Nearly 250 products have passed a stringent application process and will be featured in the SustainAbility: design for a better world exhibit returning to the New York International Gift Fair this summer. Acceptance criteria included eco-friendly products and production processes, exclusions for certain types of environmental pollutants, and socially responsible, philanthropic or fair-trade oriented business practices.
According to display curator Ilene Shaw, 133 companies out of 250 applicants were accepted for participation in the 2010 exhibit. While all products share "green" qualities, the display presents a diverse range of product categories, including tableware, stationery, personal accessories, juvenile products, and home décor.
"Consumer demand for high quality has entered the 'green' arena, and manufacturers are responding with upgrades to both craftsmanship and construction of these products," said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president. Additionally, before the Fair opens on August 14, several products within the exhibit will receive NYIGF's Degrees of SustainAbility distinction, indicating the product's level of earth-friendly production and materials. This ranking system, which was introduced in winter 2010 as part of NYIGF's continued commitment to showcasing best sustainability practices within the gift and home industries, followed NYIGF's adoption of a "zero tolerance" for any products with VOC; lead (for baby, children and food-related products); aniline dyes, formaldehyde and chlorine (for textiles); and PVC, without recommendation for use and disposal.
Members of NYIGF's SustainAbility Task Force will lead an informal and open-forum exploration of environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible best practices. The panel, moderated Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief of Metropolis Magazine, will include Enrico Bressan of Artecnica; Mark Caserta of 3R Living; Matthew Morris, retail, design, product development consultant; Colleen Pendleton of Aid to Artisans; Jessica Pope of Working Class Studio, SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design); and Jaime Salm of MIO.
Additionally, during market week, retailers will have the opportunity to vote for the most innovative, environmentally responsible products found within SustainAbility display, and winners will receive Eco Choice Award in three categories: "Most Innovative," "Most Sensitive Use of Materials" and "Most Sellable." The awards, sponsored by NYIGF and GREENRetailer, will be announced at the conclusion of the August 2010 NYIGF.
NYIGF takes place August 14-19, 2010, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Tickets to the panel are $20 advance and $25 onsite. Advance registration is available online.