The first time I encountered Evo3 Marketing was at a fall showcase the company hosted at an upscale restaurant in Bellevue.
I had never pictured myself working in the marketing or branded merchandise industry. I started my career working in traditional international development for NGOs based in Washington, DC.
At this event many of Evo3’s vendors and suppliers were present, and I started learning about their approaches to sustainable swag. From there I became interested in how companies like Evo3 pursue sustainability on a larger scale and started my journey into this sector. One of the steps that Evo3 takes to build sustainability is to cultivate partnerships with companies that have similar mission driven values. A second step is looking into certifications, outside validation that we are taking steps towards increased sustainability.
Building sustainability into Evo3 Marketing is a priority not only for me but also Evo3’s founder Amy Wolf. Certifications have played an integral role creating visibility for sustainability in the environment and socially. They have become their own brand, signaling that a company is putting time and effort into a project. A certification is only as valid as a community views it, the perception that the organization providing the qualifications has a robust system for monitoring and evaluation of those applying.
Evo3 has recently begun the journey towards B-Corp Certification. Their measurements of sustainability include social, economic and environmental benchmarks. B-Corp is about taking intentions and making them tangible. “It is a global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. Unlike other certifications for businesses, B Lab is unique in our ability to measure a company’s entire social and environmental impact.” It has been about taking the intentions of the business to be sustainable, putting them into writing and making a legal commitment to increase accountability. Creating employee handbooks, delving into carbon tracking and becoming accountable for our emissions; both for our own knowledge and to be able to share it with our clients as they measure their Scope 3 emissions.
While an important and worthwhile endeavor, it is not without challenges and hurdles; especially for a small company. It is a time consuming project. For a small staff, this means hours of work that might otherwise be spent on other important tasks. The B-Corp assessment is based on accumulated points, often based on the percentage of staff included in different programs, like healthcare for example. As a business with a small staff, one or two people not participating in a healthcare program dramatically shifts percentages dropping the company’s overall points in the category. While pricing for B-Corp is based on the size and revenue of a company, as a smaller company it is taking resources that aren’t always available. Both staff hours and monetary resources are needed to complete the process which can be challenging for a small, growing business.
Part of the B-Corp assessment process is auditing the resources used in things like packaging. This highlighted an opportunity to increase our sustainability.
It is easier, and certainly cheaper, to use large brand, mass produced packaging. They are able to provide more options on a shorter time frame. However, given the time frame that most projects operate on, we are able to plan ahead and utilize more sustainable options. While there are multiple good options for sustainable packaging, one company caught my attention during my research. A Colorado based company called EcoEnclose.
They produce boxes, both branded and unbranded. The boxes aren’t cut until they are ordered, reducing the need for large warehouses which consume large amounts of energy. “With eco-friendly packaging, you can reduce carbon emissions and, at the same time, endow your sustainable materials with a longer, less wasteful life cycle.” By shifting where we purchase packaging from, we are able to support businesses that share our values. Focusing on packaging that can be reused and recycled curbside so it is easier for the end consumer to deal with. We’ve also begun to include information on how to recycle the packaging we send, as suggested by both EcoEnclose and B-Corp.
Evo3’s journey towards Sustainability
Promoting sustainably produced products from companies that are mission driven with diverse ownership has always been a priority for Evo3 Marketing.
Finding other ways to hold ourselves accountable to our sustainability goals is an important step in our journey. Starting the process towards the B-Corp certification has given rise to new avenues like auditing our packaging, where it originates as well as the materials used to produce it. Each small step leads towards the overarching goal of sustainability which is an ever evolving process. As we meet the benchmarks and criteria towards B-Corp Certification, sustainability at the the core is an integral and non-negotiable piece of Evo3's business model.
This week at the Northwest Event Show, SimplyX and Evo3 are showcasing their back-end capability to re-energize a marketing campaign by utilizing QR codes on physical items that people use on a daily basis.
How do we take the idea of sustainable swag from just hitting buzzwords to reality? If done mindfully, businesses can continue to use branded merchandise for marketing and corporate gifting while making a social and environmental impact.