The Ethical Style Guide for Ambiente 2020

Sustainability is a meta-trend that is gaining more and more momentum, and this is also reflected in the Ambiente Ethical Style Guide. The curated directory for 2020 features 340 exhibitors from 49 countries who follow eco-friendly and socially responsible production standards. This is an increase of 66 companies compared with the previous year. 250 enterprises applied to be included for the first time, of whom 113 succeeded in convincing the professionals on the interdisciplinary jury. They will now be listed in the Ambiente Ethical Style Guide for the next three years.

The world’s biggest consumer goods trade fair will take place in Frankfurt from 7 to 11 February 2020. Last year it welcomed 4,460 exhibitors from over 90 countries.

The Ethical Style Guide is a curated list of exhibitors. It directs the visitor’s attention to suppliers who stand out from their competitors, though without claiming to be exhaustive. To assist the reader, the Ethical Style Guide has six clearly defined categories: Environmentally Friendly Materials, Resource-Friendly Manufacturing, Fair & Socially Responsible Production, Re/Upcycling Design, Handmade Manufacturing and Sustainable Innovation.

2019 Ambiente

Any exhibitor is welcome to apply to the programme in one or more of the six categories. An independent jury of international experts then decides which companies and products should be included. For Ambiente 2020 the jury will be: Christina Bocher (DEKRA Assurance Services GmbH), Kees Bronk (CBI, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries), Lutz Dietzold (German Design Council), Max Gilgenmann, (expert on textile sustainability criteria), Sabine Meyer (Side-by-Side, Caritas Wendelstein Werkstätten) and Mimi Sewalski ( The jury takes a close look at all submissions and decides which category each company should be assigned to.

“Classic consumerism is currently giving way to an increase in ethical consumerism. People want to feel positive about the things they surround themselves with, and this makes them more mindful and critical in their buying behaviour. Moreover, they are usually well informed and ask about the origin, manufacturing method, materials and social responsibility associated with a product. But it also presents retailers with new challenges. It means deciding between recyclable solutions and fair trade projects as well as between good marketing and greenwashing: Which suppliers and which products are genuinely sustainable and in which areas? Answers to such questions can be found in the Ethical Style Guide,” says Nicolette Naumann, Vice President of Ambiente.

One company that made it into the 2020 Ethical Style Guide as a new entry is the Dutch brand Van Verre (above). Its delicate home textiles and home accessories, which come from the Mediterranean, Timbuktu, the Silk Road and the Andes, speak of traditional materials, techniques and trade channels. Story doing is also cultivated by Allpa (below). Running under the motto “There is no social business without business”, this Peruvian brand has been showing since 1986 that fair trade and successful brand development need not be a contradiction, but are actually a highly successful combination. Another newcomer is Bee’s Wrap from the United States. This functional product, which is made from wax paper, is a good alternative for households with an environmental awareness, while also supporting bee projects at schools and contributing to a general change in awareness.

The Ambiente Ethical Style Guide has become established as a valuable tool for forward-looking retailers who have embraced the spirit of our time. This special exhibitors’ directory, which covers all product groups, leads visitors to companies that make products under sustainable and socially responsible conditions, while also helping them to come to a better assessment of the products on offer. The Ethical Style Guide will be available at Ambiente as a free booklet and can also be called up via the online exhibitor search. The tool is very practical, listing exhibitors by locations/halls and also by product groups. At the trade fair itself, Ethical Style stands are clearly marked as such so that visitors can find them easily.

Over and above the product range offered by the exhibitors, Ambiente 2020 will also provide its visitors with a variety of first-hand options to learn about sustainability. Once again, the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) will be in the foyer of Hall 9.2. This global organisation promotes worldwide fair trade through the development of alternative business models. Also, MADE 51 will be giving a special presentation at Galleria 0. This initiative of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) works with partners from industry, providing future-proof livelihoods for refugee craftworkers. One major highlight will therefore be the UNHCR panel discussion entitled “Beyond CSR: Engaging in Support of Refugees Using Your Core Business Model” at the Ambiente Academy in Hall 9.1 at 13:15 hrs on 8 February 2020.

Ambiente 2020 will take place from 7 to 11 February. The Ethical Style Guide and all the details of the programme can be accessed online before visiting the trade fair.