Today, our impact on the world is at a crossroads. Our planet has 7 billion people, and expected to be 9 billion by 2020. At Sustainable Brands, we are familiar with how a healthy and prosperous future can be achieved by working to innovate well-designed products with reusable and safe materials, and made without the need to deplete precious resources or energy. We are happy to share initial reports that illustrate how certain companies have proven responsible leadership. We can give consumers good choices.
The report, Impacts of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program, was released today with the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and Trucost, the world’s foremost environmental data and research company. The report provides valuable insights as to how we can achieve the future we have been dreaming about for our children. It draws insight from 10 US and European companies — Shaw, PUMA, Aveda, Construction Specialties, AGC Glass, Mosa Tile, Ecover, Van Hotum and Desso — showing that the vision articulated by our founders, William McDonough and Michael Braungart, is not only capable of igniting the next industrial revolution, but through innovation, it has already begun.
It was nearly 20 years ago that Braungart and McDonough first laid out their Cradle to Cradle philosophy — a new model for abundance and prosperity in which the making of things is transformed from a destructive process into a positive force for people, economy and planet. Today, that vision is being widely adopted by manufacturers as part of the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Products Program.
This is a critical moment to rethink the way we make things. Billions of people around the globe are poised to gain middle class consumer power; and we must rethink how we produce, design, use, and reuse products and materials. If the world is going to flourish, shared prosperity must be realized with a new consumption model free from waste, pollution, and social and environmental expense. That model is Cradle to Cradle design, and its implementation is the certification program.
Some examples of the findings include:
- Invati Shampoo by Aveda now has 100 percent of its packaging made from recycled plastic through product certification (80 percent recycled plastic pre-certification) and had its energy intensity reduced by almost 24 percent.
- Construction Specialties’ Acrovyn® 4000 line of wall panels phased out 100 percent of its PVC in pursuit of certification and discovered 50 percent of its energy use is renewable and the remaining 50 percent is offset by renewable energy credits.
Trucost's Libby Bernick,
Sustainable Brands 2014
- Ecover’s Multi Daily cleaner reduced 50 percent of its use of hazardous chemicals and received an expontial sales growth of 17 percent from the previous year before certification.
- The UpCycle Basket sneaker by Puma received a 50 percent increase in energy and water efficiency in pursuit of certification and transformed its product into having 97 percent compostability at the sneaker’s end of life.
Those findings do not need explanation, because their benefits are clearly evident. Now how do we build on their success? How will companies take this new way of designing and manufacturing products to the next level and beyond?
Let’s stop talking and get started. Pioneering companies have already laid the groundwork worldwide. They have built competencies in new product design, new material innovation, the creation of reuse cycles, and increased their commitment to renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness.
The transformation we need has started, and these Innovators have shown the way.
Gathering information about the impact is a start for those companies that need metrics; but the number of product manufacturers participating in the system must grow.