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Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Overview

As an authorized Cradle to Cradle Certified™ assessor, ToxServices evaluates healthy and sustainable products under the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program in five product categories: Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy Use, Water Stewardship, and Social Responsibility; and at five levels of certification: basic, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum, with each higher level addressing a more rigorous set of requirements. In order to achieve certification as a Cradle to Cradle Certified™ product at a certain level, the assessed product and manufacturing processes must meet criteria at that level in all five categories.

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ History

The ultimate goal of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program is to encourage continuous improvement, innovation, and formulation of products that benefit humans and the environment. The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program was founded in 2005 by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC). In 2010, William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart formed the non-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to create a framework for quality assessment and innovation and to manage and administer the certification program. To date, nearly 400 products and 90 companies have already demonstrated the attainability and advantages of designing products according to the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ framework.

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Eligibility

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Program applies to materials, sub-assemblies, and finished products. Materials and subassemblies can be considered “products” for certification purposes. Certification criteria are the same for all product types. To become certified, an applicant must submit formulation information and related data to ToxServices to have the product assessed against the requirements of Version 3 of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard. The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute reviews all final certification documents and issues certification.

There are a number of product attributes that may exclude a manufacturer from seeking certification. The following list depicts some cases and issues that place a product out of the scope of this program. The purpose of this list is to create a threshold to prevent unreasonable products from entering the system and to protect the positive values of certified products and of the certification program. The scope of the program does not include the following:

  • The presence of any chemicals from the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ "Banned List." There are two lists: a banned list of chemicals for technical nutrients and a banned list of chemicals for biological nutrients. See http://c2ccertified.org/product_certification/banned_list_of_chemicals
  • Processes in and of themselves.
  • Food or beverages.
  • Buildings, countries, cities.
  • Products from rare or endangered species (e.g., ivory).
  • Products with ethical issues (e.g., weapons, tobacco, electric chair, etc.).
  • Products leading to or including animal abuse.
  • Products with apparent safety concerns related to physical and chemical characteristics.
  • Companies involved in rain forest damage, child labor, blood metals, or blood diamonds.
  • Applicants involved in terror support, racism/discrimination, or weapon production or connection.
  • Nuclear power and/or products used to produce nuclear power.
  • Products that may be contrary to the intent of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ principles.

Certification Criteria

There are five categories of criteria for Cradle to Cradle Certified™ certification: Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy Use, Water Stewardship, and Social Responsibility. In order to achieve Cradle to Cradle Certified™ certification at a certain level, the product and manufacturing processes must meet the criteria at that level in all five categories.

1. Material Health

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program calls for materials to be characterized as technical or biological substances (nutrients) that are safe and healthy for people and the environment. Working with the product manufacturer and suppliers, each product formulation is broken down into its chemical constituents down to 100 ppm (0.01%). These chemicals are then evaluated against 19 criteria for human and environmental health and given a toxicity rating of Red, Yellow, or Green. The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ evaluation process characterizes human health and environmental hazards of every material and product, and as a result, helps manufacturers improve product design and safety.

LEVELACHIEVEMENT
BASIC
  • The product is 100% characterized by its generic materials (e.g., aluminum, polyethylene, steel, etc.) and/or product categories and names (e.g., coatings).
  • The appropriate metabolism (i.e., technical nutrient (TN) or biological nutrient (BN) is identified for the product and its materials and/or chemicals.
  • The product does not contain any Banned List chemicals based on supplier declarations.
BRONZE
  • The product is at least 75% assessed (by weight) using ABC-X ratings. Externally Managed Components (EMCs) are considered assessed and contribute to the overall percentage of the product that has been assessed. Products that are entirely BN in nature (e.g., cosmetics, personal care, soaps, detergents, etc.) are 100% assessed.
  • A phase-out or optimization strategy has been developed for those materials with an X rating.
SILVER
  • The product has been at least 95% assessed (by weight) using ABC-X ratings. Externally Managed Components (EMCs) are considered assessed and contribute to the overall percentage of the product that has been assessed. Products that are entirely BN in nature (e.g., cosmetics, personal care, soaps, detergents, etc.) are 100% assessed.
  • The product contains no substances known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects, genetic damage, or reproductive harm (CMRs) after the A, B, C, X assessment has been carried out.
GOLD
  • The product has been 100% assessed (by weight) using ABC ratings. All EMCs are considered assessed as non-X.
  • The product contains no X assessed materials (optimization strategy is not required).
  • Product meets Cradle to Cradle Certified™ emissions standards.
PLATINUM
  • All process chemicals have been assessed and none have been assessed as X.

