Products & Materials

Products & Materials represent a cornerstone of the Cradle to Cradle design principles and MBDC’s work. We believe that issues of ingredient toxicity and material scarcity are under-represented in most sustainability assessments. In addition, these characteristics are critical to developing biological and technical metabolisms that are safe for human and environmental health and that recover component materials for reuse in new product applications. Ideally, these attributes are designed into a product or material’s life cycle from the start, although there always is the opportunity for improvement.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) typically do not fully measure a material’s human and environmental health footprint, and Risk Assessment focuses on controlling dose and exposure to hazardous substances. Alternatively, the Cradle to Cradle framework uses a more precautionary approach. MBDC’s material assessment methodology (see Certification Criteria and Certification Resources pages for more information) evaluates potential hazards of ingredients to provide a technically and economically feasible means for industry to filter the materials being used to make products. While a list of restricted substances (RSL) can be an important tool for initiating needed changes in a supply chain, we help our clients to characterize their products in a way that identifies more positive chemistries and materials to optimize their products over time.
Internal Check for Cradle to Cradle® Potential

A critical component of Cradle to Cradle® product design is the selection of materials and chemicals. How the materials used in buildings and products are chosen, acquired, used, and eventually redeployed can have a profound effect on environmental performance.


McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) will review publically available information to create this guidance document. The analysis examines materials and products in the categories of Human Health, Ecological Health, Nutrient Potential, Recycled/Renewable Content, and Energy Strategy, and Social Fairness to create a system for comparison.


These categories match those used by MBDC in Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM program for products. However, the level of analysis in this check for Cradle to Cradle® potential is less rigorous. In order for products to become Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM, companies contract directly with an accredited consultant like MBDC to review the chemistry, water, energy, social fairness and industrial processes of their products. Here, the burden is on the manufacturer and their supply chain to disclose complete and accurate information. Often, in order to maintain company confidential information detailed chemical and materials analysis information is typically proprietary and only available under confidentiality agreements.


With the Internal Check for Cradle to Cradle® Potential, this guidance evaluation is based on the manufacturers’ published catalogue cut sheets, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and information readily available on manufacturers’ websites. Thus, the evaluation is broad and limited by available information. Should the evaluators believe additional data is required, it is noted in the text.


Communication Guidelines for Internal Check for Cradle to Cradle® Potential 

Upon completion of this Internal Check for Cradle to Cradle® Potential, the client receives a report summarizing the results of MBDC’s review. The results do not render the product(s) either approved or endorsed by MBDC as Cradle to Cradle®. Marketing materials for reviewed products may not mention this internal check.  This exercise is intended to provide an initial view of a product’s potential to be subsequently assessed as Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM while identifying likely positive attributes and opportunities to optimize the product. Results of this exercise are intended to aid professionals in their choice of materials and products when a Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM product or material is not immediately available or viable for the intended use. The Internal Check report is intended to be shared only with stakeholders in projects for which your product is actively bidding. Only products audited by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute may carry the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM certification marks under license. Please direct any questions about the Internal Check for Cradle to Cradle® Potential to the contact information listed below.

Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM is a certification mark licensed by Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.





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