west elm Green
We believe small changes lead to bigger ones. We believe great design can be affordable, and that it can also make a positive impact on people and the environment. We're working to keep our prices reasonable and help sustainable products go mainstream. We believe labels have to mean something. We're committed to being clear about our standards, and we can speak about the story behind our products.
Green means different things to different people. What does it mean to west elm? west elm green products are either responsibly produced, certified organic, recycled, rapidly renewable or non–toxic. We won't make a claim unless we can back it up. For many of our textiles we use 100% organic cotton that's made without chemical pesticides, using processes that conserve water. We're committed to using non–toxic dyes that are better for the planet and responsibly-harvested woods that support healthy ecosystems.
We believe that being responsible means more than designing sustainable products—it's about being mindful of our impact on every level. We've seen where our passions can lead us. Our Emeryville, California store features a "living roof," solar power and air–conditioning that maximizes natural ventilation. We built everything from the ground up, using recycled materials and positioning ourselves near public transit. This store is part retail space, part idea lab. We see it not as a blueprint but a milestone. It tells us that creativity and commitment can take us far.
Our Catalog is about more than just pretty pictures. We only use paper that's certified to Forest Stewardship Council standards, meeting strict requirements for maintaining healthy forests and the critical ecosystems they support. We care about our environmental impact and we're working to produce and mail our catalogs as responsibly as we can. Customers who want to go a little greener also have the option to reduce unwanted catalog mailings.
A look behind the labels. In stores, in our catalog and on westelm.com, look for west elm green products labeled with an elm tree icon, a handmade icon or our green packaging label. These symbols identify products that are either responsibly produced, rapidly renewable, recycled, certified organic or non–toxic. We strive to get a little greener every day, whether working with nonprofit artisan groups or making sure our packaging is as socially responsible as what's inside. Here's a look behind our various labels.
Air Padded Package Every box we ship is packed with air pads that contain 98% air and only 2% recycled plastic. Air pads are more environmentally friendly than petroleum–based packing peanuts, and they're easier to clean up, too.
Artisan Made The nonprofit Aid to Artisans (ATA) creates economic opportunities for artisan groups around the world by linking them with new markets and buyers. Our ongoing commitment has made west elm ATA's largest retail partner, as well as the proud recipient of ATA's 2009 Distinguished Partner in Craft award.
Certified Organic Cotton Our 100% organic cotton textiles are certified from seed to shelf. They're responsibly grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, and they're dyed or printed with environmentally safe dyes.
Craftmark–Certified Craftmark, an organization that's part of the All India Artisans and Craftworkers Association, allows Indian artisans to certify their products as authentically handmade, and it connects them with broader consumer markets around the world.
FSC–Certified Devoted to safeguarding natural resources, the Forest Stewardship Council focuses its energies on establishing industry yardsticks for responsible forest management. Paper or wood products that carry FSC certification come from well–managed, sustainably harvested forests that meet strict environmental, social and economic standards. In 2006, west elm became one of the first major catalog companies to commit to printing entirely on FSC–certified paper.
GOTS Certified Our GOTS–certified textiles meet strict criteria set by the Global Organic Textile Standard. GOTS covers everything from the harvesting of raw materials to manufacturing, packaging and labeling, and it prohibits the use of such materials as heavy metals, genetically modified substances, toxins and carcinogens.
Handmade Many of our products are made by hand in partnership with groups like Aid to Artisans or Craftmark. We also work with online marketplace Etsy.com to highlight unique pieces by Etsy artisans in our catalog pages. Learn more.
Non-Toxic We strive to use non–toxic materials and finishes wherever possible, from textiles to paint. Just a few of west elm's non-toxic products include OEKO–TEX certified bedding and towels, and our GOTS–certified textiles.
OEKO–TEX Certified A global testing and certification system, OEKO–TEX's Standard 100 is the dominant guideline for establishing human ecological safety of such products as bedding and towels. Focused on rigorous screening for chemicals and other substances, approval becomes stricter the more a product is intended to come into contact with the skin.
Rapidly Renewable Whenever we can, we use natural resources that regenerate themselves in a short period .of time, including jute, bamboo, hemp, bankuan and abaca. In order to qualify for the west elm green label, products made with these materials must also be finished or assembled with non-toxic materials.
Reclaimed Materials Many of our products are made from reclaimed wood and other materials, spared from the landfill and reused with minimal alteration and maximum preservation of their original features and beauty.
Recycled packaging We use only unbleached 20–40% recycled materials in all our shopping bags and shipping boxes.
Recycled Products Recycled products are made from previously used materials that are reincarnated with new uses. Recycled post–consumer content is material that lived a former life as a different product before being reprocessed—and reimagined—for a new use.
Sustainably Sources Many west elm green products are made from wood or other materials procured from responsibly managed forests in ways that support biodiversity, productivity and healthy ecosystems–both .today and into the future.