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Going green has never been more mainstream. As more companies are shifting their business practices toward a more eco-friendly direction, they’re also looking to align with brands that share their socially- and environmentally-responsible ethos. And it’s extending to the promotional products they choose to display their logos. 

Savvy companies know that going green is not only good for the environment, it’s good for business. Tax breaks, improved efficiencies and cost savings are just a few of the obvious benefits.
From a consumer perspective, companies with a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint score big points, especially with Millienials, who are now the largest consumer segment, not to mention the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, according to 2018 data from Pew Research Center. So it’s no surprise that companies are looking at ways to “green” all facets of their business, including their marketing and branding efforts, to demonstrate their commitment to the environment to their employees as well as customers and prospects.
It’s that combination of forces that have spurred the demand.  In fact, sustainably produced goods was mentioned in the Advertising Specialty Institute’s (ASI) 2019 list of the 7 biggest trends in corporate gifting, and it’s something experts expect will increase and have significant staying power. 
To that end, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the key brands leading the way in regards towards sustainability in the apparel industry, from the raw materials they use to their manufacturing practices. We’ve also provided a snapshot of a few of the goods on the market to help you prepare for the rising demand during the holiday season and beyond. 

Alternative Apparel

What do they make?

  • Beanies and caps
  • Hoodies
  • Joggers
  • Long- and short-sleeve t-shirts
  • Raglans
  • Tanks

How’s it made?

With organic cotton, and polyester made from recycled bottles. Their process uses low-impact dyes and biodegradable fabric softeners. Garments are washed with reclaimed water.

What else? 

Garments arrive in eco-friendly packaging. 

Featured: EcoFleece Pullover Hoodie (09595F2)

Bella + Canvas

What do they make?

  • Hoodies
  • Jackets
  • Long- and short-sleeved t-shirts
  • Raglans
  • Sweatpants
  • Sweatshirts
  • Tanks 

How are they made?

With organic cotton. Eco-friendly dyes, recycled water and solar power are used in the manufacturing process. Excess fabric is repurposed into new products to extend their life cycle and create virtually zero waste.

What else?

Facilities are certified by the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), which carries high standards for human resources management, health and safety standards, environmental and eco-friendly practices, and legal compliance including import and export customs.

Featured: Canvas Long-Sleeve T (3501)

Econscious

What do they make?

  • Beanies and caps
  • Hoodies
  • Long- and short-sleeve t-shirts
  • Polos
  • Totes

How are they made?

With organic cotton, high quality hemp, and recycled materials for their garments. Their line is also PETA-approved vegan. Factories meet rigorous health, safety, and environmental responsible standards.

What else?

They donate 1% of every retail sale to support the work of environmental nonprofits.

Featured: Econscious Organic Cotton Eco Promo Tote (EC8056)

Hanes

What do they make?

  • Hoodies 
  • Long- and short-sleeve t-shirts
  • Polos
  • Sweatshirts
  • Tanks

How are they made?

With recycled polyester in all fleece products and cotton-poly in their EcoSmart t-shirts. Bases manufacturing practices on reducing carbon emissions, water, chemicals, and waste. And uses renewable resources such as biomass, hydro and geothermal energy at their factories.

What else?

They’re a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and one of the few apparel companies to serve as a member of the Corporate Eco Forum. They also created the Green for Good program, which promotes environmentalism, community improvement and volunteerism. 

Featured: Hanes EcoSmart T-Shirt (5170)

Next Level

What do they make?

  • Henleys
  • Hoodies
  • Joggers
  • Long-and short-sleeve t-shirts
  • Raglans
  • Tanks
  • Thermals

How are they made?

With organic cotton, recycled cotton, and recycled polyester.

What else?

Their facilities are WRAP certified.

Featured: Next Level Mens Triblend Long Sleeve Crew (6071)

Key takeaways

Demand for sustainable  goods will continue to increase as companies continue to shift toward more Earth-friendly and socially conscious business practices. The movement is largely driven by increased global awareness and consumer behavior. Millenials have a strong influence over this demand, as studies have shown their more willing to support brands with ethical and environmentally responsible business practices. Given this is currently the largest generation in the consumer and workforce segment, brands will continue to find ways to demonstrate their commitment to going green, down to the promotional products in which they display their logos.

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