Nov 13, 2010
Multi-Faceted “SustainAbility” Program Returns To NYIGF

White Plains, NY – SustainAbility: design for a better world®returns to the New York International Gift Fair® (NYIGF®) this winter as a multi-faceted program, incorporating a juried exhibit of nearly 200 “green” gift, home and lifestyle products, the Eco Choice Awards recognizing eco-product innovation, and an educational series addressing sustainability and fair trade business practices. All SustainAbility activities will take place during the NYIGF, Saturday, January 29, through Thursday, February 3, 2011, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

“Our industry’s awareness of sustainability – both in terms of eco-friendly materials and production processes socially-responsible business practices – continues to grow with some 15% or our overall audience indicating an interest in sustainable, recycled and green products,” said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president.  “NYIGF launched our SustainAbility project in 2008, and it has evolved to meet the needs of both buyers and suppliers.”

The winter 2011 SustainAbility display, curated by Ilene Shaw of Shaw + Co! Productions, will feature nearly 200 products from 85 companies from around the world. The stringent acceptance criteria not only included eco-friendly products and production processes, but also socially responsible, philanthropic or fair-trade oriented business practices. A full SustainAbility participant list, including detailed product descriptions, will be available online, after December 15, at

“Increasingly, companies are connecting philanthropic contributions to their revenues, and increasing their emphasis on corporate responsibility,” said display curator Ilene Shaw.  “We’re also seeing a greater number of businesses working with alternative energy sources in the manufacturing process.”

The products selected for inclusion in the SustainAbility display represent a diverse range of categories, including tableware, stationery, personal accessories, juvenile products, and home décor. Some examples include the PlayShapes set of 74 colorful geometric blocks made of replenishable rubber wood from Neo-Utility; the stylish cardboard Opa bag from I Design Distribution in Israel; the fine silver Makie vase created using recycled metals by Maya in England; a bamboo children’s tableware “Valancer” set from Tanuma Co. of Japan; and the Verre New York collection of jewelry made of glass and precious metals which can be melted down and reused.

Additionally, several products within the exhibit will receive NYIGF’s “Degrees of SustainAbility” distinction, which indicates exemplary earth-friendly production processes and materials. This ranking system incorporates “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.

During market week, retailers will have the opportunity to cast Eco Choice Awardsballots for products deemed “Most Innovative,” “Most Sensitive Use of Materials” and “Most Sellable.” Voting will take place Sunday through Thursday in the SustainAbilitydisplay, with the winners announced at the conclusion of NYIGF. The awards, sponsored by NYIGF and GREENRetailer, recognize the most innovative, environmentally responsible products found within SustainAbility.

The SustainAbility display is complemented by two educational seminars at theJavits Center. “It’s Easy Being Green – Just Ask the Experts!” will be held on Monday, January 31, from 12:00-1:30PM. 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, designer Stephen Burks and Jaime Salm of MIO.

On Tuesday, February 1, Carmen Iezzi, executive director of the Fair Trade Federation, will lead a panel discussion, “Demystifying Fair Trade,” from 12:00 –1:30PM. In addition to covering the basics of Fair Trade, the session will address the benefits of selling high-quality products with tremendous societal and cultural impact. Tickets for both sessions are $20 advance and $25 onsite. Advance registration is available online at

NYIGF runs Saturday, January 29, through Thursday, February 3, 2011, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Passenger Ship Terminal Piers 92 and 94. NYIGF is the nation’s premier gift, home and lifestyle marketplace, with 2,800 exhibiting companies featuring an extraordinary breadth and depth of design-driven home fashion products and complementary giftware. Some 35,000 attendees from all 50 states and more than 85 countries worldwide are expected. Information and registration is available online at

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With it being her first industry event since joining the magazine in May, Gift Shop® Plus Managing Editor Ellen Wagner noticed trends throughout showrooms including sustainable products, flameless lights, and bold colors and prints. 🛍🥣🎄Check out her 21 Editor's Picks from 2024 Summer Atlanta Market: ... See MoreSee Less
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