2. Material Reutilization

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Program promotes design that encourages the recyclability of the product for future uses. This category rewards products that contain recycled or renewable materials and are created to be recycled as technical or biological nutrients in future life cycles. At higher levels of certification, producers are expected to create and apply a plan to close the loop on the product at the end of its useful life.

LEVELACHIEVEMENT
BASIC
  • Each generic material in the product is clearly defined as an intended part of a biological or technical cycle (this is covered by the Material Health requirement at Basic level; see Material Health guidance in Section 3.2).
BRONZE
  • The product has a Material Reutilization Score that is ≥ 35.
SILVER
  • The product has a Material Reutilization Score that is ≥ 50.
GOLD
  • The product has a Material Reutilization Score that is ≥ 65.
  • The manufacturer has completed a “nutrient management” strategy for the product including scope, timeline, and budget.
PLATINUM
  • The product has a Material Reutilization Score of 100.
  • The product is actively being recovered and cycled in a technical or biological metabolism.

3. Renewable Energy Use

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard encourages manufacturers to use not only energy efficiency, but also solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable recourses. The Renewable Energy combines two significant principles: produce and use renewable energy and eliminate the concept of waste. Renewable energy dislocates energy produced from fossil fuels, which emit carbon. Changing the quantity and quality of energy used affects the balance of carbon in the atmosphere and ultimately the climate. When emissions are eliminated, renewable energy is produced in excess to be supplied to local communities.

LEVELACHIEVEMENT
BASIC
  • Annual purchased electricity and direct on-site emissions associated with the final manufacturing stage of the product are quantified.
BRONZE
  • A renewable energy use and carbon management strategy is developed.
SILVER
  • For the final manufacturing stage of the product, 5% of purchased electricity is renewably sourced or offset with renewable energy projects, and 5% of direct onsite emissions are offset.
GOLD
  • For the final manufacturing stage of the product, 50% of purchased electricity is renewably sourced or offset with renewable energy projects, and 50% of direct onsite emissions are offset.
PLATINUM
  • For the final manufacturing stage of the product, >100% of purchased electricity is renewably sourced or offset with renewable energy projects, and >100% of direct on-site emissions are offset.
  • The embodied energy associated with the product from Cradle to Gate is characterized and quantified, and a strategy to optimize is developed. At reapplication, progress on the optimization plan is demonstrated.
  • ≥ 5% of the embodied energy associated with the product from Cradle to Gate is covered by offsets or otherwise addressed (e.g., through projects with suppliers, product re-design, savings during the use phase, etc.).

4. Water Stewardship

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program encourages manufacturers effectively manage water recourses and respect the need for humans and environment to have clean water. The Program encourages producers to control water withdrawals, consumption, and releases within local ecosystem.

LEVELACHIEVEMENT
BASIC
  • The manufacturer has not received a significant violation of their discharge permit within the last two years.
  • Local- and business-specific water-related issues are characterized (e.g., the manufacturer will determine if water scarcity is an issue and/or if sensitive ecosystems are at risk due to direct operations).
  • A statement of water stewardship intentions describing what action is being taken for mitigating the identified problems and concerns is provided. At re-application, progress on action plans is demonstrated.
BRONZE
  • A facility-wide water audit is completed.
SILVER
  • Product-related process chemicals in effluent are characterized and assessed.
  • OR
  • Supply chain-relevant water issues for at least 20% of Tier 1 suppliers are characterized and a positive impact strategy is developed (required for facilities with no product-relevant effluent).
GOLD
  • Product-related process chemicals in effluent are optimized (chemicals identified as problematic are kept flowing in systems of nutrient recovery; effluents leaving facility do not contain chemicals assessed as problematic).
  • OR
  • Demonstrated progress on the strategy developed for the Silver level requirements (required for facilities with no product relevant effluent).
PLATINUM
  • Demonstrated progress on the strategy developed for the Silver level requirements (required for facilities with no product relevant effluent).

