In Mountain View, CA yesterday, a group of academic, business, government, and environmental leaders, along with Gov. Schwarzenegger, gathered at Google’s headquarters to announce the formation of the Green Products Innovation Institute (GPII), a non-profit dedicated to developing comprehensive metrics and standards for everyday products that are safe and healthy. The GPII, headquartered in California, aims to transform how companies design, manufacture, and use chemicals—with the philosophy of driving a new era in research, innovation, economic growth, and job creation in the green chemistry sector.
GPII is supported by Gov. Schwarzenegger, Brad Pitt, Robert Kennedy, Jr., Terry Tamminen and numerous others, and advances the framework outlined in “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” the seminal book by architect and designer William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart.
Nationally renowned design consultancy firm, MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry), has given the certification mark along with the Cradle to Cradle protocols to the Institute, which will now be responsible for certifying products. Companies from a wide range of industries have already demonstrated the viability and benefits of designing products according to the Cradle to Cradle framework, such as Herman Miller, Shaw Industries, CENTRIA, IceStone LLC, Steelcase, Inc., Ford Motor Company, Aveda and Method Laundry. To date, more than 300 products and 90 companies have engaged in the Cradle to Cradle certification (CM) process.
“California is the perfect birthplace for this Institute, but ultimately its reach is global, and it has been our long held wish to see the principles of Cradle to Cradle applied globally,” said William McDonough, co-founder of the GPII. “Even before Michael and I wrote Cradle to Cradle in 2002, we have wished and worked for a safer and healthier world for ALL children of ALL species. That world is not just a wish anymore—it is here now, thanks to Gov. Schwarzenegger, the donors and supporters of the Green Products Innovation Institute, and the people of California.”
Instead of focusing on how industry can become “less bad,” the Institute is set up to be a resource for those who aspire to achieve new levels of environmental and human health and safety for all products sold in California. GPII, using the Cradle to Cradle® certification protocol, will work with leaders from academia, the NGO environmental community, government and industry to establish both metrics and a rating system for evaluating products. Products that meet the criteria will receive the Cradle to Cradle certification mark.
GPII’s leadership will advocate for strong standards in California and worldwide. With the momentum of the California Green Chemistry Law, GPII is eager to collaborate with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to advise and assist in developing tough, fair and transparent criteria for assessing alternatives to the chemicals currently used in consumer products sold in California. The Institute will also coordinate with DTSC to provide companies, government and consumers with data on the toxicity characteristics of chemicals and materials used in products so that industry can not only identify “chemicals of concern,” but also the “positive” chemicals that could be used to replace them. By effectively working with DTSC to find practical solutions to the alternatives problem, the Institute plans to offer industry a pathway to comply with, and even exceed, new consumer product regulations.