audits for climate and environmental management, documented their ecological literacy most comprehensively and conclusively of all submitters.

Category 3: Social Excellence

Winner: Halfar System GmbH

This year, once again, sees Halfar as ambitious as before in the fields of ethics and social responsibility continuing to maintain a targeted dialogue with its local and international stakeholders. The documents and certificates submitted show a company in the premier league when it comes to personnel development, family friendliness, inclusion and integration.

Selected by the jury

Social and ecological initiatives, individual products, product sets, product lines and campaigns are in the focus of Categories 4 to 7. A jury made up of seven expert members met in Düsseldorf on 5 July to judge the submissions and decide upon the winners. The jury comprises sustainability, communication and marketing experts from the promotional products industry as well as representatives from industry and the PSI.

Category 4: Environment Initiative

Winner: Mister Bags GmbH

“Every company has a choice: How sustainable do we want to be?” Mister Bags already opted for a holistic sustainability concept at the time the company was founded in November 2018. Not only the products but also the corporate structures are geared to sustainability: from electrically driven company cars, the GOTS-certified in-house print shop to the toilet paper, which supports projects that help people to a safe sanitation. This start-up has convinced the jury with its presentation, its objectives and the savings and optimisations already documented today in operations and manufacturing.

Category 5: Social Initiative

Winner: Klio-Eterna Schreibgeräte GmbH & Co KG

In line with its sustainability approach and continuing globalisation in general Klio-Eterna donated writing utensils which can no longer be used such as from surplus production to charitable projects. The products are mainly used in schools or public institutions. As part of the fundraising campaign “Internationaler Hilfsfonds e.V.” Klio-Eterna donated 400,000 ballpoint pens to Zimbabwe, Georgia and Moldova, and an additional 107,000 ballpoint pens to Moldova and Romania. The jury says: “Writing and reading are the basic building blocks of education, and writing instruments are indispensable for this,” recognising Klio-Eterna’s great commitment here with the award in Category 5.

Category 6: Sustainable Product

Winner: CD-Lux GmbH
Product: Fair-Plus Advent Calendar with organic chocolate

Saving part of the rain forest by means of an advent calendar: made possible in 2019 with the help of the Fair-PLUS Advent Calendar by CD-Lux. A total of 185,000 hectares of forest in the Congo Basin are protected against illegal deforestation by this project. The liner for the chocolate is 100% biodegradable, the grass paper used is recyclable and compostable, while the chocolate comes from the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Programme, which supports fair compensation of dairy farmers. Altogether convincing ingredients for an award-winning product.

glass drinking straws
Drinking straws made out of glass by GlasWerk. Photo: Reed Exhibitions

Category 6: Sustainable Product – Product Set

Winner: TFA Dostmann GmbH & Co. KG
Product: GlasWerk drinking straws made of glass

The ban on plastic drinking straws adopted by the EU Parliament marked the kick-off and then everything happened basically overnight: with glass drinking straws made in Germany and available in different versions, TFA Dostmann succeeded in convincing the jury in the Product Set Category. The drinking straws are dishwasher-safe, taste neutral and are reusable as well as affordable. The jury arrived at the verdict: “A forward-look product with all relevant, sustainable attributes that makes parting with plastic straws a pleasure.”

Category 6: Sustainable Product – Product Line

Winner: b-token BVBA
Product: Eco-friendly tokens

Made of potato peel, timber waste or old fishing nets, their raw materials are either renewable or recyclates and they are produced using exclusively renewable energies. The jury’s praise for the eco-friendly tokens by b-token reads: “This is ecological-social diversity rather than green monotony” which is why the award in the Product Line category goes to this green token line.

Category 6: Sustainable Product – Writing Instruments

Winner: Schneider Schreibgeräte GmbH
Product: Link-It

What started as a plug-in triple pen for students soon developed into a sustainability star for Schneider Schreibgeräte. The Link-it is made of bio-based plastics consisting of maize, sugar, cotton or wood. Less than 0.1% of the world’s arable land is required for producing these raw materials. Add to this that the mini pen is produced in a climate-neutral way in Germany, proves durable and, in the jury’s eyes, is a handy, highly communicative product with a sophisticated combination system that makes users re-think their attitude with a click.”

