Trucost News / 05 Jun 2014

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute releases impact study on business

Trucost measures the business, environmental and social value of Cradle to Cradle certification by 10 early adopters

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute today released the report Impacts of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program with Trucost, the world’s foremost environmental data and research company. The study assesses the business, environmental and social impacts for 10 companies and certified products and for the first time offers a framework for measuring the value of Cradle to Cradle certification.

The report details the business benefits from early innovators who undertook the rigorous certification program that is the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard. Companies in the report include AGC Glass Europe, Aveda, Construction Specialties, Desso, Ecover, Mosa, Puma, Shaw Industries, Steelcase, and Van Houtum. The study reveals business benefits, including reduced costs, improved product value, new revenue streams and avoided risks. It illustrates the structural cost reduction through re-using product material and increasing resource efficiency. By avoiding traditional resource markets and by reducing dependency on non-renewable energy, the report shows companies’ risk was reduced from volatile commodity prices and supply disruption.

“We want to thank the 10 innovators in this report, the early adopters, who are leading the way to a healthier tomorrow, as well as our donors, DOEN Foundation and C2C ExpoLab, who helped fund this research,” said Bridgett Luther, President of the Institute. “We also thank Trucost for this initial research showing the value of Cradle to Cradle certification. This was not easy to do, since many of the companies that certify their products are privately held and because the value of certification is difficult to quantify on a per product basis, but it’s a valuable step in the right direction.”

The newly developed framework was based on best practice assessment techniques, ranging from traditional quantitative and qualitative methods, such as lifecycle analysis, to more advanced natural capital valuation assessment that quantifies the business, environmental and social impacts of products.

Examples include Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, who received its first Cradle to Cradle certification for the EcoWorx® Tile – now its fastest growing carpet product. Compared to the uncertified version previously manufactured, the report shows that energy efficiency measures and the switch to renewables cut the environmental cost of making carpet tiles by more than half. The water and energy savings for total production carried out in 2012 equaled a cost savings of  $2.5 million.

“Approximately 65 percent of Shaw’s sales are from Cradle to Cradle Certified products. Our goal is to design all our products to Cradle to Cradle protocols by 2030,” said Paul Murray, Vice President of Sustainability & Environmental Affairs. “Our company, our customers and our communities benefit from this rigorous, holistic approach, which includes designing with the end in mind and maintaining an extensive take-back program that has resulted in Shaw recycling more than 700 million pounds of carpet since 2006.”

The environmental benefits of certification were evident in the ten companies through the phasing out or elimination of hazardous materials and replacing them with safer alternatives. Designed to be re-used continuously in either the technical or biological cycle, Aveda committed to making its packaging from 100% recycled plastic. The study also indicates if all PUMA Incycle products are composted at end-of-use, the sneaker has an 87% smaller environmental impact as compared to conventional sneakers.

The study showed additional evidence of environmental benefits through Construction Specialties’ success in its Acrovyn® 4000 line, which through in the pursuit of certification, the company was able to completely phase out Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), a known carcinogen.

“Gathering inspiration from their customers, innovators live for a world of market change. We who advocate for sustainable, healthier products have listened to our markets and are developing Cradle to Cradle Certified products,” said Howard Williams, Senior Vice President of Sustainability, New Ventures and Acquisitions at Construction Specialties. “This study qualifies and confirms that the societal and business benefits of good design are mutually supportive, but this will all quickly fade into an archive of well-intended ideals if the market fails to act on its call.”

The Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard provides a pathway through its continuous improvement process for companies to optimize their innovative capacities aimed at a product design that is a force for good for the environment, human well-being and business. The continuous improvement requirement and recognition sets the certification apart from any other label or quality standard and is why companies can see tremendous progress and benefits over time.

“Business as usual is not an option if we are to create a sustainable future. We need to revolutionize our approach to design and production, decoupling growth from negative environmental and social impacts, and the time to do that is now,” said Richard Mattison, Chief Executive Officer of Trucost.

“This report shows that companies increasingly recognize the need to fundamentally rethink the way they design and make products to help their customers live more sustainable lives,” Mattison added. “The framework we developed helped these ten leading companies quantify and communicate the environmental, social and business benefits achieved through Cradle to Cradle certification. We hope more companies will follow their example.”

Further information

Download Impacts of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products

Media Contact

PDP: Lex Hundsdorfer, 678-770-8305,

Trucost: James Richens, +44 (0)20 7160 9804,

About Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission is to turn the making of things into a positive force for people, the economy, and the planet. They steward the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Program, which is a system for assessing and constantly improving products based upon five categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness. The Institute is headquartered in San Francisco, California with satellite offices in Amsterdam, NL, Venlo, NL and Raleigh, NC.