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What's trending in ethics and sustainability in lower Manhattan?

We've surveyed nearly 75 stores and restaurants South of 14th Street to find out what's trending around ethics and sustainability. We've found both room for improvement and cause for hope. Here's why...

1 IN 4 local stores surveyed provide healthcare for employees.

Don't Trip! One quarter of stores surveyed provide healthcare to employees. Out of those, one provides these benefits to part-time staff.

1 IN 6 local stores surveyed provide formal training for employees.

Help me learn! Yes, the economy is tough, so maybe our local stores provide other benefits? We've found that slightly more than 15 percent provide formal training for their employees. Case in point - one hair salon near you hosts formal training sessions on how to use specific hair products, and how to evaluate the nuances of one product vs. another.

7 IN 10 local stores surveyed are engaged with the community.

For example, one east village pizza spot bakes 15 pies for the Bowery Mission every evening. Another restaurant donates "at least 100 gift certificates a year to school fundraisers." We've found another store that donates $500 worth of goods and services each month to community causes and organizations.

1 IN 2 shops surveyed use green cleaning products.

Clean and Chemical Free!. Just over half of the local merchants surveyed use green cleaning supplies or make their own cleaning solutions out of vinegar, water and baking soda. (Since learning this technique, many on the ethikus team have also started making their cleaning solutions at home!)

7 IN 10 restaurants surveyed use use local ingredients.

Locally sourced! More than 70 percent of the restaurants source at least some of their food locally. Just under half of the non-restaurants surveyed source some of their key products locally.

3 IN 5 restaurants surveyed use organic ingredients.

Pesticide free! Over 60 percent of the restaurants surveyed feature at least 1 organic dish on the menu. But we heard from several restaurants that minimum order requirements for organics are a challenge. Many places are too small to be sure that their orders wouldn't go bad before being served.


*Based on ethikus' initial surveying of 50 local stores and restaurants from the West Village to the East Village.

Help Us Create Change in Downtown Manhattan.

Are there stores in downtown Manhattan you'd like us to evaluate? Are there some doing such good work that they're a must to be featured? Let us know about them! Please write your suggestions below: