A trophy made of tree branches sitting in the forest.
Badges And Medals prides itself on being a sustainable business. Find out why!

Thinking about teaming up with Badges And Medals, but want to check that we’re sustainable before signing the dotted line? We understand. Just like you check for eco-friendly ingredients at a supermarket or research a store's production methods before buying their clothes, it's normal to be wondering how sustainable your award supplier is. People nowadays prefer working with companies who share their values, especially when it comes to being environmentally responsible.

Our commitment to the environment is not just a statement; it's how we do business. We've been audited as environmentally responsible - not once, but twice! We have embedded sustainability into every facet of our operations, from how our awards are produced to how they're packaged.

This is because we strive to do business in a way that:

  • Makes people aware of their environmental impact.
  • Helps to protect and regenerate the planet.
  • Upholds the rights of workers and keeps them safe.

In this article, we will unravel the layers of our sustainable practices. We will show how every insignia and token we create is a testament to our dedication to a greener, more responsible future.

Ways That Badges And Medals Is Sustainable:

  1. Our products are made-to-order:

The common approach in many industries involves producing items in advance. We follow a more sustainable practice: the 'sell first, then produce' model. By making our products within days of your order being placed, we stop the creation of surplus stock. This removes the environmental impact we would have had manufacturing, transporting, and storing this stock. It also circumvents the need to dispose of unsold items, resulting in a reduction of waste.

  1. We use eco-friendly materials:

Wherever we can, we at Badges And Medals try to use sustainable or recycled materials for our awards.

Materials are sustainable if they can be responsibly sourced in the long run, with little impact on the environment. A truly sustainable material can also be recycled or composted at the end of its life. Meanwhile, a recyclable material can be reused at the end of its life, but its production involves a lot of resources, high energy consumption, or contributes to environmental degradation. Both material types benefit the environment by diverting waste from landfills, conserving resources, and fostering a circular economy.

Our crests, challenge coins, badges, and most of our medals are made of the metal mix zinc alloy, plus a bit of brass or copper for strength. These awards are easily recyclable post-event. Half of the metal medals we make are from a zinc alloy that has already been recycled!

Our wooden medals and trophies are made from three types of wood:

  • 28 per cent of our wood comes from a supplier with a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. The certification is internationally recognised. It proves timber is being sustainably harvested, with the goal of preserving forests and biodiversity. 
  • 57 per cent of our wood is sustainability-sourced basswood.
  • The remaining 15 per cent of our wood comes from a business that recycles timber which would have otherwise gone to landfill. Think wooden skirtings, fence posts, and beams. Currently, we make our wooden trophies from buildings that fell during the Christchurch earthquake in 2011.

Unfortunately, our ribbons are plastic, and we're still looking at ways to improve on that.

A graph showing where Badges And Medals sources its sustainable wood.

  1. We have green production practices:

We understand that being environmentally responsible goes beyond material choices. That's why we embrace eco-friendly production practices, ensuring that our impact on the environment is minimised at every stage. Here are some practices we use and how they benefit the world:

  • Each of our employees receives sustainability training twice a year. It reminds our staff of the company's commitment to being environmentally and socially responsible. It also encourages a culture of sustainability. The training concentrates on sustainable workplace practices, such as using resources efficiently, reducing waste, and ways to minimise our carbon footprint.
  • We recycle our leftover metal at a local metal recycling facility, where it's given a second chance at life. Our waste wood is taken home by employees and reused.
  • Our offices are run by 80 to 85 per cent renewable electricity.
  • The machines we use to manufacture our awards were purchased due to their energy efficiency. They help reduce our energy consumption and, thus, our carbon footprint.
  • We buy our materials locally, where we can. This reflects our efforts to support local economies and minimise the environmental repercussions of transporting goods.
  • Once we make a mould for an award, we keep it for three to four years. This reduces the waste associated with disposable moulds and is a more sustainable option in the long run.
  • We are probably one of the only medal suppliers in the world to teach people how to upgrade their old event medals and offer it as a service. By swapping out the medal's old ribbon for a new one, we encourage people to breathe fresh life into their unused stock without the environmental toll of purchasing brand-new medals or throwing their old ones away. This reflects our commitment to delivering high-quality, sustainable medals in a flash, no matter the method.
  1. We support eco-friendly suppliers:

We want to give our money to suppliers who share our commitment to doing good. That's why, before signing with a new supplier, we do our homework. We use a strict set of sustainability and ethical criteria to suss out the impact that business has on both its workers and the environment.

