| Dec 14, 2009 |
New green initiatives to launch at InspireDesign market
Boh staff
By Staff

Las Vegas Market will be emphasizing sustainability with the introduction of One Good World, a new program that encompasses many eco-friendly practices at World Market Center's trade complex, will further equip retailers with the insights, information and strategies needed to respond to the rising consumer demand for sustainable furnishings—and reduce one’s own carbon footprint in the process.

The effort includes a new sustainable products locator program, showcased manufacturers throughout the market, an expanded educational offering including prominent celebrity designers speaking on sustainability, consumer research, and a digital newsletter to launch next year. Soon World Market Center will announce a sustainability leadership congress slated for early 2010 featuring pre-eminent organizations from government, environmental groups, manufacturers, retailers, interior designers and consumer media focused on wood sourcing.

“The green economy is not coming fast— it is already here. Being ‘green’ is more than a principle and more than a trend; it is a sound business practice. Taking proactive actions to respect our environment is now a business reality and increasingly critical to our industry,” says World Market Center Las Vegas President and CEO Robert Maricich, “There’s a lot of good product out there, but it can be confusing and hard to find. We are taking big steps to help resolve any confusion – connecting suppliers, retailers and even consumers in this new era of sustainability and accountability.”

One component of this major initiative includes One Good Guide—designed to help buyers find legitimately sustainable products anywhere on the campus of World Market Center. This will include all participating permanent showrooms as well as the long-running, eco-friendly temporaries on the 2nd Floor of Building B. Interested participants will have to submit an Application to the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) with specific declarations about their materials usage, transportation, wood sourcing, VOC emissions, and if submitting for upholstery, foams used in cushioning. They also must be verified to be showing and offering sustainable products at market, not merely available options.

One Good Guide was developed in conjunction with SFC, the Sustainable Furnishings Council. SFC will perform verifications for all applicants. Participants will be listed in a special section of the WorldDirectory distributed to thousands of buyers at Las Vegas Market, and will receive window decals and showroom signage to call attention to their status, along with additional on-line marketing and public relations support.

“World Market Center’s approach to advancing meaningful green initiatives is an example for our industry, relying on facts rather than opinions,” said Jeff Hiller, President of Sustainable Furnishings Council. “This commitment was evident in their sponsorship of national consumer research earlier this year, and in their new Good Guide sustainable exhibitor directory program. Unlike other markets which rely on self-reporting, World Market Center is employing an industry first vetting process on critical issues such as indoor air quality and wood sourcing to ensure the legitimacy of claims. This is the only defense against the green-washing that exists.”

Hiller refers to One Good Guide as an “at-a-glance-but-with-teeth” tool for buyers. “With so much confusion around eco labels, there is growing concern about all issues of sustainability. Producing the Guide will help all who shop the market as they shop but also as they go home and market and sell the merchandise. This is the information retailers need to differentiate their stores and products and to close the sale,” added Hiller.

In addition to the latest offerings, World Market Center focuses on educating buyers and sellers on ecological issues at every market. DESIGNINGreen will be a green interior design symposium featuring several prominent figures such as HGTV’s Angelo Surmelis and brand icon Kathy Ireland among others who are part of a national consumer print campaign about to launch. The Market is also hosting the SFC in staging their GREENleaders Certified Sustainability Training, an industry first 6-hour exam course for accreditation as a local market expert in green furnishings (6 ceu). The course was offered for the very first time at Las Vegas Market in February 2009 with great success and now has certified more than 150 graduates.

Recent surveys among retailers reinforce the growing interest in going green. Last September, 80 percent of Las Vegas Market designers and retailers said they believe sustainable home furnishings are very to moderately important to their business. These same buyers were asked whether they were looking to purchase sustainable products while at Las Vegas Market and 55 percent said “yes” while another 21 percent stated they were “considering it.”

World Market Center underwrote a national consumer study to understand awareness, purchase interest, price sensitivity, and other important concerns related to green furnishings. The study revealed consumers are significantly interested in purchasing sustainable home furnishings, with two important qualifiers: If they like the style and it costs about the same. If both style and price are on par, more than 80 percent of consumers indicate some level of interest.

World Market Center regularly recycles packing material, as much as 70 percent of all refuse is recycled on site, and has put into circulation environmentally friendly products whenever possible, from water bottles, paper and plastic materials that contain a higher level of recyclable material. The Center also created a co-op marketing effort for its tenants and exhibitors, offering partners an email blast program instead of printed postcards.

The Winter 2010 Las Vegas Market is scheduled for February 1 – 5, 2010 at World Market Center Las Vegas. Attendees can register and reserve discounted rooms online now at www.LasVegasMarket.com.

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