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The greener blueprint

Tomorrow’s Cleaning Editor, Charlotte Taylor, takes an in-depth look at the Cradle to Cradle Framework and Certification; the ultimate guideline for green.

Anyone who regularly reads Tomorrow’s Cleaning will know that the topic of sustainability and being green is a topic I will happily wax lyrical about. I think it’s hugely important, not just to our industry, but to any. The only issue is: no-one knows just how to achieve this. There’s no guideline in place to tell us how and I was beginning to think that it was much the same as the illusive Parents’ Handbook – you do your best and just get on with it.

But I was wrong. After assessing a rather impressive paper product for this issue, I felt compelled to dig a little deeper into an organisation known as Cradle to Cradle.

Eco-efficiency vs. Eco-effectiveness Set up by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), a global sustainability consulting and product certification firm, Cradle to Cradle takes the perspective of “people, planet, profit” and pushes it even further. Products and services will no longer just simply tick the boxes of quality, cost, performance and aesthetics, but also address environmental and social responsibility too.

The Cradle to Cradle framework moves beyond that traditional goal of just reducing the negative impacts and instead focuses on increasing the positives. Goodbye to eco-efficiency and hello to eco-effectiveness. MBDC has actually developed a white paper that specifically compares these two approaches. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Getting certified The Cradle to Cradle®

Certification is a multi-

attribute eco-label that assesses a product’s safety to humans and the environment and design for future life cycles. The program provides guidelines to help businesses implement the Cradle to Cradle framework, which focuses on using safe materials that can be disassembled and recycled as technical nutrients or composted as biological nutrients.

Unlike single-attribute eco-labels, MBDC’s certification program takes a comprehensive approach to evaluating the design of a product and the practices employed in manufacturing the product. The materials and manufacturing practices of each product are assessed in five categories: Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy Use, Water Stewardship, and Social Responsibility. Click here for complete description of Certification Criteria .

Eligibility 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.

Levels of Achievement There are four levels of product certification: In order to be certified at a certain level, a product must meet the minimum criteria for that level in

Basic certification Silver certification Gold certification Platinum certification

all five criteria categories.

The future of our cleaning industry | TOMORROW’S CLEANING | 39 SUSTAINABLE CLEANING

An expert’s view... I asked Matt Anderson, of Cradle UK, what he thought: “In basic terms Cradle to Cradle models human

industry on nature's processes for which materials are viewed as nutrients. Put simply, it is a complete economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not just efficient but essentially waste free.

“The model in its broadest sense is not limited to industrial design and manufacturing; it can be applied to many different aspects of human civilization such as urban environments, buildings, economics and social systems. Guided by this principle ‘the concept’ developed by an architect and a chemist explain how products can be designed from the outset so that, after their useful lives, they will provide nourishment for something new.

“I have followed Cradle to Cradle for the last 18 months and believe that this accreditation, little known in the UK, makes perfect sense.”

The answer?

Could it be that this is the way forward for sustainable certification? Is this the method we should follow to get the hang of being green. Personally, I think that this certification can do wonders for commerce worldwide. I wonder if the cleaning industry will learn to embrace it?

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