EcoPlum's Climate Action Contribution
About EcoPlum's Climate Efforts
EcoPlum® is an environmentally focused business-to-business company offering branded marketing solutions and its Sustainable Swag® line of promotional products. EcoPlum Business Gifts (EBG) brands and customizes all types of eco friendly merchandise with logos, taglines, and messages for client companies, universities, and organizations. Founded in 2007, the company sold eco friendly products to consumers in an online boutique before shifting the business to sustainable business gifts in 2016. EcoPlum is a social enterprise with a mission to help combat environmental issues and a strong commitment to a triple-bottom-line strategy focused on people, planet and profit.
EcoPlum Business Gifts distributes branded promotional products that are high-quality, unique, innovative, and sustainable.
Source Ethically and Sustainably
With a commitment to its social mission, EcoPlum sets itself apart from competitors by offering high quality, best-in-class merchandise that meets the company’s rigorous standards for environmental and social sustainability. EcoPlum sources sustainable products from companies where their product standards are clear and transparent, using generally accepted criteria and reputable third-party labels or certifications. Sourcing criteria used include: third-party ecolabels, organic, vegan, fair trade, fair labor, biodegradable, renewable, recycled, reclaimed, reusable, sustainably harvested, Made in the USA, artisan-made, handcrafted, non-toxic, energy-efficient, ethically sourced, women/minority-owned, and B-Corporation.
Building a Better Circular Economy
EcoPlum also advocates for a circular economy with closed-loop products that eliminate waste at each production stage, feed previously used materials and waste back into production, and recycle products at their end-of-life. The company is a ZeroWaste partner of TerraCycle to provide corporate clients with boxes for end-of-life recycling of various waste streams.
The Ethical Case Against Plastic
EBG’s goal is to reduce the abundant use of plastic and its resulting contribution to environmentally harmful plastic waste within the promotional products industry.
According to the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Americans discard about 33.6 million tons of plastic each year. Only 6.5 percent of it is recycled and only 7.7 percent is combusted in waste‐to‐energy facilities, leaving 28 million tons in landfills. Plastic in landfills takes up to 1,000 years to decompose, while potentially leaking pollutants and toxins into the soil and water. An estimated 100 million tons of plastic debris is dispersed and floating in the oceans. In 2015, the journal Science published a study by the NCEAS Marine Debris Working Group at UC Santa Barbara finding that an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the oceans from land each year.
Adding to this problem, an estimated $21B of cheap promotional gadgets are given out every year and are made primarily from virgin plastic and other single use, non-compostable materials. EcoPlum aims to reduce the amount of plastic and other waste produced by the promotional products industry.
Participation in the Community
EcoPlum, based in New York City, has been an active member in the sustainability community for 18 years. This has included educational efforts, commercial outreach, environmental activism and participating in global lobbying efforts for better regulations and the protection of people impacted by environmental changes and catastrophes.
In 2020, EcoPlum is a VIP Prime Sponsor of the Broadway Green Alliance concert You’re a Mean One, Mr. Finch on December 18th. The show features Idina Menzel and Javier Muñoz, along with other Broadway stars. The company has partnered with the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) for many years to source products that will reduce waste generated by the theater community. EcoPlum sold reusable utensil sets to BGA for its production teams, replacing disposable plastic ones. EcoPlum has also been a reseller of “upcycled” Broadway products made from old billboards.
Over several years, EcoPlum organized and participated in numerous seminars and workshops designed to educate the community about various aspects of sustainability, including topics like corporate social responsibility, sustainable food, and safe cosmetics.
The company has been active in the We Are Still In coalition (including nearly 4000 participants) endorsing U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and is a member of Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC). It has also participated in the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners’ Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Locally, EcoPlum has participated in Earth Day and Earth month activities, recycling drives and efforts to “green” the schools.
EcoPlum has national certification as a women-owned business by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), has federal contracting designation as a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), and is a member of the American Sustainable Business Council. EcoPlum earned the coveted Green America Business Gold Seal of Approval in 2011. In 2020, EcoPlum completed the assessment to become a Certified B Corporation. In the promotional products industry, the company is a member of the PPAI and ASI.
Climate Action Commitments
Current Climate Actions EcoPlum Is Taking:
Commit to Remove Commodity-driven Deforestation from Supply Chains
Restoring our forest’s ability to store carbon on a global scale is a critical and cost-effective climate mitigation solution. Making a commitment to eliminate deforestation means setting targets to assure key commodities in your supply chain (like palm, soy, beef, paper and pulp) are from deforestation-free sources. An ideal target could be to establish a disclosure and reporting plan for your supply chain and/or conversion to 100% deforestation-free commodities by 2020.
Commit to Reduce Climate Impacts of Packaging and Reducing Waste
There are many ways to reduce the climate impact of packaging including reducing materials (i.e., “source reduction”); replacing virgin materials with post-consumer recycled content; replacing traditional plastics made from fossil fuels with biopolymers; re-designing packaging to be more compact and therefore efficient for transport and storage; using biodegradable packing materials; and recycling at end of the packaging’s life to name just a few practices.
