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The winners of the PSI Sustainability Awards 2016

05.09.2016 09:23 Uhr PSI / PSI Sustainability Awards

Sustainability isn’t a trend, it’s an obligation. With that credo in mind, the PSI in 2016 again presented the PSI Sustainability Awards. Though only in its second year, the competition already delivers reliable proof of sustainability in the industry. On Friday night, the products, campaigns and companies that make the industry better and more sustainable were recognised in a festive ceremony at the magnificent Kurhaus Wiesbaden. Mirroring last year’s premiere, the PSI Sustainability Awards 2016 were presented on 2 September in eight categories: “Economic Excellence”, “Environmental Excellence”, “Social Excellence”, “Environment Initiative”, “Social Initiative”, “Sustainable Product”, “Sustainable Campaign” and “PSI Sustainable Company of the Year 2016”. Among the sponsors is Intertek, a leading global provider of quality assurance and safety solutions.


Once again this year, submissions reflected every facet of sustainability. This year’s winners included a children’s foundation promoting documented children’s aid projects in Germany and abroad; an initiative aimed at preserving ancient water channels in dry inner-Alpine valleys such as the Valais; an apple holder featuring a consistently sustainable design; textile pencils produced in a patented process from renewable, organically grown natural fibres; and a campaign that combined the introduction of a new regional product chain certification with 100 per cent transparency in order to enhance consumers’ emotional loyalty with phrases such as “from my local area”. 


The winners of the PSI Sustainability Awards 2016


Category 1: Economic Excellence 2016

Walter Medien GmbH

Print and calendar specialist Walter Medien boasts continuously high quality-management certification and auditing levels, including the ISO 9001 seal, the German ProzessStandard Offsetdruck (PSO), which is the foundation of ISO 12647, the QualitätsSiegel Digitaldruck (QSD) standard, and numerous innovation awards. As an often-recognised training company with equally award-winning trainee projects, Walter Medien GmbH stood out in particular because of its latest sustainability report, which documents everything in a clear and commendably transparent way. Thanks to this overall package, Walter Medien was able to secure the second victory in a row in the "Economic Excellence 2016” category.



Category 2: Environmental Excellence 2016
Karl Knauer KG

Traditionally sustainable: certified under ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, among other standards, the packaging and promotional products company Karl Knauer decided early on to adopt sustainability as a business principle. Meaningful, documented figures as well as investments in the continuous improvement of environmental performance scores in energy, water, waste, emissions, material sourcing and eco-friendly finishing catapulted the company from Biberach to the top of the list of nominees in Category 2, “Environmental Excellence 2016”.



Category 3: Social Excellence 2016
Giving Europe GmbH

Giving Europe’s victory in the “Social Excellence 2016” category of the PSI Sustainability Awards on the occasion of the company’s 15th anniversary might well be the most beautiful achievement of this year’s competition. The award was presented for Giving Europe’s transparent and well-documented social standards, which far exceed the legally required minimum norms. That’s equally true for the international manufacturing sites of company suppliers and for the social commitment of the European headquarters. As such, the promotional products importer, which is structured in accordance with ISO 26000 CSR guidelines and, among other things, BSCI and SA8000 certified and audited under the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) Best Practice Guidance, distinguished itself as one of the leading representatives of its profession when it comes to social commitment.



Category 4: Environmental Initiative 2016
Victorinox AG – Cultural Landscape Conservation Project

The award in the “Environment Initiative 2016” went to a highly original project against climate change, for conservation and for tourism promotion. Collaborating in a project with the Swiss Landscape Protection Foundation, Victorinox AG is acting as a strong advocate for the significance of protecting cultural landscapes by committing to the preservation of ancient water channels in dry inner-Alpine valleys such as the Valais and Val Müstair. The partnership is investing a total of 90,000 Swiss francs in concrete measures over a period of three years. What’s more, the involvement of employees via the company’s in-house “Green Shield” initiative for practical environmental protection makes the project particularly authentic.



Category 5: Social Initiative 2016

Faber-Castell AG – The Earl of Faber-Castell Children’s Foundation

The foundation of the victory in the “Social Initiative 2016” category was laid by the pioneering social charter implemented by the winner, Faber-Castell. The Earl of Faber-Castell Children’s Foundation was created in 2001 with the aim of providing organisations and aid initiatives with the necessary financial and material means to reach documented children’s aid projects in Germany and abroad. Based on tenets such as tolerance, non-violence and freedom of expression, support is provided to children’s hospitals, orphanages, child care facilities, schools and projects aimed at improving opportunities for children – regardless of religious denomination or nationality. Awarding the PSI Sustainability Award in the “Social Initiative 2016” category, the jury recognised the elevated level of the company’s internally networked social mindset and its significant external impact on communities and society at production sites worldwide.



Category 6: Sustainable Product 2016

Touchmore GmbH and Blikvanger, Amsterdam, NL – logoloop

This is what champions look like: carbon-neutral printing in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard along with equally carbon-neutral processing, NaturOffice certificate for print production, FSC Mix-certified cardboard from paper mills powered by 95 per cent biofuel, electricity from renewable resources, 100 per cent residual-waste prevention, and production in Europe to reduce CO2 transport emissions. The “logoloop” advertising flyer by Touchmore and Blikvanger is a communication tool with an ecological winner gene. Not for nothing, the jury called the joint German-Dutch project “perfect for customer talks and initial communication efforts that are as valuable as they are eco-friendly” and rewarded it with the win in the “Sustainable Product 2016” category. 



