All about cradle to cradle certification

Cradle to Cradle Certified® (C2C) certification is an eco-design standard produced by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to encourage companies to design sustainable products that can be reused or recycled without compromising human health or the environment. This standard is becoming increasingly popular with companies looking to improve their environmental footprint. In this article, we’ll look at what Cradle to Cradle® certification is, how it works, and the benefits it offers.

What is Cradle to Cradle Certified® certification?

Cradle to Cradle® certification is an approach to sustainability that focuses on creating products that can be reused or recycled without compromising human health or the environment. It is important to note that it offers different levels of certification for companies wishing to engage in a sustainability approach:

  • Bronze
  • Silver,
  • Gold
  • Turntable

Companies can choose the level of certification that best fits their sustainability goals and budget.

Why is it called Cradle to Cradle Certified®?

Cradle to Cradle® certification is based on the idea that the materials used in the manufacture of a product should be viewed as a valuable resource and should be reused or recycled in a continuous cycle, just as nature recycles its materials. The Cradle to Cradle® concept is therefore based on the principle that the waste from one product can be used as raw material for the manufacture of another product.

What are the 5 criteria for Cradle to Cradle Certified®?

The five criteria for Cradle to Cradle® certification are:

  • Non-toxicity: the materials used to manufacture the product must not contain toxic or dangerous substances for the environment or human health.
  • Circularity: the product must be designed to be easily dismantled and recycled or reused at the end of its life.
  • The use of renewable energy: the product must be manufactured using renewable energy as much as possible.
  • Respect for water: the use of water must be minimized and the quality of the water discharged must comply with environmental standards.
  • Social compliance: companies must respect human rights, social standards and fair working conditions throughout the supply chain.

What are the benefits of Cradle to Cradle®?

The benefits of Cradle to Cradle® certification are numerous. C2C-certified products provide assurance to consumers that the products they purchase are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Companies that achieve certification can also benefit from improved branding, increased sales, and reduced costs associated with waste management and energy consumption.

How to become Cradle to Cradle®?

To achieve Cradle to Cradle® certification, companies must go through a rigorous certification process that involves a thorough evaluation of their products and manufacturing processes. They must go through an accredited third-party evaluator to perform this evaluation.

If the product meets the certification criteria, it can receive a C2C certification which is valid for 3 years (to ensure that their products continue to meet the standards).

What are the two cycles of Cradle to Cradle®?

The Cradle to Cradle® concept is based on two cycles: the biological cycle and the technical cycle. The biological cycle involves the reuse of organic materials, such as food and garden wastes, turning them into nutrients for the soil. The technical cycle, on the other hand, involves the reuse of non-organic materials, such as metals and plastics, in the production of new products.

cradle to cradle certification: Life cycleCradle to Cradle Certification: Technical Cycle

What are the differences between V3 and V4 in Cradle to Cradle Certified® certification?

Version 4 of the Cradle to Cradle® certification, released in 2018, is more demanding than version 3 in terms of non-toxicity and circularity of materials and water management. Version 4 also includes new criteria such as greenhouse gas emissions management and social sustainability. Companies wishing to obtain C2C certification must now comply with the version 4 criteria.

What is the cost of Cradle to Cradle Certified® certification?

The cost of Cradle to Cradle certification depends on the size and complexity of the product to be certified. Companies must pay an assessment fee, which can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of euros, as well as an annual certification fee. These costs can be seen as an investment in the sustainability of the company and in the improvement of the brand image.

Which companies are using Cradle to Cradle Certified®?

Tens of thousands of products are already certified as many companies have adopted Cradle to Cradle Certified® certification for their products, including Adidas, Herman Miller, Method, Shaw Industries, Steelcase, etc. Companies of all sizes can benefit from C2C certification and more and more companies around the world are beginning to integrate this standard into their sustainability strategy.

How to apply Cradle to Cradle® to design circular buildings?

Designing circular buildings using Cradle to Cradle Certified® (C2C) precepts requires a combination of two complementary approaches: material selection and building design. The first approach is to select building materials evaluated according to C2C certification criteria, such as non-toxicity of materials, end-of-life reuse and recycling, and use of renewable energy. By choosing C2C-certified materials, companies ensure that the building is constructed with environmentally friendly materials that can be reused or recycled at the end of its life.

The second approach is to design the building in a circular way using the C2C inspired building benchmark. This approach evaluates buildings according to C2C criteria, but not only according to the materials used. It also assesses whether the building has been eco-designed, the material functions with positive impacts (e.g. air or water purification, “material bank” construction principle, C2C products) and the immaterial functions with positive impacts (e.g. aesthetics, luminosity, bio-waste management) of the building. Buildings that meet these criteria can be listed in a “C2C-inspired” building registry, which ensures that the building is designed to be sustainable and environmentally friendly.

By applying these two approaches, companies can create buildings that are both circular, environmentally friendly and economically viable.

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