What green recognition looks like

What some employers, vendors are offering

When employees think of recognition awards, what often comes to mind are unflattering images of trinkets and baubles that only serve to gather dust. So it may seem a challenge to find a noteworthy, meaningful and memorable item that that isn’t bad for the environment.

At Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt, a Manchester, N.H., company that’s so committed to sustainability that it offsets the carbon-dioxide it emits, that challenge is met with handcrafted pens made out of reclaimed wood from a local museum.

“It’s nice that the pen has a story that links it to the region, that links it to the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle. What we try to do is enable our clients to leverage the story of the product” so that it’s meaningful to recipients, said Denise Taschereau, founder of Fairware, which supplied the yogurt company with the pens for its 15th anniversary.

Based in Vancouver, Fairware sells green and ethical products to companies, mostly for promotional campaigns but occasionally for recognition programs.

The Fairware website features such products as messenger bags made from recycled bicycle tubes with shoulder straps made out of seat belts. One colourful shoulder bag is made out of discarded billboard advertising material designed to withstand harsh weather.

There are glasses and goblets made out of recycled wine bottles and pens and pencils made out of recycled cardboard, recycled car parts or recycled game consoles.

At I Love Rewards, environmentally friendly options include items such as solar-powered flood lights, security lights, interior lights, flashlights and pest repellers. The Toronto-based vendor also offers a wind generator for powering up gadgets at the cottage.

Universal Links, also Toronto-based, offers similar products including hand-powered flashlights, solar chargers for personal electronics, coffee mugs made of recycled acrylic, travel mugs insulated by air and not chemicals, biodegradable pens and tote bags made of hemp or jute.

But green recognition options don’t end at the gift catalogue. At the Ottawa-based Nature Conservancy of Canada, HR director Les Lear suggested other HR departments consider making charitable donations to green causes.

“The tax receipt goes to the employees, so they get some money value for these donations.” said Lear.

Latest stories