Hypon B Seatowel. Photo: Reed Exhibitions

Category 6: Sustainable Product – Textile

Winner: Hypon B.V.
Product: Seatowel

The idea to free the oceans of plastic waste by means of a beach towel led Hypon to victory. The “Seatowel” is largely made of plastic by-catch that ends up in fishing nets. Fishermen are paid to collect and deposit this by-catch via the SEAQUAL organisation. This plastic is then mixed with recycled cotton and processed into RPET yarn. The result is a 100% recycled beach towel. The product is not only ecological through and through and certified, but 5% of the profits also go to the “The Ocean Cleanup project” putting Hypon in pole position in the Textiles Category.

Category 6: Sustainable Product -Paper

Winner: Wilken Verlag für Prävention
Product: Aktiv Buch

A book that extends an invitation to discover the world: With its “Aktiv-Buch” Wilken Verlag für Prävention prompts children to spend more time outdoors again. With a pen and some imagination children discover their environment in this book and forget about their smartphones and computers. Made of wood-free, uncoated design paper the book is printed with eco-friendly printing inks. “The product is sustainable in composition,” praises the jury. Furthermore, it reconciles pro-active outdoor content with ecology.

Category 7: Sustainable Campaign

Winner: Gebas GmbH
Campaign: E-CUP

Campaigns launched against the tsunami of single-use cups rank high on the agenda – and for good reason. With their biodegradable maize cup E-CUP GEBAS fights to save natural resources and the environment. Made of certified FSC® paper in combination with a Mater-Bi®-coating, the E-CUP is biodegradable and compostable and, hence, also a responsible choice for a sustainable future. Even the corresponding spoons and organic paper cups form part of the campaign. The jury particularly praised the product’s waste avoidance effect but also its environmental compatibility, resource-saving approach and certification stating: “Taken together all convincing arguments against the throwaway society.”

Category 8: Sustainable Company of the Year

Winner: Schneider Schreibgeräte GmbH

Considering the strong sustainability competition, it was especially the awards won in not one but two individual categories that tipped the scales. “The Sustainable Company of the Year 2019 shows that it is an enterprise that connects the three pillars of sustainability at the highest level and – as a result – also excels as a producer of innovative green products,” said the jury about the overall winner Schneider Schreibgeräte!

Special Award Sustainable Distributor of the Year

Winner: Chilly Ideas Srl

For the second time the Special Award for the Sustainable Distributor of the Year was presented.
Thanks to its comprehensively certified company performance the winner in our special category Sustainable Distributor of the Year succeeded in convincing us as a sustainability-focused trading company especially in the first three categories.

Sustainable Products recommended by PSI

Products that the jury members would personally recommend: these are the Sustainable Products recommended by PSI. This year’s recommended products include:

  • CD-Lux GmbH Advent Calender Pyramid Eco-Line
  • Golden Compound GmbH HOME Cap
  • Hultafors Group Germany GmbH No. 59 – Original Schwedenmeter
  • Interall Group B.V. WOW! Sustainable Gifts Collection
  • KW open promotion consulting & trading GmbH cupffee – cookie as a coffee cup
  • Manufacturas Arpe, S.L. Microfiber promotional line with recycled post consumer PET yarn
  • Samoa GmbH Bio-Bang Sticks
  • Giuseppe Di Natale S.p.A. Bullet journal Modimò
  • Wilken Verlag für Prävention Environmental Paint Book

PSI Sustainability Summit

For the second time the PSI extended an invitation to the PSI Sustainability Summit on the afternoon of 6 September. Hosted by Helge Thomas, the face of the first sustainability summit in the event industry, participants discussed how the promotional products industry can take on more social and ecological responsibility. Also in focus was the impact the planned CO2 tax will have on the promotional products industry; as were purchasing criteria for sustainable, ecologically and/or socially responsibly produced giveaways and the social and ecological risks along the supply chain. Speakers included Steven Baumgärtner, founder and since 1994 also Managing Director of cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH, Andreas Zamostny, co-founder and managing partner of S&C – Schlange & Co. GmbH as well as the Vice-President of S&C North America Inc., and agricultural economist Dr. Katharina Reuter. Paolo-Daniele Murgia also shared his experiences as the former Head of Marketing Services at Roche Diabetes Care Deutschland GmbH.