Incorporating Eco-Friendly Merchandise Into Your Program
By Emily Tipping
iRobot: Some of iRobot's products offer low-impact packaging (no foam), are RoHS-compliant, and are powered by NiMH batteries—the most environmentally friendly batteries on the market.
Meyer: This well-respected manufacturer of Anolon, Bonjour, Circulon, Farberware and KitchenAid cookware and other kitchen products runs its entire corporate office on solar power. Over 30 years, this act alone will reduce carbon dioxide by more than 5,000 tons.
Nike: A good place to turn for corporate gift cards, especially associated with wellness programs, Nike has adopted many practices that improve its environmental friendliness. In fact CRO (Corporate Responsibility Officer) Magazine named Nike No. 3 in its ninth annual ranking of top corporate citizens among U.S.-headquartered public companies. In just one example, Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program collects old shoes of any brand to recycle into a material called Nike Grind, which is incorporated into sports surfacing for basketball and tennis courts, running tracks, soccer fields, fitness flooring and playground safety surfacing.
Nautilus Inc.: This fitness company that manufactures a complete line of health and fitness products like treadmills, elliptical trainers, accessories and more recycles all cardboard, paper and shrink wrap. The company also converted 99 percent of cleaning materials to be environmentally friendly—no easy step when you consider the chemicals you'll find in everyday household cleaners—and employs a water-base powder coat system to paint activities to recover and reuse 99 percent of unused paint material.
Sony: Another company with a strong commitment to environmentally friendly practices, Sony has adopted eco-friendly approaches to product development and design, packaging and more. For example, Sony uses 10,000 tons or more of recycled plastics annually in various products, including televisions, audio products and digital video cameras. The company also has made efforts to develop and use vegetable-based plastics. It began using these plastics in packaging materials in 2000. In 2002, it started using them in Walkman casings.
Tissot: This maker of Swatch-brand watches and other Swiss timepieces started an alternative-energy research company to work on hydrogen, solar energy and fuel-cell technology with a view toward making green engines for cars.
Toshiba: Named one of the greenest companies, Toshiba has a strong commitment to the environment, including commitments to Energy Star compliance and ensuring that all new products undergo environmental assessments. Toshiba has developed energy-efficient TVs, refrigerators, vacuums and AC units; adopted lead-free soldering in most products; and built the world's first prototype of a hydrogen fuel center for portable PCs.
Of course, this is just a very small drop in a large green bucket. Ask your incentive partners—from brands to manufacturers' representatives—to help you learn more about their environmentally friendly practices.