Industry news

The sixth PSI Sustainability Awards, awarded on 12th January have been very encouraging with around 100 entries, 85 nominations in nine categories. A special prize and, for the first time, a digital awards ceremony. Despite being faced with the most difficult conditions and 2020 having been dominated by a pandemic, the promotional product industry’s environmental commitment has not just endured but has even gained momentum.

PSI Sustainability Awards had the highest number of submissions ever. Photo: PSI – Promotional Product Service Institute

Even though there was little preparation time this year due to the impact of COVID19, PSI has had the highest number of submissions ever. Originally intended as a prelude to the fair, the award ceremony has in fact turned out to be the perfect opportunity for bringing the worldwide industry together digitally instead. Guest speakers from the USA and Netherlands congratulated the winners personally, while an international audience sat at home in their festive evening dress and participated digitally. A ceremonious, if unusual, prelude to a new financial year for the promotional product industry. These are the award winners:

Category 1: Economic Excellence. Winner: Karl Knauer KG

The Economic Excellence award is for certified measures that guarantee quality assurance. The winner in this section was Karl Knauer KG which has consistently developed its extensive certification further and documented the continuous sustainable development of the company with a highly transparent detailed annual report.

Category 2: Environmental Excellence. Winner: Schneider Schreibgeräte GmbH

Schneider Schreibgeräte GmbH introduced certified measures for protecting environmental management in 2020 which go well beyond the minimum legal requirements and received an award in the Environmental Excellence category for this commitment. With its comprehensive and high-quality certification, the company has underlined its ecological achievement and is well placed for the future. The company also scored thanks to one of its environmental initiatives.

Category 3: Social Excellence 2020. Winner: Halfar System GmbH

Despite the particularly difficult social challenges presented by 2020, Halfar GmbH was able to enhance its social excellence profile in the areas of personnel development, family friendliness, inclusion and integration. Thus, the company’s commitment met all the criteria for the Social Excellence award which rewards the provision of certified measures for securing social working conditions.

Category 4: Environmental Initiative 2020. Winner: Halfar System GmbH

Halfar System GmbH also received an award in the Environment Initiative category for the environmental concept behind its new HAL logistic centre. Not only are the warehouse and site well-organized and energy-efficient thanks to building insulation and an eco-gas power plant, a 1500 sqm area has also been set aside as living space for plants, birds and insects. These and other measures have meant major CO2 savings, while the company’s comprehensive approach to sustainability is unique. As such, Halfar System GmbH successfully managed to fulfil the criteria for the Environmental Initiative award which is all about taking personal responsibility for economic and ecological measures, initiatives as well as developing one’s own environmental standards.

Category 5: Social Initiative 2020. Winner: Karl Knaur KG

In 2011, Karl Knauer, HYDRO Systems and the Biberach Local Authority founded the “Fliegerkiste” day-care centre to help make work and family more compatible with one another. Since 2020, Karl Knaur has also been actively involved in nature conservation and environmental protection, investing in a 2600 sqm meadow for bees in collaboration with Bienenmartin’s honey farm. The project is a smart way of combining the topics of sustainability, landscape ecology and education, as well as involving employees and the local authority, which is why it won the Social Initiative award that is given for creating independent social measures and initiatives.

Category 6: Sustainable Product

The Sustainable Product category with its different subcategories for textiles, writing utensils, paper, product set and product line evaluates certificates and products with regard to their ecological balance. Here are the winners:

Category: Sustainable Product of the Year. Winner: blvck GmbH. Product: “Pferdeapfel Bio Naturdünger”

Even if it cannot be used everywhere, blvck GmbH’s natural horse dung fertilizer is a practical ecological merchandising article, which is why the company won a Sustainable Product of the Year award. A great deal of meticulousness and passion has gone into the process behind the fertilizer. Furthermore, in the words of the jury, the product is effective, sustainable and unforgettable.

Category: Sustainable Product – Subcategory Textiles. Winner: Manufacturas Arpe, S.L. Product: “SKUT Community Mask

The SKUT community masks are free of pollutants and thus also suitable for even (the youngest) children. Photo: PSI-Promotional Product Service Institute

The Sustainable Product award winner in the Textile subcategory is the SKUT community mask, made by Manufacturas Arpe, S.L. The company also uses 100 percent renewable energy. The mask itself is free of pollutants and thus also suitable for even (the youngest) children.

