The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute has released Version 4.0 of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard, the most ambitious and actionable standard yet for designing and making products today that enable a healthy, equitable, and sustainable future.
How companies design and make products today has a direct impact on the world we will inhabit tomorrow. For more than a decade, leading brands, designers, and manufacturers have relied on the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard to optimize products for immediate and long-term positive impacts.
“Cradle to Cradle Certified has long been regarded as the most trusted and advanced science-based standard for designing and manufacturing products that maximize health and wellbeing for people and our planet,” said Peter Templeton, Institute president and CEO. “The fourth version of Cradle to Cradle Certified builds on this legacy by equipping brands, retailers, designers, and manufacturers with actionable guidance and best practices for choosing safer materials, driving meaningful innovation, and creating products, systems and business models that have a positive impact on humans and the environment today, and in the future.”
The new Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 standard is a comprehensive framework that enables companies to:
- Prioritize action across five sustainability focus areas.
- Material Health: ensuring materials are safe for humans and the environment
- Product Circularity: enabling a circular economy through regenerative products and process design
- Clean Air & Climate Protection: protecting clean air, promoting renewable energy, and reducing harmful emissions
- Water & Soil Stewardship: safeguarding clean water and healthy soils
- Social Fairness: respecting human rights and contributing to a fair and equitable society
- Enact change, from product innovation to operations.
- Transform business models, systems, and collaboration throughout the value chain.
- Verify performance and measure progress towards sustainability commitments.
- Lead industry transformation towards a safe, circular, and equitable future.
“The fourth version of Cradle to Cradle Certified reflects significant advancements in our knowledge and understanding of what it takes to make products with a positive impact,” said Dr. Susan Klosterhaus, Institute vice president of science and certification, whose team led development of the new standard. “The result is an ambitious set of actionable requirements for guiding companies to make safer materials choices, create intentionally circular products and processes, and do so in a fair and equitable way—ultimately pushing beyond compliance with regulation to innovation and leadership.”
Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 features new and enhanced requirements in all performance categories, including:
- New frameworks for Product Circularity and Social Fairness that define global best practices.
- More rigorous requirements in Clean Air & Climate Protection that promote urgent action to address climate change.
- Expanded requirements in Water & Soil Stewardship to ensure clean water and healthy soils are available to people and all other organisms.
- Improved alignment of Material Health requirements with leading chemical regulations and other standards, including a new Restricted Substances List.
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute developed the new standard through a multi-stakeholder process informed by diverse technical subject matter experts, leading manufacturers, independent assessors, and other market representatives serving on the Institute’s Standards Steering Committee, as well as its Stakeholder Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Groups. Drafts of Version 4.0 were made available for public comment during two separate review periods, and the standard has been tested in the market through the Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 Pilot Program. Eight market-leading companies have participated in the program by working to certify products to draft requirements of the new standard. The first products certified to Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 will be announced this spring.
“Input from our stakeholders has been vital to ensuring the standard remains the world’s most rigorous and advanced verification of safe products responsibly made for the circular economy,” said Klosterhaus.
Companies in every sector face growing pressure from investors, customers, employees, and other stakeholders to demonstrate environmental, social, and governance performance and to communicate progress in credible and transparent ways, according to Dr. Christina Raab, vice president of strategy and development for the Institute.
“Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 offers businesses of all sizes an ambitious solution for advancing from commitment to action by addressing interconnected sustainability topics, and developing safe and circular products,” stated Dr. Christina Raab. “By benchmarking performance against the standard’s ascending levels of achievement, companies can set strategy, measure progress, and clearly communicate their impact and leadership to their stakeholders.”
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute will begin accepting new applications to certify products to the Version 4.0 standard in July 2021.