The PSI Sustainability Awards were presented on the evening of 8th September in Wiesbaden, Germany. There were 15 winners out of a total of 90 nominees. Recognised were the most ecologically, economically and socially sustainable products, campaigns or companies in the promotional products industry. In addition to several awards in eight fixed categories there were also two special awards presented to the Influencer of the Year and the most sustainable start-up.
“It is incredible to see how meticulously participants have documented all facets of sustainability this year,” says PSI Managing Director Michael Freter and adds: “This shows how seriously our industry takes this subject now. For three years we have seen time and again: the promotional products industry by and large already thinks and acts very sustainably. By presenting the awards we are honouring the often very comprehensive efforts undertaken to look after our environment and fellow human beings.”
The submitted entries are as diverse as the industry itself: ranging from a sustainable colouring set for children and bio-degradable rain ponchos to calendars made from plant remains.
Category 1: Economic Excellence
With a both comprehensive and scrupulously documented entry BIC Graphic Europe has won the category Economic Excellence. Based on a strictly structured quality management system BIC has also created the foundation for outstanding performance in environmental and social management – as documented by their exemplary reporting.
Category 2: Environmental Excellence
As a winner in the category Environmental Excellence Schwan-Stabilo has documented its in-depth appreciation of the ecological dimension of sustainability in every field of activity. In particular these include the ecological design of production and corporate processes, the development of ecological product ranges as well as sustainable construction.
Category 3: Social Excellence
BSCI member Halfar won this category with a documented sustainability network that also includes the integration company ‘prosigno’ headquartered at the Halfar building. The involved shareholders and stakeholders act in a spirit of inclusion, integration and family friendliness – also vividly illustrated in the latest CSR Report.
Category 4: Environment Initiative
‘Halfar goes Oxygen’ – even the first cut of the spade for the new building back in 1999 formed part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy. The ‘Initiative 100% CO2-neutral’ was completed with the company’s total change-over to green electricity in 2017. Halfar’s carbon footprint was also minimised thanks to a photovoltaic system, wood pellet heating, LED lighting installation as well as some green areas planted by employees.
Category 5: Social Initiative
From free legal counselling to organised jogging groups: Brand Addition’s integrated approach to their staff’s wellbeing and health initiative brought Brand Addition the victory in the Social Initiative category. It recognises the extensively documented staff-care model that is based on an elaborate, active work-life balance with many incentives and a sophisticated support system.
Category 6: Sustainable Product
Fare wins with its AOC mini pocket umbrella ÖkoBrella in the Sustainable Product category. With a handle made from the fast growing raw material bamboo and the use of recycled plastics for the coating, closing strap, carrying cord and sheath this product fulfilled the jury’s high requirements. As an advertising medium this double-action pocket umbrella combines sustainability with high utility. The jury felt this is an outstanding product, manufactured using sustainable materials – very well documented with proven certifications.
Category 6: Sustainable Product/Product Set
Sustainability cannot start early enough. So why not start in childhood? This view was also taken by the winner in the Sustainable Product category – Product Set: BIC Graphic Europe. Their colouring set specifically targets children and succeeded in convincing the jury of its sustainable nature. The set contains six crayons in a personalised box as well as a 16-page colouring book with personalised cover. All plastic parts contain 50% recycled materials in compliance with ISO 14021 standards. On top of that, all paper components are FSC-certified. The jury specifically praised the very well documented social standards in production.
Category 6: Sustainable Product/Product Line
Schwan-Stabilo receives the award for its product line Stabilo GreenLine. The sustainable products in this line consist of FSC wood, bio-plastics or contain a high percentage of recycled material. Furthermore, part of them are cradle-to-cradle certified, ensuring that there is no waste left, in keeping with the biological cycle. The retractable ballpoint pen Stabilo Greenfancy, for example, is made of renewable plastics. The felt pen Stabilo Greenpoint, the retractable Stabilo pointall and the highlighter Stabilo Green Boss consist of up to 87% recycled plastics. According to the jury, this is a compellingly thought-through, fully certified product line that shows at all levels that the ‘ecological lever’ can be applied to green advertising.
Category 6: Sustainable Product – Writing Instruments
As part of a joint campaign with Bionade uma launched the recycled Pet Pen. Pens in colours coordinated with the Bionade flavours were placed in a sustainable box together with 0.5 litres of this soft drink – precisely the amount needed to manufacture one recycled Pet Pen. The box came with all the necessary information on the development, production and availability of the product. The raw material rPert used here for upcycling is reclaimed from recycling Pet bottles and can be recycled itself. The jury says: “An accomplished concept, especially when considering the joint communication concept with Bionade and the product’s regional identity.”
Category 6: Sustainable Product/Paper
Zettler Kalender managed to stand out and win this prize with novel, especially eco-friendly materials, suitable as substrates for printing calendars. The series of calendars was printed on paper made from secondary raw materials, i.e. from the stems and foliage left over after harvest and not fit for the food industry. The paper is produced in a CO2-neutral process and with 100% green energy from bio-fermentation. It is compostable and recyclable up to seven times when unbleached. This very well certified series based on an innovative use of agricultural waste plus local manufacturing was able to win over the jury.
Category 6: Sustainable Product/Textiles
The Bio-Regenponcho is made from GMO-free maize starch and it is lightweight, tear-resistant and re-usable. In addition to this, it is breathable and permeable to water vapour so that its wearers do not sweat. Rain poncho and printing ink are both OK Compost certified and 100% bio-degradable. In the age of big festivals and open-air events this is a sustainable giveaway that massively helps to avoid waste.
Category 7: Sustainable Campaign
Emsa convinced the jury with its retail campaign “Dich behalt ich!” (I’ll stick to you). With its waste-avoiding coffee-to-go ‘Trabel Mug’ the company prevents the massive environmental pollution through single-use cups. The cup is produced at a state-of-the-art production site in China and consists of materials that comply with the requirements for food applications. The jury considers this a clear and simple message with a good storyline which is also well received by means of a plausible channel mix. Also striking is the ‘spill-over effect’ this retail campaign has on the article’s use as a promotional product.
Special Award: #Infuencer of the Year
The Special Award ‘#Influencer of the Year’ went to PF Concept. Awarded were two concrete initiatives as part of a clearly sustainable corporate philosophy. These are the Flowchart concept for compliant-product search and analysis as well as the controlled compliance management of supply chains – the ‘Vendor Social Compliance Protocol’. Strategy and implementation are underscored by documentation in the form of a Sustainability Report.
Special Award: Start Up
Just so Clothing helps women artisans from South Asia, Egypt and South Africa to take themselves and their families out of poverty by manufacturing high-quality and sustainable products. The support ranged from product development through a transparent supply chain to mobile payment offers. Via the website and social media you can always see who produced these products where and how.
Category 8: Sustainable Company
Schneider Schreibgeräte undertook great efforts in favour of sustainability in the promotional products industry in not just one but several categories and ends up as the overall winner of the PSI Sustainability Awards 2017 due to a remarkable and very well and broadly documented wealth of activities. This means the company from Baden-Württemberg follows on from the Sustainable Company of the Year 2016 Karl Knauer KG and the first winner in 2015: Walter Medien GmbH.