Imagine a product that has zero landfill elements. A product that cycles into new products, or decomposes completely. That’s the principle of Cradle to Cradle, where waste from one process is a food input for another– the way things happen in the natural world. In this interview, Bridgett Luther, the President of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, discusses her ambition for more sustainable and exciting products. The non-profit institute takes principles based on the book by McDonough and Braungart, Cradle to Cradle, and works with businesses to deploy these principles into their products. Cradle to Cradle products, such as the Gdiapers pictured here, are safe, recyclable, reclaimable, are made with clean water and renewable energy, all while upholding social fairness. Sounds impossible or expensive? Luther believes it is possible.
Luther comes to the Institute with a long history in environmental protection. Prior to her current year at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, she spent five years overseeing a budget of $1.4 billion and 700 employees as Director of the California Department of Conservation. Now she puts her faith in the power of business. The California Green Chemistry Initiative inspired her to work more closely with business. Signed in 2008 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Green Chemistry Initiative required companies to disclose ingredients in products. Helping companies move ahead of such regulations and aspiring to the highest achievement is the Cradle to Cradle mantra. Other product certification labels measure single aspects such as energy use and water use. Cradle to Cradle encompasses all requirements using the best environmental and social practices.
This summer the institute is starting training programs on Cradle to Cradle certifications. Classes cost between $5,000 to $10,000 and practitioners will be able to change the world, one Cradle to Cradle product at time.