Category: Sustainable Product – Subcategory Product Line. Winner: SLODKIE UPOMINKI Sp. z o. o. sp. k. Product: “Fit&Healthy”

High-quality products and biodegradable packaging go hand in hand with the winner of the Product Line subcategory of the Sustainable Product award. With “Fit&Healthy”, SLODKIE UPOMINKI Sp. z o. o. sp. k. has provided an innovative packaging design in combination with a sweet and, above all, sustainable message.

Category: Sustainable Product – Subcategory Product Set. Winner: PS Concepts GmbH. Product: “WE CARE” Mini super slim umbrella

PS Concepts GmbH wins the Product Set award in the Sustainable Product section with its “WE CARE” mini super slim umbrella and integrated carrier bag. Both the canopy and carrier bag are made of high-quality polyester pongee won from recycled material. Not just the canopy has been made from recycled material but the other main plastic components such as the tips, runners, slider etc. are also made of recycled material.

Sustainable Products recommended by PSI

Sustainable products commended by PSI. Photo: PSI-Promotional Product Service Institute

Members of the jury were given the opportunity to pick out one of the sustainable products commended by PSI that they would personally recommend. These are the products proposed by members of the jury:

  • Manufacturas Arpe, S.L. with its promotional eco-designed cushion (Figure 1)
  • Sprout World with its Sprout pencil (Figure 2)
  • Samoa GmbH with its Eco car-tyre bag (Figure 3)
  • mbw Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH with its MiniFeet RecycelBear (Figure 4)
  • Lindocastelli GmbH with its Palm Crush notebook (Figure 5)
  • Premium Square Europe B.V. with its Upprett (Figure 6)
  • PS Concepts GmbH with its Shopping BAG+ (Figure 7)

Category 7: Sustainable Campaign. Winner: cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH. Campaign: #starkeschiene

The Sustainable Campaign award is awarded to a marketing campaign in which an ecological promotional product plays a role in several closely related communication and advertising measures. This is precisely why cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH, won this award with its #starkeschiene campaign. German railways would like to run on a climate-friendly basis in future. Appropriately, the company collaborated with cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH to produce promotional items that focus both on sustainability and “made in Germany”. The product range includes a retractable pen made of recycled RPET material, a drinking bottle, and a speaker (all produced using green electricity and 100% recyclable), a bag for fruit & veg, a reusable cup, “good chocolate”, a beeswax cloth, a certified pencil and a writing pad made of grass paper. All these articles can be used in everyday life and are sustainable alternatives to their “plastic” predecessors. Moreover, they also look really attractive and offer plenty of advertising space.

New: Category 8: Innovator of the Year 2020. Winner: FARE – Guenther Fassbender GmbH. Project: “Switch to waterSAVE for a promotional umbrella”

The new Innovator of the Year award, sponsored by cyber-Wear GmbH, is for a sustainable product, complete with its story, and submitted by a sustainable company. The award winner is FARE – Guenther Fassbender GmbH. FARE has introduced a new and revolutionary dyeing process to help protect the climate and environment. Each fresh model of the style series is equipped with the new waterSAVE canopy. The novel dyeing process reduces the amount of natural raw materials and energy used, as well as ensuring a big reduction in the environmental impact of harmful substances. FARE not only impressed with its product but also with other CSR topics and its transparent development and production process.

Special Jury Prize

This year, the jury has awarded a special prize for the first time in the 6-year history of the PSI Sustainability Awards. This special prize was awarded for the production of some excellent application forms and the company behind the initiative, SurvivAll i.G. Even if it is not about promotional products in the classical sense, the jury felt that SurvivALL’s environmental initiative, the “SurvivALL Project”, was worthy of distinction. With its initiative, SurvivALL is campaigning on behalf of “deep cleaning” the oceans and thus helping contribute towards generating sustainable energy and fuel made from waste. The jury felt that this was an influential project, the significance of which goes well beyond the promotional product industry.

Category 9: Sustainable Company of the Year. Overall Winner: Halfar System GmbH

For the Sustainable Company of the Year award, the jury’s assessments and points accumulated from the different categories 1 to 8 are all totted up and the winner is the noninee with the most points. Halfar System GmbH is Sustainable Company of the Year for 2021 and with that, the overall winner of the sixth PSI Sustainability Awards. The company persuaded the jury with its certification and auditing in all three areas of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social sustainability. The all-encompassing environmental concept for the new Halfar logistics centre stood out as the most exciting aspect.

Overall Winner: Halfar System GmbH. Photo: PSI

All nominees and winners will be presented once again in May when PSI show is held.