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NY 'SustainAbility' project highlights growth of green design
Dec 1, 2011

Showcasing the growth in demand and availability of eco-friendly and socially-respectful consumer products, the SustainAbility: Design for a Better World project incorporates a juried exhibit of sustainable gift, home and lifestyle products, the Eco Choice Awards recognizing product innovation, and a new partnership with Green America to produce a seminar series addressing sustainability and socially-responsible business practices.
Now entering its fifth year, this initiative takes place at the winter 2012 New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF), Saturday, January 28, through Thursday, February 2, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. 
From nearly 200 applications, exhibit curator Ilene Shaw of Shaw + Co! Productions has selected 250 products from 119 companies from around the world to be featured in the winter 2012 display.  Acceptance criteria included eco-friendly products and production processes, as well as socially-respectful, philanthropic or fair-trade oriented business practices.
“It’s increasingly evident that sustainable materials and green manufacturing processes are becoming pervasive across new product categories,” said Shaw. “Consumers now have access to diverse choices in green products.”
Among the wide variety of products selected for the SustainAbility display are the Bow Bins from Areaware, handmade by the indigenous Aeta people in the Philippines from sustainably harvested rattan and recycled plastic; the Bincho Water Bottle by Black+Blum, a reusable water bottle with a natural filter; Pureblocks by Geared For Imagination, bio-resin blocks for child’s play which are compostable and biodegradable; and the Big Piggy Solar Charger by Scratch-Tracks, LLC, which provides gadgets a backup power supply.  A full SustainAbility participant list is available online.
NYIGF participants will be invited to vote for their favorite “green” products in the SustainAbility display through the Eco Choice Awards.  At the conclusion of NYIGF, winners of “Most Innovative,” “Most Sensitive Use of Materials” and “Most Sellable” will be announced by awards co-sponsors NYIGF and GREENRetailer.
The SustainAbility display will be complemented by a two-track “green” seminar series created in partnership with Green America – a national nonprofit organization promoting ethical consumerism.  On Monday, January 30, “How to Make Your Business Green: A Roadmap to SustainAbility,” will be presented from 12:00 to 1:00PM. This panel discussion, moderated by chief business officer Russ Gaskin, will cover tools and best practices to make a business more eco-friendly and socially-respectful. Panelists include Jacquelyn Ottman, author of Green Marketing; Desiree Reese of Green Business Network, Green Business Certification/Transparency; and Ajax Greene, green business consultant and mentor.
On the same day, “How Green is Green? Determining & Weighing Degrees of SustainAbility” will be presented from 3:30-4:30PM. This panel, moderated by Alisa Gravitz, executive director of Green America/Green Festivals, will explore basic certifications and characteristics making a product “green,” as well as factors which determine where products falls on the green continuum. Panelists include PJ Stafford of Green Irene and Honest Green Wholesale; Gia Machlin of Eco-Plum; and Colleen Pendleton of AID TO ARTISANS.
Tickets for both sessions – to be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center – are $20 advance and $25 onsite for a single session; or $30 in advance and $40 onsite for both sessions. As an added bonus, all seminar registrants will receive Green America’s “Roundtable Journal: Sustainable Business Practices by Industry Leaders” and “Small Business Survey on Green Practices.” Advance registration is available online

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