Shop Your Values Week
has arrived, meaning hundreds of conscious consumers will gather May 3-10 to enjoy some of New York City's most ethical dining and shopping outlets selected by ethikus.com
. If you haven't already taken the SYVW pledge, it isn't too late to introduce yourself to some of the city's most impressive small businesses — as well as the like-minded shoppers who frequent them.
Ethikus formed earlier this year in hopes of guiding both consumers and businesses toward responsible commerce. Already, they've done an excellent job of building a well-informed, ever-growing community.
"Making day-to-day sustainable purchasing decisions can be easy and fun," explains ethikus team member Nestor Bailly. "If we're all more aware about where we shop and eat, and follow up by shopping our values, we'll collectively make a huge impact."
SYVW will use events and discounts to promote small businesses that support the betterment of community, environment and employees. To do so, ethikus is offering just about every imaginable resource one could need for a week of value-based shopping and dining; a searchable directory
of ethical businesses, extensive information on the social benefits of participating outlets, collaborative Meetups
to draw inspiration from community members, and even "pro-tastes"
— a delightfully creative take on protests in which advocates armed with positive signs and slogans can commend progressive businesses.
"Participants will see how easy it is to align their purchases with their values in New York, and how easy it is to feel good about what they're spending," says Bailly. "They'll have access to great free events and discounts while discovering that many local businesses are sustainable and community focused — not just the ones who brand themselves as such."
Ethikus also planned plenty of community-building events
throughout the week to help SYVW pledgers bond, some of which include a free dance party, free bike tour, free BBQ with the White Roof Project, free Yoga Your Values Day and free home brew beer events.
All vendors participating in SYVW had to complete an extensive survey revealing their commitment to community improvement. They were asked, among many other questions, if employees are promoted from within and given formal training, if retailers work with suppliers to reduce excess packaging, if food is composted, if they donate product or time to local organizations, if they've done an energy audit, if their cleaning supplies are nontoxic and so forth.
Pledgers can look forward to celebratory incentives at each of these participating businesses, such as pre-fixed menus, discounts, donations or sustainable product giveaways. Some of ethikus's favorite offers include Veselka's free cup of borscht, Jill Anderson's 15 percent off all regular priced items, Green Table's free glass of wine on tap with purchase of an entree, 20 percent off at Murray's Cheese, and 25 percent off the Eco line frames at Spectacles of 7th Avenue when a complete pair is purchased.
Some of the green 'claims to fame' of participants
While all businesses part of SYVW have shown they're profoundly impacting the local economy, here are a few standout examples ethikus is especially proud to promote:
4Food is technologically advanced and very sustainable, 75% locally & organically sourced. They provide healthcare & dental benefits to full & part-time employees as well.
Brooklyn Grange, which has the largest rooftop farm in the country.
Think Coffee's owners personally know every producer represented in their coffee blends and have been to all their farms.
61 Local has great local beers and products, and features the home brews of local brewers.
Rouge Tomate is high-end and sources sustainably and locally.
What you need to know
During the week, pledgers can also sign up to receive future invites and information related to environmentalism, business ethics, healthy eating and social activism. Ethikus will then follow up with volunteers to help them join more long-term community initiatives. SYVW, after all, is only the beginning.
"Stay tuned for future offerings from ethikus that will make day-to-day ethical consumption easier and more fun," says Bailly. "The next Shop Your Values event isn't far off!"
You can join the ongoing conversation on ethical shopping by liking the ethikus Facebook page
and following them on Twitter
. Also, be sure to upload any pictures you have of #SYVW street art to the ethikus Facebook page to enter their contest.