Learn how this product label delves into sustainability
AN INSIDE LOOK AT CRADLE
If you’ve been tasked with specifying building materials
and furnishings that are green on multiple fronts, look
for the Cradle to Cradle label. This multi-criteria program sets benchmarks for material safety and conservation throughout the manufacturing process, ensuring
the way a product is made is just as environmentally
friendly as the product itself.
Not Your Average Label
With a growing number of material declarations and
environmental ratings, the purpose of Cradle to Cradle
Certified Products Standard (C2C) is to cut through
the noise and offer facility managers a straightforward
32 BUILDINGS 10. 15
assessment of a product’s green profile.
The program was inspired by the 2002 book Cradle to
Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by architect
William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart.
Their design philosophy led to a practice where “prod-
ucts are designed with safe ingredients that can be per-
petually cycled and manufactured in ways that respect
humans and the environment. This became the vision
for our program,” explains Stacy Glass, Vice President
for the Built Environment with the Cradle to Cradle
Products Innovation Institute.
More than a look at a product’s ingredients, this
comprehensive analysis also examines best practices
for energy and water stewardship during production as
well as the company’s commitment to social equality.
Products must meet benchmarks in each of the five cat-
egories to earn Bronze through Platinum achievement
(see “Rating Levels” on pages 33 and 34).
“A key distinguisher of our label is that it is not a
pass/fail assessment – products must demonstrate
environmental responsibility in all of our key areas,”
explains Jay Bolus, President of Certifications Systems
at MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry),
the firm that created the standard. “Recertification is
also required every two years, which compels manufac-
turers to continually optimize their product. This means
there’s an expectation from the onset that a certified
product will evolve over time.”
To ensure transparency and integrity, all documenta-
tion is submitted to a third party for verification.
“Unlike some eco-labels on the market, Cradle to
Cradle Certified is not a self-declaration,” Glass clarifies. “Because we are a third-party program, product
specifiers can feel confident that an offering has been
thoroughly and professionally vetted.”
Have you found that trying to purchase sustainable products could be a job in and of itself? When you really need to focus
on energy and water conservation, it’s
hard to find the motivation to assess a
manufacturer’s green claims. After all,
you’re not a toxicologist, chemist, or lab
technician. What you really need is verification that a product was sourced and
manufactured in a responsible way, has
no exposure risks for occupants while
in use, and has reclamation options that
will save it from the landfill.