Why good is better…

In June this year, M&M stepped up to supporting sustainability and were one of the first companies to sign up to the BPMA’s StepForward Pledge when it was launched.

But let’s step back a bit first – for many years, promotional products would conjure up images of cheap or throwaway giveaways, but the good news is, that’s a thing of the past.  Instead, innovation and a commitment to sustainability are driving change, in everything from the products themselves to source materials, production methods, packaging or recycling instructions, as well as options for traceability and eco-systems supporting a circular economy.

But picking an ‘eco’ product can be a bit of a minefield.  There can be an element of greenwashing, and things aren’t always quite what they seem.  It’s hard to know which questions to ask or which evidence to ask for, in order to meet specific company values or policies.

So we decided to do something about it to help our clients and the idea for Why good is better was born.  

We put together an event to showcase the ever-growing choices of sustainable merchandise, then added in some CSR and Innovation workshops, to demonstrate why good really is better for business, for our people and ultimately for our planet.

If you missed out, don’t worry, as we will be running another event next Spring.  In the meantime, you can watch the highlights here – and we’ve also gathered together some of our current favourite products in ever popular categories for inspiration (which also featured in our goody bags), so read on.


  • The people behind the Loop sports bottle are literally turning bottles into … bottles! Made in the UK (meaning a low carbon footprint), these reusable bottles are made from recycled milk bottles in a zero-waste environment, using a production method that consumes 30% less energy than traditional manufacturing methods.
  • Matching mugs are a great way to keep coffee time on brand, either in the office or as a giveaway. This ever-popular earthenware Cambridge mug is printed in the UK too and is the perfect blank canvas, offering a multitude of colours and print options.
  • There are many options for eco and sustainable travel cups, but we have chosen this double walled insulated model. It’s manufactured in the UK (no clocking up airmiles here), comes packaged in a home-compostable bag and is fully recyclable. It’s also available in a wide range of colours with either matching or contrasting lids, for countless combinations.
  • Whilst it’s not strictly drinkware, we wanted to include this handy travel cutlery set. You can pack up then up and go with the Lunch Mate, a full brandable cutlery set in its own case, that’s made from recycled plastic, and both designed and manufactured in the UK.
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  • There are some fantastic seeded products about and the range keeps growing. We’ve picked a pencil with an interactive twist – instead of finding an eraser at the end, you’ll find a water-soluble seed capsule.  When the pencil becomes too short to use anymore, simply plant it in the soil and watch it grow.  Available with a choice of basil, daisy, thyme or forget-me-not seeds, it is made from sustainably harvested wood and contains no lead.
  • We’re seeing leftover coffee cups and coffee grounds being used in more and more imaginative ways. For coffee lovers everywhere, the covers of this A5 spiral bound notebook are made from 50% recycled coffee grinds and 50% PP plastic, whilst the lined light brown pages are made from recycled materials.  And before you ask, no, it doesn’t smell off coffee!
  • Promotional pens are a useful, portable and highly cost-effective way to increase your brand exposure. Who doesn’t have at least one in their desk or bag?  And there has definitely been a move away from single use plastic to more sustainable and eco-friendly options, including this choice, which is made from recycled aluminium cans, whilst the plastic trim is made from recycled water bottles.
  • Sticky notes are a stationery staple. These are made in Europe from FSC® certified paper and offer branding opportunities on both the covers and the sticky notes themselves.  Available with soft or hard covers, these neat sets also include a set of coloured page markers.
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Out and about

  • Keep your branding to hand with this credit card case. It’s made from recycled water bottles that would usually end up in landfill, to make a high-quality vegan material with a subtle grain – perfect for debossing, foil blocking or full colour branding.
  • Useful products get used over and over again, so it’s not surprising that reusable bags are always really popular. We love the Seabrook range; made from a blend of recycled cotton and rPET from plastic bottles, it is available in a range of styles, from a gift bag to a tote or drawstring option.
  • Arguably the only thing predictable about the British weather is its unpredictability, but you can keep your clients covered, whatever the weather, with this stylish branded umbrella. It’s definitely eye catching with brilliant white rails and pole, plus a comfy soft touch handle with release button.  And, the polyester pongee canopy is made from recycled plastics.
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  • Help keep your desk top clean and tidy with these UK made coasters. They are manufactured from sustainable Moso® bamboo and using a circular reduce, reuse, recycle model.  With a cork base, it can be laser engraved or printed with your branding.  In addition, for every 50 natural products made, the manufacturers will plant one new tree.
  • This bamboo phone stand will keep your smartphone to hand, whilst the integrated hole means you can connect a cable to easily charge your phone without having to remove it. It’s made from FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) bamboo, in a socially audited factory, and is packaged in a letterbox friendly FSC® mix craft box.
  • A promotional mouse mat can help keep your brand visible all day long. British made, this version combines a hard surface with a foam base and is available as both rectangular or circular versions, with a low minimum quantity of just 100 units.
  • Not a desk accessory as such, but who hasn’t taken their lanyard off and put it on their desk. Very much part of everyday office life, these lanyards are made in the UK, meaning, zero airmiles and quick turnaround times.  Chose from recyclable polyester or rPET options, whilst the safety breaks and clips are all recyclable.  In addition, all inks used are water based and they are manufactured in a solar powered factory with a Biomass burner.
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Christmas Gifts

  • Branded candles are an ideal way to spread a little Christmas cheer and some extra TLC too. These candles in a glass tumbler come in a wide range of fragrances, including a Christmas Festive Spice.  They are recyclable and made in the UK using a natural blend of vegetable and soy wax.
  • Would it really be Christmas without a pair of socks in your stocking? Then why not brand some super comfy socks to surprise your clients. Ethically produced, they are made from GOTS® (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton, with a tag made from recycled and recyclable paper, and then packaged in a compostable (potato starch) bag.
  • Ready for a sweet treat in an eco-friendly box? Made in the UK from sustainably sourced packaging, it can be recycled or composted.  Team M&M are fond of a jellybean or two, but you might prefer chocolate or, if you are looking for a vegan option, then opt for sweet bears instead.
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For more information about any of these products, or for help in finding branded merchandise that matches your values, contact the team today on 01242 907041 or email sales@marketing-merchandise.co.uk.

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