What if products not only did no harm, but they actually benefited the environment, people, and the economy? That’s a pretty audacious goal–even by today’s sustainability standards–but in 1995 it was pretty out there. But that’s where chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough wanted to be when they developed their Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification to help business achieve positive impact. Since then, over 400 products have been certified.
We have the utmost respect for their work. So much so, that starting in the late 90′s Herman Miller began collaborating with them to help us develop our Design for the Environment (DfE) protocols, ensuring the sustainability of our products.
Now, with the creation of a nonprofit Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute, Bruangart and McDonough are working to expand the influence C2C and establish the certification as a mark of quality.
As part of a whirlwind tour to promote the new “C2C” website, Braungart spoke with Metropolis blogger Joanne Furio. Following is an excerpt from the interview.
The new version of C2C is being relaunched. How has it different?
It is more specific, and the process is as well, to make it more transparent. It also includes a lot of input from international standardization institutions—like the Japan standards institute or Jordan standards institute—to put it in standard form, which makes it more easily accepted across industries.
C2C has also moved the certification process from MBDC to the nonprofit institute. Why?
We wanted to make sure that all the companies that worked with us are treated the same. Certification needs to be done by a not-for-profit organization that is accessible to everybody without any doubts or questions. Everybody can do Cradle to Cradle independently whether or not he or she is working with us [at the design consultancy].
For more of Braungart’s Q&A, please visit Metropolis.