Design For A Better World™ Showcases “green” Activities At NYIGF

Balancing environmental responsibility with both on-trend product design and profitable business practice is the focus of SustainAbility: design for a better world, a special curated exhibit and three-part educational program returning to the 155th semi-annual New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF ), August 16-21, 2008.

This summer, SustainAbility will examine worldwide industry efforts that have an immediate and measurable impact on the health of the planet and its communities. It will explore which countries are supporting ecological efforts and which manufacturers have balanced 21st century technology with eco-friendly means and ways. It also will demonstrate how these humanitarian goals are furthered through commercial design and activity.

"NYIGF's continued commitment to sustainable products and processes – through both display and education – mirrors the growth and importance of this issue to our industry and to society at large, " said Dorothy Belshaw, Senior Vice President and NYIGF Director. "Our ever-expanding efforts will help to showcase the products and producers who are making a positive impact on our world through their business activities."

This August, the SustainAbility display will showcase global gift and home industry suppliers whose products or production processes are eco-friendly, as well as companies whose corporate philosophies are socially responsible, philanthropic or fair-trade oriented.

According to exhibit curator, Ilene Shaw, of Shaw + Co! Productions, three criteria are considered when selecting products for inclusion: "Green" products, manufactured or constructed with only recycled, recyclable and/or sustainable materials; Environmentally-friendly production processes, use of alternative sources of energy in production, including wind, sun, and alternative fuels; and Socially-responsible business practices, production by indigenous peoples, creation of viable, sustainable trades and markets in developing communities worldwide, or donation of percentage of product sales to not-for-profit organizations.

As a result of this rigorous screening process, some 85 companies have been accepted, to date, and a wide array of tableware, glassware, jewelry, personal care, accessories and furnishings will be featured. Product highlights include the Liquid Clock, which runs on liquids rather than batteries, by Don Mark.Com, Inc.; biodegradable pet waste bags and recycled dispensers by Harry Barker, Inc.; silicone Doileez by Modern Twist; and chestnut vases crafted from American Chestnut wood spindles by Walnut Hill Crafts, Inc. A full participant list, including detailed product descriptions, will be posted online at after June 1.

A three-part seminar program, addressing sustainable sourcing and product development, global sustainability efforts and activities and authentication and verification of sustainability, will be presented for retailers, manufacturers, designers. All sessions will be held on Monday, August 18, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Seminars cost $20 in advance and $25 onsite, and advance registration is available online at

From 8:00am – 9:00am, "Doing Well & Doing Good – Sustainable Sourcing and Product Development" will explore how gift and home suppliers are solving production and sourcing challenges by partnering with social enterprises and artisan communities at home and abroad. Manufacturers will learn how to utilize community-based, and community-building, production resources to secure high quality, sustainably-created and competitively-priced components and production capacities. Panelists include Jill Canales of 3Form, designer and Aid To Artisans consultant Docey Lewis, Susan Matteucci of Southwest Creations, and designer Lori Weitzner.

The second session, "Global SustainAbility Standards – Worldwide Efforts and the Impact on the US, " will take place 12:00 – 1:30 pm. Susan Szenasy, editor of Metropolis Magazine, will examine standards for sustainable commercial activity worldwide, with particular emphasis on international design and production benchmarks. The panel will explore the diversity of global efforts, perspectives and accomplishments through sustainable production and products in the market today and in the future.

"Stop the Greenwash – How to Verify SustainAbility" will be presented from 3:00pm – 4:30pm. Ken Rother, President & COO of TreeHugger and Vice President of Operations for Planet Green Interactive, will address the proliferation of sustainability claims and offer instruction on how to find out which certifications are authentic and which criteria are verifiable. An overview of criteria applicable to sustainable design, manufacturing and retailing will be presented.

NYIGF is the nation's premier gift and home accessory marketplace, with 2, 800+ exhibitors featuring an extraordinary breadth and depth of design-driven home fashion products and complementary giftware. NYIGF is held concurrently with EXTRACTS : New discoveries in beauty and wellness at the Javits Center and Home Textiles Market Week at NYIGF (at the Javits Center, Metropolitan Pavilion and Piers 92 & 94), 230 Fifth Avenue and 7 West 34th Street. Some 40, 000 buyers from around the world are expected to attend. Additional information and registration is available at

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