RATING LEVELS FOR CRADLE TO CRADLE CERTIFIED continued
■ No significant discharge violations has
been issued within the last two years.
■ Local- and business-specific water issues
are characterized, such as water scarcity or
proximity to sensitive ecosystems.
■ A statement of water stewardship intentions describing what action is being taken
for mitigating the identified problems and
concerns is provided.
■ A facility-wide water audit is completed.
■ Product-related process chemicals in effluent are characterized and assessed. For
facilities without product-relevant effluent,
supply chain-relevant water issues for at
least 20% of Tier 1 suppliers are characterized and a positive impact strategy is
■ Product-related process chemicals in
effluent are optimized, such as chemicals
identified as problematic are kept flowing
in systems of nutrient recovery or effluents
leaving the facility do not contain problematic chemicals.
■ All water leaving the manufacturing facility
meets drinking water quality standards.
■ A self-audit is conducted to assess
protection of fundamental human rights.
Management procedures aiming to
address any identified issues are provided.
■ A full social responsibility self-audit is
complete and a positive impact strategy
is developed, which is based on the UN
Global Compact Tool or B Corp.
Companies elect to purse one of the following:
■ Complete a material specific or issue-related audit or certification relevant to a
minimum of 25% of the product material by
weight, such as FSC Certified or Fair Trade.
■ Fully investigate supply chain-relevant
social issues and develop a positive impact
■ Actively conduct an innovative social project that positively impacts employees, the
local or global community, social aspects
of the product’s supply chain, or recycling
■ Manufacturers must complete two of the
Silver Level requirements.
■ All Silver Level requirements are complete.
■ A facility-level audit is completed by a
third party against an internationally
recognized social responsibility program,
such as the SA8000 standard by Social
To manage clean water as a precious
resource and an essential human right
by addressing local geographic and
industry water impacts at each
To design operations to honor all
people and natural systems affected by
the creation, use, disposal or reuse of a
product and its supply chain.
Green on Multiple Fronts
Whereas some declarations focus on
a single quality – say recycled content or
VOCs – Cradle to Cradle Certified looks
at virtually every facet of a product’s
creation. The focus is split between the
product’s toxicology, recyclability and
“Rather than simply encourage transparency, our goal is to provide manufacturers
with a framework that helps them design
out negative lifecycle impacts,” says Glass.
To ensure safe chemistry, a manufacturer must first identify all of the ingredients in a product and make strides toward
full elimination of any substances that are
suspected or known to be harmful: “The
material health category looks into the
molecular level of a product and its toxicology,” Glass explains. “We want to have
products with positive chemistry.”
Whereas some labels only have a cursory screen of hazardous substances, C2C
includes risks, routes of exposure, or contextual assessments, notes Bolus.
“This benchmark is not only product
chemistry but process chemistry – manu-
facturers can’t use anything during pro-
duction that’s considered carcinogenic,
mutagenic, or reproductively toxic for
either humans or wildlife,” he adds.
“When a product has reached Platinum
level, no problematic substances are emit-
ted by the product, its process chemistry,
air emissions, or effluent discharge.”
In addition to high percentages of
recycled or renewable content, Cradle
to Cradle Certified also stipulates that
products must be able to be recovered,
repurposed, or composted. Reutilization
ensures that items are diverted from the
landfill and have a second life as a useful
biological or industrial material.
Products are also pushed to employ
responsible manufacturing practices. As
every product consumes energy during
manufacturing, the standard encourages companies to use renewable energy,
purchase carbon offsets, and otherwise
conserve their use of fossil fuels, says
Glass. This focus is limited to the final
manufacturing rather than transportation
Water quality is another facet of stewardship because of the environmental
risks associated with effluent. “The water
category is focused on quality rather
than quantity. Industrial sites need to be
responsible for how water is handled in
their facilities and what kind of shape it’s
in when it’s discharged,” explains Bolus.