ABC Home is the perfect name for a furniture store that really wants to drive home sustainable practices by going back to the basics. The cornerstone of this New York-based boutique’s push for new age sustainable consumer items is furniture made the old fashioned way: with natural materials by people nearby, without harmful effects on the local or global environments. Sounds simple enough, but according to the book The Plot to Save the Planet by Brian Dumaine, this undertaking was no easy feat.
ABC's symbol set makes it easier to know what you're getting in a couch like this.
In an effort to mitigate the chopping down of old-growth forests around the world, ABC’s CEO, Paulette Cole, traveled to her suppliers’ warehouses around the country to inform them that she was going to take her company “in a green direction.” Along with the need to confront many of her suppliers face to face, this led Cole to create “special labeling and information to educate the consumer, firsthand, about what they’re buying.” Low and behold, today Cole’s hard work and forward thinking has resulted in the symbols her company uses to display the positive, earth-friendly characteristics of the furniture in her showroom. A total of 18 eye-catching logos identify positive attributes of the furniture Cole hopes will help change the world. Symbols indicate cruelty-free pieces, recycled products, “pure” furniture (little or no toxins and VOCs) and other designations, including organic, local economy, indigenous, handmade and many more. A lot of thought was put into these logos, as Cole and her 300 employees at ABC Home have attempted to push the sale of eco-friendly goods in the face of cheaper, one-use products. Cole urges consumers to “use their dollars, values and individual self-expression as a way of voting to create a new green economy for a healthy planet and people.” And, as a “fashion-forward retailer in Manhattan [that] offers trendy couches, chairs, fabrics, and decorative items,” ABC Home is a good indicator of how green thinking is pushing the envelope, even in small businesses.