MBDC Assesses First Cradle to Cradle Certified™ GOLD T-Shirts

CandA Cradle to Cradle Certified Tshirt


C&A, Fashion for Good and McDonough Innovation achieve milestone for fashion industry with two Cradle to Cradle Certified™ GOLD T-shirts to hit the mass market in June.


ANTWERP, BELGIUM, May 4, 2017Today C&A, one of Europe’s leading fashion retailers, debuted the first Cradle to Cradle Certified™ GOLD T-shirts, marking an achievement level not seen before for a fashion garment. The nine-month development began in 2016 where MBDC served as assessor for the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program to help C&A, Fashion for Good, and McDonough Innovation achieve their goal of supporting two India-based garment manufacturers—Cotton Blossom and Pratibha Syntex—to develop and produce two Cradle to Cradle Certified T-shirts.

The T-shirts, as well their production, illustrate the possibility of sustainable fashion for the mass market. To achieve Cradle to Cradle® certification, products are evaluated and optimized by an accredited assessor for human and environmental health, recyclability or biodegradability, renewable energy use, carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. MBDC served as assessor for this project, and as a first step, the team visited Cotton Blossom and Pratibha Syntex to develop a baseline assessment of their factories against the Cradle to Cradle Certified criteria. By using renewable energy, offsetting carbon emissions, practicing social fairness for workers, and cleaning the water used in production, both manufacturers needed minimal improvement in these areas.

During the material health optimization process however, MBDC identified opportunities to optimize the materials and chemicals used for both manufacturers, replacing potentially hazardous or uncharacterized chemicals with chemicals that had been positively assessed. At the end of the process, C&A’s Bio Cotton clothing demonstrates the ability to be safe enough for home composting at end of use.

“By providing our customers with clothing that is safe enough to return to the biological nutrient cycle, we are empowering the public to affordably purchase organic, socially responsible products that fully respect nature. These T-shirts are the first step in our long journey to circular fashion, and we’re looking forward to offering more Cradle to Cradle Certified products in the near future,” said Jeffrey Hogue, Global Sustainability Officer of C&A.

A noteworthy achievement in the design stages of the products was eliminating all the sensitizing and halogenated dyes, and instead sourcing and utilizing dyes which MBDC determined as better alternatives and which met Cradle to Cradle standards on a high level.

“In nature, the ‘waste’ of one system becomes food for another,” said Jay Bolus, President of Certification Services at MBDC. “The two new T-shirts illustrate the possibility by which we can transform what is currently a take-make-waste industry to one that is regenerative and closed-loop to progress us toward a positive future. We worked closely with Cotton Blossom and Pratibha Syntex and throughout their supply chains to ensure the resulting apparel is not only attractive, accessible and affordable—but also a positive design.”

As a founding member and visionary behind the newly-launched Fashion for Good initiative and co-founder of MBDC, William McDonough is leading the global movement toward positive design for the fashion industry and beyond. Efforts behind both Fashion for Good and the Cradle to Cradle Certified GOLD T-shirts exemplify what McDonough calls the Five Goods: good materials, good economy, good energy, good water and good lives.

C&A will exhibit the T-shirts at the international media presentation of the company’s 2017 Autumn / Winter Collection today in Antwerp, Belgium. At the event, McDonough will highlight the current steps being taken in the apparel industry to create a more circular economy.

The first Cradle to Cradle Certified GOLD T-shirt by C&A developed with the help of Fashion for Good will be available to consumers as of June 2017 across Europe. Two additional styles, one women’s and one men’s style, will be launched in Brazil and Mexico in September. For more information on the T-shirts’ optimization process and how to begin your company’s own assessment, please visit MBDC.com.


Update: The T-shirts are now available for purchase on C&A’s website.



About MBDC

MBDC is a firm founded in 1995 by world-renowned architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart. MBDC originated the Cradle to Cradle® design framework and leads companies toward positive growth by integrating the framework into corporate strategy, communications, operations, supply chains, and product designs. Using the process of inventory, assessment, and optimization, MBDC provides technical expertise to develop solutions around material health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social fairness. MBDC partners with clients throughout various sectors and industries to provide scientific evaluations, spur innovation, and inspire leadership.

Subscribe to William McDonough’s YouTube Channel to view his latest Cradle to Cradle talks.
Stay up-to-date: Follow William McDonough for the latest Cradle to Cradle news.

Cradle to Cradle® is a registered trademark of MBDC.

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a certification mark licensed by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.