Ten Thousand Villages, the oldest and largest fair trade retailer in the nation, received the first People's Choice Award for Green Business of the Year from Co-op America during their Green Festival in San Francisco, Calif.
"This award recognizes Ten Thousand Villages as a leader among businesses across the country committed to social and environmental responsibility," said Danwe'N'Dikwe', manager of the Old Town Alexandria store.
"Since its founding in 1994, Ten Thousand Villages of Alexandria has been part of a network of over 170 nonprofit stores in the U.S. and Canada featuring handcrafted products from artisans in underdeveloped countries."
N'Dikwe' said with each item sold, help is provided to people who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.
"By pooling the resources of many stores, Ten Thousand Villages assures that its artisans receive consistent, reliable purchases year after year," he said.
The store was chosen to receive the award by a vote of the public. During the fall, thousands of customers cast their vote on the Co-op America web site and at the Washington, D.C. Green Festival.
"We receive this award on behalf of the artisans who create the beautiful, handcrafted items sold in Ten Thousand Villages stores," said Paul Myers, Ten Thousand Villages CEO.
"We also receive it on behalf of our many customers who expect us to provide our merchandise in a healthy, green manner."
More than 70 green and fair trade enterprises that are members of Co-op America's Business Network were nominated. To be eligible, companies adopt principles, policies and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, employees, communities and the environment.