5. Social Responsibility

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program ensures that manufacturers conduct businesses while respecting health, safety and rights of the people and the planet. Businesses should not limit social responsibility at the corporate level, but also engage in responsible manufacturing, enforcing fair treatment of workers, and reinvesting in natural capital.

LEVELACHIEVEMENT
BASIC
  • A streamlined self-audit is conducted to assess protection of fundamental human rights.
  • Management procedures aiming to address any identified issues are provided. Demonstration of progress on the management plan is required for re-application.
BRONZE
  • A full social responsibility self-audit is complete and a positive impact strategy is developed (based on UN Global Compact Tool or B-Corp).
SILVER COMPLETE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
  • Material specific and/or issue-related audit or certification relevant to a minimum of 25% of the product material by weight is complete (FSC Certified, Fair Trade, etc.).
  • OR
  • Supply chain-relevant social issues are fully investigated and a positive impact strategy is developed.
  • OR
  • The company is actively conducting an innovative social project that positively impacts employee’s lives, the local community, global community, social aspects of the product’s supply chain, or recycling/reuse.
GOLD
  • Two of the Silver-Level requirements are complete.
PLATINUM
  • A facility-level audit is completed by a third party against an internationally recognized social responsibility program (e.g., SA8000 standard or B-Corp).
  • All Silver-Level requirements are complete.

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Process

Step 1: Submit Application Forms

  1. Review the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Program criteria
  2. Fill out the ToxServices application for certification to the Cradle to Cradle Certifed™ Product Standard. If filling out these documents involves sharing proprietary information, you may also fill out the ToxServices Nondisclosure Agreement.
  3. Send completed documents to ToxServices, and a detailed time and cost estimate will be prepared for you. Please send submissions to:

    Margaret H. Whittaker, Ph.D., M.P.H., CBiol., F.S.B., E.R.T., D.A.B.T.
    Managing Director and Chief Toxicologist
    ToxServices LLC
    1367 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 300
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    (202) 429-8787 (telephone)
    (202) 429-8788 (fax)
    mwhittaker@toxservices.com
  4. Once an application packet is received, ToxServices reviews your submission and prepares a time and cost estimate to assess your product for certification under the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ program.

Step 2: Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Program

The core of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ product evaluation involves partnering with the product manufacturer on data collection and product evaluation.  Depending on the complexity of the product and its supply chain, product evaluations typically take 2-4 months. The overall evaluation process is described in the following steps:

  1. ToxServices assigns a project manager for the certification process.
  2. ToxServices and applicant collaborate to collect all the data required for certification. The ToxServices certification packet must be completed with all necessary information included.
  3. ToxServices conducts an on-site audit at the manufacturing facility of final assembly.
  4. ToxServices submits the completed Certification Packet and supporting documentation to the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII) for review and approval.

Step 3: Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Program Summary Report Review

  1. The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute reviews the ToxServices Certification Summary report to ensure completeness and accuracy.
  2. The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute issues a certificate, conferring use of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ mark, per the requirements of the Trademark Use Guidelines.

Step 4: Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Program: Re-Certification

Certification is valid for two calendar years from the certification date and must be renewed biennially.

  1. A few months prior to certification renewal date, you will receive a letter of notification and a renewal packet from ToxServices.
  2. Work with the ToxServices manager and your supply chain to gather any new data, if the materials or process have changed.
  3. ToxServices evaluates data and progress on optimization strategies.
  4. ToxServices submits a Re-Certification Summary report to the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute for review.