NYIGF Rolls Out Sustainability Ranking Initiative

 A new “Degrees of Sustainability” initiative will debut at the winter 2010 New York International Gift Fair in connection with the Fair’s SustainAbility: design for a better world® exhibit and educational program. Seven of the winter 2010 display participants have been designated as achieving the highest level of sustainability for their products, production processes and business practices.

This initiative, the gift and home industry’s first comprehensive environmental criteria, ranking and recognition system, according to NYIGF officials, outlines criteria for environmentally friendly and socially responsible products and production methods, and establishes a ranking system for adherence to these criteria. This initiative was developed by NYIGF in cooperation with its recently formed “Sustainability Council,” an advisory board of green leaders in gift and home design, manufacturing, retail and consulting.

“The gift and home industry has embraced the movement toward sustainability, but until now there has been no uniformity in the definition or application of ‘green’,” said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president. “Through development of this ‘Degrees of SustainAbility’ criteria and ranking system, we have developed a common framework for industry consideration of both ‘green’ products and producers.”

Degrees of SustainAbility outlines industry-specific criteria to identify green products and producers. A three-tiered ranking indicating the extent to which a product/producer complies to these standards. From lowest to highest, the rankings are:

• SustainAbility1 – products which are manufactured or constructed with only recycled, recyclable and/or sustainable materials; and with “zero tolerance” for VOC: lead (for baby, children and food-related products); aniline dyes, formaldehyde and chlorine (for textiles); and PVC, without recommendation for use and disposal.

• SustainAbility2— products meeting above criteria, plus use of environmentally friendly production processes, such as renewable or alternative sources of energy in production, including wind, sun, and alternative fuels.

• SustainAbility3— products meeting above criteria, plus adherence to socially responsible business practices and/or Fair Trade products made by indigenous peoples which create viable, sustainable trades and markets in poverty-stricken and needy communities worldwide, and donation of percentages of sales to not-for-profit organizations.

NYIGF’s SustainAbility: design for a better world® exhibit will feature approximately 220 gift, home and lifestyle products which meet the SustainAbility1 criteria. This winter, seven of the companies participating in the display have been designated as attaining SustainAbility3, the highest ranking. Companies that have reached the SustainAbility3 level are 80 Acres of McEvoy Ranch, bambu, EcoJot, Fab Habitat, Fire & Light Originals, Jonathan’s Spoons and The Green Glass Company.