I had such a great response with my earlier “Questions to ask” blog that I thought I would do a series of them about different facets of green meeting practices. Today, it is time to focus on promotional products. Thanks to our resident expert, Mary Cameron, for these questions.

Is this product something worth keeping? (If not, it’s just contributing to the land fill.)

What is the ecological footprint? For example if it’s a conference bag:
-Where was the bag fabric produced?
-Where was the handle strap materials produced?
-Where is the zipper produced?
-Where is it assembled?
-What inks are used?
-Are these materials sustainable? Recycled, organic, etc.

What is the packaging involved in the product – is there a way for the packaging to be more environmentally responsible? For example not utilizing poly packaging for shirts; and using biodegradable packing materials.

Could you make your item non-dated? – so you could use it for multiple functions (or years)
What are the environmental practices the vendors you work with are using in their businesses?

Is there a choice of production locations that would mean less transportation required? (For example do they have the option of ordering from a warehouse on the west coast versus the east coast.)

Is it possible for this item to be made in your country? What are the labor conditions where it is made?

I urge each of you to ask a lot of questions. We are finding the promotional products world to be a greenwashing nightmare right now.