Category 6: Sustainable Product Set 2016

Präsenta Promotion International GmbH – “APPLEDAY” Apple Holder

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, a well-known English proverb proclaims in reference to the benefits of the healthy fruit. An apple, after all, contains more than 30 vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Anyone interested in using this natural wonder as a promotional product can do so with the consistently sustainable “APPLEDAY” product set by Präsenta Promotion International from Solingen. For example, the organic apples, the heart of “APPLEDAY”, are sourced in Germany’s Bergisches Land region. Meanwhile, the knife blade is produced using traditional processes in Solingen, the famous “City of Blades”. The FSC-certified wood for the apple holder and knife handle are sourced from the native European beech tree. Fittingly, the enclosed brochure and the packaging are made from eco-friendly paper. Here’s the jury verdict: “A very well-documented, down-to-earth product, excellent quality and durability, integrated in a coherent, easy-to-understand, certified concept – and thus worthy of an award!”



Category 6: Sustainable Product – Writing Instruments 2016

manaomea GmbH – Textile Pencils

“Sustainable connecting & creating – great idea, cool concept, authentic story”, the jury said in praising the winner of Category 6, “Sustainable Product – Writing Instruments 2016”. Made by Munich startup manaomea, the innovative textile pencils pack a powerful punch when it comes to resource conservation. They’re manufactured using a fair and eco-friendly patented process that does away entirely with wood. Used instead are biopolymers from agricultural waste and renewable, organically grown natural fibres such as jute and flax. The processed natural fibres are certified under IVN Best, Fair for Life, GOTS and OEKO-TEX Standard 100. Beyond sourcing fair and organic materials, the aim is to help local producers in India and Uganda to create more added value locally by shifting final assembly to their locations. “Design combined with sustainable and fairly produced products that tell a story”, reads the jury’s verdict. With that, the textile pencils were the kings among submitted writing utensils.



Category 7: Sustainable Campaign 2016

STAEDTLER MARS GmbH & Co. KG – “Local Wood from Bavaria” – PEFC Regional Label

A pilot project marked the introduction of a new standard for the German wood-processing industry called “Product Chain Certification of Wood Products – Specifications for the PEFC Regional Label”. In cooperation with the Bavarian State Forestry Administration, STAEDTLER Mars manufactures pencils from lime wood in Neumarkt in the Upper Palatinate region of Bavaria. The trees are grown in Lower Franconia in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable forestry operation. A film made by the Bavarian State Forestry Administration documents the production process from lime tree to a finished product that’s now eligible to carry the designation “Local Wood from Bavaria”. All that convinced the jury, which awarded the title “Sustainable Campaign 2016” to the pilot project involving STAEDTLER Mars. “The sustainability focus runs through the entire campaign with 100 per cent transparency, which contributes to emotional consumer ties to phrases such as ‘regional’ or ‘from my local area’.”



Category 8: Sustainable Company of the Year 2016

Karl Knauer KG


Lots of training opportunities, in-house education, flexible hours for work-life balance, a company-owned child care centre and the Karl Knauer Foundation for the promotion of social and cultural institutions in the region: Karl Knauer AG won the “Sustainable Company of the Year 2016” title for the excellently documented diversity of its social commitment and in-house economic and environmental initiatives. The victory was rooted in the huge number of certificates and awards bestowed upon the company and its products. Participating with well-documented submissions in all seven award categories, the packaging and advertising specialist from Biberach stood out as the most complete representative of a corporate sustainability philosophy and thus the logical choice for the overall victory in the PSI Sustainability Awards 2016.


No “greenwashing”!

Once again in 2016, transparency was a key prerequisite for participation in the PSI Sustainability Awards. Accordingly, aspiring award winners submitted convincing entries by making transparent their economic, environmental and social commitment. They were judged by an eight-member jury of experts: Michael Freter (PSI Managing Director), Lutz Gathmann (Designer), Ville Heimgartner (Sustainability Project Manager, Swiss Post), Miriam Kehl (Associate Director, Green Alley Investment GmbH), Michael Klöfkorn (Head of Corporate Sustainability, Bahlsen GmbH & Co. KG), Oliver Malat (Helpcentives), Christopher Martens (Compliance Manager, Leo Burnett GmbH) and Hugo W. Pettendrup (Founder and Managing Director, HP-FundConsult – The Bridge Between Profit and Non-profit). Various certificates were taken into account, of course, but submitting companies’ sustainable products, key non-certified initiatives and participation in campaigns were also given weight.


On special recommendation

The “Sustainable product recommended by PSI” seal made its debut this year. Evaluating the sustainable products at their meeting, the jury members had an opportunity to separately pick out a product they’d personally recommend. Products garnering more than 50 per cent of jury votes were awarded the “recommended” seal. The “Sustainable products recommended by PSI” were also announced at the ceremony. The following products were recognised: Die Stadtgärtner from Nordhorn with their “Seed Bomb”, Faber-Castell AG from Serin in Bavaria with the “GRIP 2001”, Lediberg GmbH from Lemgo with the “Appeel Collection”, KAHLA Thüringen Porzellan GmbH with the new “To-go Cup”, Victorinox AG from Ibach with innovative and more sustainably produced pocket knives, the “Blue Angel” calendar series by Zettler Kalender GmbH, and PlayMais, the creative and extraordinarily sustainable crafting toy by Dorsten.


About the PSI

The PSI (Promotional Product Service Institute) has been serving the European promotional products industry and its market participants as a service provider and networking platform for over 50 years. Its services support the daily work of 6,000 market participants such as manufacturers, importers, finishers, distributors and agencies. Key services include personalised consultation and product research as well as marketing, professional training, industry contacts and online product search solutions. These services enable member companies to generate new business and grow their profits long-term.

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