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Inside Cradle to Cradle’s New Certification Standard for Circular Design

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is in the process of revising its highly respected certification to keep it on the leading edge of science-based standards for safe and circular design.

Recognized as a leading benchmark for responsible production and consumption, the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard provides a continuous improvement pathway for optimizing and verifying products for the circular economy. The standard aims to help designers and manufacturers put the Cradle to Cradle design principles into practice and encourages innovation to maximize the positive impacts of their products and materials.

The organization said the updated Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4 draft standard was developed through a multi-stakeholder process led by the Institute’s Certification Standards Board, an independent standard-setting body comprised of manufacturers, independent assessors and technical subject matter experts. The Institute’s Stakeholder Advisory Council and five Technical Advisory Groups also participated in the development.

“The draft standard reflects a continued evolution in our understanding of how product design and manufacturing affect environmental and human health issues of critical global concern,” Dr. Susan Klosterhaus, Institute vice president of science and certification, said. “As a result, the draft standard reflects rigorous yet feasible requirements across all five certification categories, including material health, product circularity, renewable energy and climate, water stewardship and social fairness.”

Among the key changes in the Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4 draft standard are new general requirements for compliance assurance, environmental policy and management, as well as new frameworks for product circularity, water stewardship and social fairness. These are based on global best practices and align with leading environmental and social compliance standards.

In addition, a new Restricted Substances List created to help ensure Cradle to Cradle Certified requirements for material health reflects recognized international regulations and best practices for chemical usage.

“The Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard is already recognized as a powerful, practical change-making tool for making products that exert a positive impact on humans and the environment,” Peter Templeton, Institute CEO and president, said. “Through the development of Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4, we aim to further elevate the value of Cradle to Cradle Certified as a driver of materials innovation and as an optimization pathway for safe and circular products.”

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is inviting all stakeholders to help shape the fourth version of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard during a 60-day public comment period beginning on Monday and running through Oct. 4. The draft standard and public comment form can be found on the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute website at c2ccertified.org. Input received during the public comment period will be considered for inclusion in the final standard, slated for release in 2020.

“Input from our stakeholders on these new requirements is vital to ensuring the standard is both practical to implement and remains the world’s most advanced framework for designing, making and verifying materials and products with the circular economy in mind,” Klosterhaus said.

Based on the Cradle to Cradle design principles created by William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart, the standard is a globally recognized measure of material health, product circularity, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness in all sectors of product design and manufacturing.

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