The Cradle to Cradle certification considers the entire life cycle of a product from manufacture through use and disposal. This month, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute issued its maiden certifications for the products that met their protocol for design and manufacturing. Desso B.V., Herman Miller, Shaw Industries, and Steelcase Inc., are the first four companies to get certified by the newly started Institute.
The C2C certification assesses products for safety to human and environmental health, eco-effective manufacturing and smart design. The program also requires businesses to implement the C2C framework which focuses on using safe materials that can be reused or even composted at the end of their life-cycle. The certification takes a comprehensive approach to eco-labeling and every product is evaluated in five categories: Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy Use, Water Stewardship, and Social Responsibility. Products can then receive a certification based one of the four levels (Basic, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) depending on how they score on the categories.
Founders, William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart who co-authored the book Cradle to Cradle, formed the non-profit institute to manage and administer the certification program. They have already certified more than 425 products in various industries worldwide and the institute was founded to make the certification program available to the larger public. The certification program itself was first founded in 2005 by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC).
The Institute now acts as the certifying body for the third-party eco-label. Companies who want to certify their products will first have to partner with an official service provider that will collect and evaluate data provided. MBDC and Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) are the two service providers who worked on the certifications issued so far. More will be added to the roster soon.
In the US, the EPA recognizes and includes C2C certified products in its Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) database for federal agency procurement. Products that are certifies are also recognized by the US Green Building Council and their LEED certification, which means they are eligible to contribute to LEED credits as well.
Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net