Cradle to Cradle®

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Evaluation Tool

Cradle to Cradle®

Tool Category

Standards, Certifications & Labels

At a Glance

Cradle to Cradle® is a multi-attribute third party certification program that evaluates a product through five quality categories — material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product receives an achievement level in each category with the lowest achievement level representing the product’s overall grade.  The program is designed to encourage continuous improvement in product design.

Tool Website(s)


Tool Owner/Sponsor

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute 

Product Stage of Life Evaluated

Raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, consumer use, end of life

Tool Description

The Cradle to Cradle® certification program includes requirements for:

  • Material health — the toxicity of every material that goes into a product is examined and a path to improve product design and safety to humans and the environment is provided to manufacturers.
  • Material reutilization — promotes design that encourages the recyclability of the product for future uses.
  • Renewable energy and carbon management — manufacturers are encouraged to go beyond energy efficiency and commit themselves to renewable sources of energy during the manufacturing process.
  • Water stewardship — manufacturers are encouraged to operate in a way that has the water leaving the factory as clean as or cleaner than when it came in.
  • Social fairness— manufacturers are encouraged to practice business in a way that respects the health, safety, and rights of people and the planet.

There are five levels of product certification: Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The minimum level of achievement in any of the categories determines the product’s overall certification level.

 Products or materials from any industry that are sold to consumers or other businesses are eligible for certification. Certification criteria are the same for all product types.

 Every manufacturer receiving the certification mark for their product is required to make a good faith effort toward continuous improvement and optimization.

 Manufacturers can also apply to receive a product Material Health Certificate. The requirements that must be met in order to achieve a Material Health Certificate are identical to the requirements at each level of the Material Health section of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard, in addition to the Continuous Improvement/Optimization requirement.  There are four levels of Material Health Certification – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Product Categories

All Sectors

Tool Requirements

Companies seeking certification must list product ingredients above 0.01% concentration, along with related MSDS's, test results, etc.. Products cannot contain any chemicals on the C2C Banned List. All products must be able to be disassembled and recycled. Data about the manufacturing process (including energy use, water use, and social responsibility practices) is also required. There are additional requirements with each level of certification.

 The C2C certification requires annual surveillance to confirm that products continue to meet the standard’s requirements, including continual improvement. The product must be re-certified every two years.

Cost of Tool

 Fees for product certification can be found on the Cradle2 Cradle web site: www.c2ccertified.org/resources/collection-page/cradle-to-cradle-certified-resources

Evaluation Frequency

Certification is valid for one calendar year from the certification date and must be renewed on an annual basis.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: Supply chain is evaluated. Criteria used are all publicly available and are periodically reviewed in a multi-stakeholder process.

Weaknesses: Cradle to Cradle® certification is not really a certification at the lower levels, but is more of a review process.

Similar Tools that Serve the Same Industry or Product Category

Green Seal, EcoLogo, EPA Design for Environment Safer Product Labeling Program

For More Information

info@c2ccertified.org or 415-816-7087

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