Commit to Responsible Engagement in Climate Policy
While individual organization action is necessary, local and federal government action is also needed to reach global climate goals. Your organization can have a critical voice in advancing public policy. A commitment to responsible engagement in climate policy means that your organization commits to supporting public policy to: promote energy efficiency and renewable energy; increase investment in a clean energy economy; support climate change adaptation, or put a price on carbon.
Commit to Reducing the Climate Impact of Your Transportation
Organizations making a commitment to reduce the climate impact of transportation should consider practices such as measuring transportation greenhouse gas emissions and setting reduction targets, switching fuels, optimizing the efficiency of shipping operations, and reducing transit- and travel-related greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses can develop a green transportation action plan to map the movement of goods to market and identify opportunities to increase efficiency. Organizations can buy hybrid and electric vehicles within their own fleet, and can reduce the footprint of their workforce through incentivizing public transportation, installing EV charging stations, promoting telework, and locating near transit centers.
Commit to Increase Your Use of Renewable Power
Increasing your percentage of renewable energy sources is a key component of reducing overall GHG emissions. Installing onsite renewable generation, like solar panels, is a good long-term strategy if possible. But renewable energy can also be procured through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), renewable power purchasing agreements (PPAs), and in some locations from retail electricity providers or local utilities that offers a high percentage of renewable power. Also consider becoming an EPA Green Power Partner.
Commit to Increase Energy Efficiency
Most companies begin by assessing energy usage or performing an energy audit to identify opportunities to increase energy efficiency throughout their facilities and operations. Energy reduction targets can be framed as either absolute reductions or reductions that are normalized per unit of production, such as per tons shipped, per dollars of revenue produced, or other relevant business metric. Some examples of commitments that can be taken include:
- Conducting an energy audit or request a meeting with your building owner to explore scheduling an audit
- Upgrading HVAC system to a more efficient model
- Upgrading lights in your office/facility to LEDs
- Upgrading insulation and windows
- Replacing appliances in your office with Energy Star-rated models
- Instituting a company policy of turning off lights other electronics when not in use.
New Climate Actions EcoPlum Commits To Take:
Commit to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutant Emissions
Short-lived climate pollutants—such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons—are powerful climate warmers many times more potent than CO2 over their lifetimes. Because they are short-lived in the atmosphere, actions to reduce these super pollutants can have substantial, near-term climate, agricultural and health benefits and are an essential complement to CO2 reduction strategies. Policy-makers can announce regulatory or voluntary approaches to drastically reduce SLCPs, such as developing methane strategies or adopting rules on use of warming HFCs. Organizations can commit to engage with suppliers to provide training, conduct pollutant inventories, and establish systems for tracking, measuring, and monitoring these types of emissions. Analysis shows that SLCP emissions can be cost-effectively reduced by an estimated 40-50 percent by 2030.
Policymakers, companies and organizations are encouraged to accept the #SLCPChallenge of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which calls for ambitious action on SLCPs. Feel free to elaborate on your work towards reduction, along with your other efforts, in the "Other Commitments" field below.
Commit to Building Climate Resilience in your Community
By committing to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, companies and institutions can secure their operations and supply chains and conserve natural resources that are stressed due to climate change. While there is much a business can do within their community, primary among these options is reducing water usage. Organizations can commit to increase their own water security through a range of actions, including installing water-saving devices, capturing rainwater for onsite uses, and recycling grey water. Or just commit to get engaged with your community in resilience planning.
Commit to Understand and Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Understanding your GHG emissions is the first step to making measurable reductions in those emissions. The EPA provides an overview report and CoolClimate Network provides a simple tool for “low emitters” to better understand sources of emissions, as well as how to use that information to set reduction targets. For this commitment, it is as simple as committing to complete a greenhouse gas inventory for your business or oganization, but in the future your inventory can be used to make a commitment to set a specific goal, such as “reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2025.
Integrate Climate Change into Portfolio Analyses and Decision-Making
Commit to integrate climate change-related risks and opportunities in portfolio analysis and decision-making processes through one or more of the following:
- Analyzing and assessing climate change-related risks and opportunities (e.g. through carbon footprinting, scenario analysis).
- Making commitments and setting targets (e.g. to carbon footprint reduction, to enhanced portfolio resilience, to decarbonization, including via the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition).
- Investing in low carbon investment funds and other products (e.g. low carbon indices, climate-aligned bonds).
Areas For Collaboration
We are interested in collaborating on the following:
- Encouraging more aggressive state energy efficiency policies
- Encouraging more aggressive state targets for electric vehicles and GHG standards
HFC Phase Down
- Encouraging states to adopt policies to phase out HFCs on an accelerated timeline
- Collaborate on climate and clean energy action, and to advocate for stronger climate policy at the local level
- Encouraging states to adopt incentive programs for forest management, tree cover expansion, and soil health
- Encouraging more aggressive state renewable energy policies