Best of TH: Sustainable Retailers, Part II

As with yesterday's chapter of the best of sustainable design, today's installment of the best of sustainable retailers showcases the variety to be had in sustainable lifestyle shopping. They run the gamut from health & beauty to gourmet food to fashion to random recycled and solar-powered gear, and some even have some last-minute gift solutions for the holiday procrastinators out there. For these charms, Greenloop, Real Goods, Hip & Zen and Viva Terra nailed down spots on the second episode of this list; details on each are below the fold. As ever, leave your suggestions for the second half of the best-of retailers in the comments section below.Like TreeHugger, Greenloop has discovered that a keen fashion sense and enthusiastic earth advocacy are not mutually exclusive. All of the products, ranging from apparel for men, women and kids, to accessories and body care, are made by conscientious companies who are committed to environmental stewardship through their use of sustainable materials, practices, and innovative approaches to doing business in a socailly and environmentally responsible manner. Greenloop's selection of modern, functional, high style clothing, bags, belts, footwear, and jewelry, paired with the best in organic and natural body care, gives you the opportunity to vote with your dollar for a cleaner, happier, more sustainable world. In addition to their commitment to environmental responsibility, fair trade, and the sweatshop-free workplace, Greenloop donates 1% of every sale to a group of non-profit organizations who work hard every day to make our planet a better place. So take it from them; make a conscious choice to make a difference, be good to yourself and be green. It's cool. ::Greenloop
Real Goods is one of our favorite places to go for gadgets, toys and sun-powered accouterments. They also have a great selection of indoor & outdoor home products and are well stocked with resources and products for healthy lifestyles. And Real Goods really walks the walk: in 1995, they took their original headquarters in Ukiah, California off the grid, using solar energy. That also created the first ever "off-the-grid" day in 1991, observed by over 10,000 people and created the "Tour of Solar Homes" in America, now attended by tens of thousands. Real Goods also created the Institute for Solar Living, allowing 600 students per year to get accredited education into renewable energy and solar living. Pretty impressive stuff from a company that will also sell you a water-powered calculator and a super low-flow showerhead. It all stems from a very TH-friendly attitude: "Rather than preaching that the sky is falling we have come to be perceived as a company with solutions. The Solar Living Center demonstrates what CAN be done, it shows the intelligent way out of our environmental dilemmas, rather than harping on negativity. We always maintain a CAN-DO attitude." Real Good obviously can-do enough to be one of the best sustainable retailers around. ::Real Goods
Hip & Zen has a wide variety of products to soothe those with a modern soul. Their purpose is to bring an eclectic blend of lifestyle products to forward-thinking people (that's you, TH readers!) and they've got something for just about everyone. From apparel to health & beauty to recycled paper vases to martini glasses, their collection intends to please the yogi, the modern afficianado and everyone in between. Ideals not usually combined come together as Hip & Zen seeks to nurture body and soul through an aesthetic identified by clean lines and a respect for the earth. They celebrate the beauty of simplicity, echoed in the careful selection of recycled, organic, hand-made, fairly traded, and natural products. Their unique offering is not limited by genre or function, but rather an uncommon devotion to design, beauty, and spirit. Just writing about them makes us feel more centered and peaceful; imagine what shopping there will do. ::Hip & Zen
Viva Terra (literally: living earth) wants everyone to celebrate life and honor traditions from around the globe. Such an inclusive mantra lends itself well to their diffuse offerings of sustainable goods. From the garden to the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom, Viva Terra's eco-sensibilities extend just about anywhere that pure ingredients and people and planet-friendly practicies can come together. They'll tempt your sweet tooth with gourmet chocolate, sweets and fresh fruit, and help stock your kitchen with products to whip the delightful confections into tasty treats. They'll help your garden grow green, and have goods to help you relax and feel good after a day cultivating organic heirloom apple trees. When it comes to treating yourself to an elegant, sustainable shopping experience, it's tough to beat a retailer with organic cheesecake. ::Viva Terra

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