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Stuff We All Get (SWAG)

May 11, 2023 | Daily Trek, Futuristic

SWAG - Radical Trekking - Ayelet Baron

People often assume everyone loves Stuff We All Get (SWAG). But at the end of the day, more of us are becoming discerning about the stuff we bring into our lives by questioning what we truly need.

Branded company items, including t-shirts, keychains, and pens, have been ways to show appreciation but is there a growing disconnect when it comes to SWAG? And when we donate money to a non-profit and receive a gift instead of the money going to support the cause, do we question?

Companies spend $242 billion annually on SWAG. However, 40% of these corporate gifts ranging from hoodies, mugs, to plastic items like lanyards and sunglasses, eventually end up in landfills according to ING. So, are we considering the unintended consequences of showing appreciation with stuff?

Last year, I ended up in Urgent Care while in the US. After seeing a doctor, not only did I get a bill but I was handed a bag of stuff. I needed a caring doctor who listened and provided help; not branded Urgent Care stuff.

In a world where more and more of us care about an organization’s social and environmental impact, is SWAG necessary? Do we really need more mass-produced free stuff?

Walking our talk means that individuals and organizations align words with actions. Maybe this is an opportunity to create meaningful corporate gifting that is not more stuff, otherwise referred to as ‘goodies.’ Can innovation come from the industry itself by creating a new way of valuing people and the planet?

Instead of more stuff, conscious leaders can provide experiences that demonstrate social stewardship and build trust. Is there a way to ensure gifts serve a real benefit and respect our environment? Perhaps organizations can invest in the intention behind a gift with clarity around the strategy before stuffing bags.

Corporate gifting generates 40 million tons of plastic waste in the US alone. And at the same time, 96% of millennial employees expect employers to be socially responsible. WeSpire claims that Gen Z is  the first generation to prioritize purpose over salary. Is it time to transform corporate gifting and create healthy ways to demonstrate appreciation?

We have an opportunity to question the way we approach corporate gifting and maybe retire the need for SWAG. Questioning serves as a real opportunity to have open dialogue to explore healthy possibilities that contribute to society.

Pablo Picasso reminds us that “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Perhaps gifts that touch our hearts and spark our imagination aren’t always material? Trusted relationships connect hearts and build purposeful communities that matter. What are you gifting today that brings lightness and joy?

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