In this series, Jennifer Gumpert, our VP of Business Development and Operations, walks us through material terms and concepts that are used frequently, but not always understood. This week: cradle to cradle.
Cradle to Cradle is a certification used to assess a material or product’s life – from its start, to its end. It is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy.
Currently in its third iteration, the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Product Standard is rooted in the Cradle to Cradle® design principles established by William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart. Standard requirements are developed through a stakeholder engagement process with input from technical experts, market leaders and the public. Version 4 of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard is currently in development and is anticipated to be completed in early 2021.
To receive certification, products are assessed for environmental and social performance across five critical sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product is assigned an achievement level (Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) for each category. A product’s lowest category achievement also represents its overall certification level. The standard encourages continuous improvement over time by awarding certification on the basis of ascending levels of achievement and requiring certification renewal every two years.
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