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Snapshots of Sustainability on Display


Consumers would more likely buy sustainable goods if stores promoted eco-friendly items more aggressively, according to recent market research. Recently I spent time scouting retailers to see how consumer shopping sentiment stacked up with the current eco-merchandising scene at a variety of retailers from Maine to Manhattan.

Urban Outfitters, midtown Manhattan: Near the front of the store, yet rather inconspicuous, a table layered with Urban Renewal fleece shirts; labels printed both in English and French.

The Green Store, Belfast, ME: Located on Main Street, the shop features a compost bin, sustainability signage, and a wide variety of eco items, from garments to gardening guides.

REI co-op, Orange, CT: A large section of the sales floor is devoted to re-sale of hardgoods and a smattering softgoods; the only other eco display offers a limited selection of reusable bags.

Target, Milford, CT: The store’s Universal Threads brand puts forth strong “responsible style,” “mindful materials,” and “worker well-being” messaging on a wide assortment of women’s clothing.

Uniqlo, Fifth Ave, NYC: Signage for recycled down and plastic dot the store’s vast landscape in addition to a mannequin outfitted in recycled down product located on the main floor.

Patagonia Outlet, Freeport, ME: Product repair is reason to party, reclaimed jacket material is sold as a hip, insulated quilted scarf, and a large “Climate Justice” poster welcomes shoppers.