Sustainable NYC opened to provide New Yorkers with local, organic, fair trade, recycled, re-purposed, biodegradable, alternative energy products and gifts.
2. Our standards defined:
To ensure that products purchased from Sustainable NYC are made with respect for human working conditions, we mandate that all of our vendors who manufacture products overseas or import products comply with the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code:http://www.ethicaltrade.org/eti-base-code.
Sustainable NYC is a carbon balanced company. We buy annual carbon offsets from TerraPass to cover our store, product trucking and website server. We have also joined the World Carbon Database:
To ensure that products purchased from Sustainable NYC are made with respect for the planet, we have developed the following criteria. All products sold at Sustainable NYC meet at least 2 of these criteria:
We buy annual carbon offsets from TerraPass to cover all product trucking outside of 500 miles.
Petroleum or petroleum derivatives (propylene, butylene glycol).
Toxic preservatives (parabens - methyl, butyl, or ethylparaben; dizaolidinyl or imadazolidinyl urea; formaldehyde).
Harsh surfactants or sulfates (sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate; cocamide dea/lauramide dea).
Artificial colors or dyes.
Phthalates or dibutyl phthalate.
- Recycled, Re-purposed
We feature jewelry, gifts and home accessories made from recycled or re-purposed materials.We encourage our vendors to use containers made from recycled materials and to use recycled or re-used packing materials for shipping. We only provided used or recycled shopping bags for our customers.
All of our cleaners, detergents, disposables and beauty products are biodegradable.
- Alternative Energy
We strive to showcase the latest essential products using alternative energy.Though a solar charger may not make a significant impact on global warming, it may make a significant impact on consumer understanding and interest in renewable energy.
Verifying the Standards:
Verification is the biggest challenge for a small business since we don’t produce our own products in our own factories.We mandate that all of our vendors who manufacture products overseas or import products are members of the Fair Trade Federation or provide us with written confirmation that they comply with the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code: http://www.ethicaltrade.org/eti-base-code.
The countries of origin of each product are listed on our website.Before we consider any product, we ensure that it meets at least 2 of the criteria we have developed to ensure environmental integrity of the product (see above).
To maintain a high level of transparency, we want to present some challenges that we’ve encountered along the way, here are 3 cases:
Case 1: FSC "Certified" Flip Flops
We were so excited to offer FSC Certified Flip Flops over the summer, until a customer enlightened us on some bad practices perpetrated by the FSC (http://www.fsc-watch.org/).We became very concerned about promoting an FSC Certified product and needed more verification to feel confident about selling the product.Our vendor, who had personally visited the factory and plantation ensured us that the rubber trees were sustainably grown and harvested.In any case, we learned to be cautious of certifications.
Case 2:Natural "ECOCERT" Cosmetics
We were again very excited to finally find a brand of cosmetics that was natural, had the ECOCERT distinction and used biodegradable corn containers and recycled soy-printed packaging.However, being a little suspicious of the word “natural”, we decided to look closer and found that this line had a high hazard score on the Environmental Working Group website (http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com).In fact, 60% of all lipsticks on the market, including Max Factor, Revlon, etc, were less hazardous than this “natural” line!We then emailed and called the ECOCERT offices and got no response.Needless to say, we changed our minds.
Case 3:Recycled materials used to adorn new items. We have ordered recycled materials photo frames only to find out that it is actually a new frame with recycled tin or magazine paper glued on.
In addition, we ask all vendors to please use recycled, recyclable or reused packing materials. No no-biodegradable packing such as foam or bubble wrap please.