Not just "less bad"... but actually GOOD !
Today we're talking about Cradle to Cradle®
I hope this finds you well.
To our new subscribers - Valeria, Janette, Jose, Delta, Isaac, Chiara, Lisa, Guillaume, Rachel, Jackie, A. R., Andrew, Nicole, and Lucy - welcome. Thank you for joining us.
So that you're in the know, each Sunday I write about something in the spirit of sustainability... and I do my best to make it relatively entertaining. Back issues are available in our newsletter archive. Many of you, for example, have said how much you enjoyed the "Making of a Bag" series.
A few weeks ago I mentioned Bananatex® - a technical fabric textile made from banana plants that is certified "GOLD" Cradle-to-Cradle - and I promised to delve into what the certification meant. That day is today, so let's take a deeper look.
As you are probably aware, products today are often designed with built-in obsolescence: they're sold to us in the full knowledge that we'll be encouraged to discard them and upgrade to the newer, shinier version just as soon as it comes along. With Cradle to Cradle (C2C) products however, value (whether it's the product itself, or the materials used) can be transferred from one generation to another.
I found a nice definition on the Cradle To Cradle Marketplace:
"In essence, Cradle to Cradle® is the name given to describe products that have been designed so that every element or material used in its construction can be either reused in technical products or safely composted in biological based products. Cradle to Cradle Certified® products are essentially waste-free."
The 3 Rs: a great start... but come on... WE CAN DO BETTER
It's worth stating that Cradle To Cradle is a cut above the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra that we're all familiar with. Whilst the 3-Rs philosophy is important in slowing down consumption, it's merely a "less bad" solution, because nothing in our consumption mentality inherently changes. The Cradle To Cradle philosophy on the other hand, suggests a radical re-look at how we make products in the first place. The C2C philosophy aims to mimic nature: where nothing goes to waste, and where there's a never-ending cycle of growth, decay and regeneration.
The term "Cradle To Cradle" is used in relation to a certification process, and it's a bit like the word "organic": a brand can't simply call their products "organic" or "cradle to cradle" just because it feels like it. C2C is a registered trademark and process.
Similar, in a way, to B Corps, a company wishing to have their product certified C2C has to undertake a rigorous assessment by an authorised institution. Products are assessed on 5 points:
1. Material health
2. Product circularity
3. Clean air & climate protection
4. Water & soil stewardship
5. Social fairness
They have a thing for 5s, because there are also 5 levels on the C2C scorecard:
- Gold (Bananatex is Gold-standard)
- and... P-L-A-T-I-N-U-M !
Insight into the grading process: a specific BRONZE product's score card.
I found the above image enlightening as it helps to understand how a product is "judged". The official C2C website has a section that lists all C2C certified products - with categories as diverse as building materials, electronics, and beauty products. And it's not just niche brands! I was heartened to see that Wolford (ladies tights), Bang & Olufsen (speakers), Maybelline (mascara) and Purell (soap) have C2C certified products. Snaps for the Corporates.
If you have 5 minutes, I recommend this video. Just click on the image to play.
When I'm learning something new, I'm a sucker for a short-n-sharp video explanation. So if you're new to Cradle To Cradle and would like to learn more, then I strongly recommend this video.
Voilà, voilà. I hope today's newsletter has proved insightful and now you'll know what you're looking at if/when you next encounter Cradle To Cradle.
Sending you happy week-ahead-vibes from London,
LUXTRA Founder | Aspiring Cradle-r | Proud B Corp-er
Jessica Kruger, LUXTRA