| Nov 20, 2009 |
'Natural' is the new norm at 2010 NYIGF
Boh staff
By Staff

A special exhibit showcasing "green" gift and home products and business practices will expand in January at the 2010 New York International Gift Fair to feature 220 products with emphasis on design simplicity and eco-friendly manufacture.

Participation in the display, SustainAbility: design for a better world, is limited to suppliers whose products or production processes are eco-friendly, or companies whose business practices are socially responsible, philanthropic or fair-trade oriented. As part of the stringent criteria for acceptance, NYIGF has introduced a new "zero tolerance" policy 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.

From the 130 applicants, some 90 companies have been accepted into the SustainAbility exhibit. Exhibit curator Ilene Shaw of Shaw + Co! Productions commented, "Display participants are proud to be green and it's visible. They have fully adopted an eco- and socially-responsible approach to products, production and business practice. As a result, green materials are more easily available and the variety and diversity of materials and choices have broadened. 'Natural' is becoming the new norm."

According to Shaw, there were three common trends among winter 2010 display applicants: natural tones, clean unfinished woods, natural textiles and under saturated colors; heightened emphasis on technique (i.e. carving in woods rather than painting patterns on wood); and most importantly, integration of green business practices, such as philanthropic and community support, as well as green production practices, whether by using natural and alternative energy sources or by greening offices, showrooms and manufacturing facilities.

"Green is becoming more mainstream in the gift and home industry, and NYIGF is taking a leadership position in the green arena, bolstered by the success and acclaim of SustainAbility," said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and senior vice president. "During the winter market we will publish criteria that the industry can use to identify green products and producers, and rankings that indicate the extent to which a product or producer is eco-friendly."

In addition to the exhibit, two seminars will provide background on "green" consumer behavior and sustainable business practices. On Monday, February 1, from 12:00 to 1:30 pm, "It's Easy Being Green: A Conversation with 'Green Guru' Scot Case" will address what motivates consumers to buy green and how to address their needs without overstating the environmental benefits of a product or service. Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief of Metropolis Magazine, will interview Case, vice president of TerraChoice and executive director of the EcoLogo Program.

The ECO CHOICE Awards, which debuted during the summer market, will return in January to recognize the most innovative, environmentally responsible products found within NYIGF's SustainAbility display. The awards, sponsored by NYIGF and GREENRetailer, give retailers the opportunity to vote in the categories of "Most Innovative," "Most Sensitive Use of Materials," and "Most Sellable." Winners and finalists will be announced at the conclusion of the winter 2010 NYIGF, and profiled in the spring 2010 issue of GREENRetailer.

NYIGF runs January 30 through February 4, 2010, at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Passenger Ship Terminal Pier 94. Information and registration is available online at www.nyigf.com.

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