At the least, our suppliers must provide their employees with fair wages and safe working conditions. They must also be committed to reducing their carbon footprint and using sustainable or recyclable materials. Our suppliers are reminded of our policies when we submit an order.

We prefer suppliers certified as having responsible labour and sustainability practices.

About 95 per cent of our materials come from two main suppliers. Here's how they're doing:

A graphic showing how eco-friendly Badges And Medals' two main suppliers are.

  1. We have eco-friendly packaging:

Packaging our products is unavoidable. Many of our products are ordered in multiples, and made from robust materials like wood and metal. Left unprotected, they could damage each other during transportation. That's not what anyone wants, especially after waiting weeks for the custom award.

That's why we use three layers of protection: outer packaging, inner packaging, and product packaging. Currently about 80 per cent of all our packaging is made of reused, sustainable or recyclable materials. That means for every tonne of packaging we buy, about 800kg is eco-friendly.

Let's peel back each layer:

  • Outer packaging:
    Our boxes are made from 100 per cent recycled materials and can be reused or recycled (again) once they arrive on your doorstep, making them a sustainable long-term solution.

  • Product packaging:
    Inside these boxes, about half of our products are packed in recyclable, unprinted paper, with plans to extend this practice to the rest of our items. At the moment, these paper-wrapped products are bundled in a large plastic bag for safety. But using paper instead of plastic still slashes our plastic usage by an impressive 80 to 90 per cent, compared to the traditional method of packing each award in individual bags. The paper also speeds up the unpacking process. We aim to phase single-use plastic bags out of Badges And Medals by 2025.

  • Inner packaging:
    All the packaging we use to cushion products during transit is made from recycled or reused materials. From repurposing packing peanuts that arrive at our offices to bubble wrap partially made of recycled plastic, we've ensured that our inner packaging aligns with our sustainable vision.
  1. We offset carbon emissions:

Carbon emissions are the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. They're primarily caused by human activities, like burning fossil fuels such as oil or gas. These emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to global warming and climate change.

We are currently calculating emissions across our business. Yet, we recognise that Badges And Medals' biggest contribution to climate change is likely the transportation of our products. For context, receiving some product materials via cargo ships caused 152.8 kilograms of CO2 to be emitted in November 2023.

We must counterbalance the climate impact of our business.

That's why we've taken decisive action by investing in the following carbon offsetting schemes:

  • Reforestation:
    Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow and store it, making forests one of the biggest carbon sinks (aka absorbers) on the planet. We help contribute to forest restoration through our partnership with the non-profit environmental charity One Tree Planted. It plants one tree in the Amazon Rainforest region for every 100 medals we sell, once we get the go-ahead from our client. The trees also rebuild natural canopy ecosystems! On top of this, we will also plant 125 trees every month between April 2024 to March 2025 - a total of 1500 trees!

  • Carbon credits:
    We've partnered with freight forwarder Explorate to track and counter our emissions in real time using offset credits. For every freight shipment we order, we buy credits which go towards into projects that restore or absorb the same amount of carbon emissions that the shipment produced.
  1. We support community initiatives:

Every large medal order we send out means two fewer plastic bottles hitting the ocean thanks to our partnership with Plastic Bank. It's more than just a drop in the bucket – it's a meaningful move to protect our precious water resources and save marine life. So far, we've helped to remove over 22.7 tonnes of plastic. That's the same weight as four adult African elephants! Once the plastic is collected, it's turned into plastic feedstock, which is used to make new plastic products.

If you want to learn more about how our suppliers are performing business ethics-wise, read our article 'Is Badges And Medals An Ethical Business?’.

A graphic showing that 22.7 tonnes of plastic is equal in weight to four African elephants.
These statistics are accurate as of March 2024.


Make your future sustainable!

You came here wondering if Badges And Medals is sustainable and can leave here thinking "Absolutely!". We've shed light on our sustainable practices, demonstrating how we can offer you not just world-class products but a partnership grounded in environmental stewardship.

Just look at what you’ve learned! We're certified as environmentally responsible. So are our main suppliers. We offset our carbon emissions, use recyclable or sustainable materials, and support community initiatives that better the planet. We invite you to join us in making a lasting impact. Contact us for a free quote or design consultation. Let's bring your vision to life in a way that reflects your commitment to a greener future!

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