Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

Learn more about the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute on their website:


What is Cradle to Cradle Certified™?

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program is the world’s most advanced, science-based standard for designing and making products for the Circular Economy. It acknowledges continuous improvement and innovation of products and processes toward the goal of being not just “less bad” but also “more good” for people and the planet.

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    The certification program is based on the Cradle to Cradle Design™ Framework and methodology, which has been developed and implemented by MBDC over the past two decades. MBDC created the certification program in 2005 to recognize achievement in applying Cradle to Cradle Design. In 2010, MBDC donated an exclusive license for the certification program and methodology to the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, which now administers the program and manages the Product Standard as a third-party, nonprofit organization.


Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products

Products or materials from any industry or country are eligible to apply for certification. Since the program began in 2005, there have been over 600 certifications from companies in 30 countries. Certificates have been awarded in a variety of categories, including building materials, interior design products, textiles, fabrics, cosmetics, home care products, paper, packaging and polymers. 


Levels of Achievement

The Cradle to Cradle Design Framework has outlined a vision to guide product design and manufacturing, and the certification program recognizes multiple levels of achievement towards that vision. Under Version 3 of the program, there are five levels of product certification: Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

In order to be certified at a certain level, a product must meet the minimum criteria for that level in all five criteria categories. The criteria in each category becoming increasingly demanding with each level of certification.


The Product Standard

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard takes a comprehensive approach to evaluating the design of a product, the practices employed in manufacturing the product and its use and reuse potential. 

Products are assessed in five categories:


Material Health

Product ingredients are inventoried throughout the supply chain and evaluated for impacts to human and ecological health. The criteria at each level build towards the expectation of eliminating all toxic and unidentified chemicals and becoming nutrients for safe, continuous cycling.


Material Reutilization

Products are designed to either biodegrade safely as a biological nutrient or to be recycled into new products as a technical nutrient. At each level continued progress must be made towards increasing the recovery of materials and keeping them in continuous flows.


Renewable Energy & Carbon Management

The criteria at each level progress towards the goal of completely carbon-neutral manufacturing operations that are powered with 100% renewable energy.


Water Stewardship

Manufacturing processes are designed to regard water as a precious resource for all living things and at each level progress is made towards the goal of all effluent being clean enough to drink.


Social Fairness

Company operations are designed to celebrate all people and natural systems and progress is made towards the goal of having a wholly beneficial impact on the planet.


Benefits of Cradle to Cradle Certified™

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is more than a recognized mark of product quality; it is a process that leads companies to make better products, better companies and better communities.

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    Results of the Certification Process

    • Benchmarking of a product’s design for safety to human and environmental health, sustainability of manufacturing processes and future use cycles
    • Defined trajectory for optimizing product design and manufacturing processes
    • Expert evaluations of product ingredients throughout the supply chain for toxicity hazards and risks in context of use
    • Third-party assessments that can provide data to verify claims about your products, to meet regulations or to contribute to other certifications

    Advantages of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Program

    • Joining a community of innovative companies that make certified quality products and that use the power of business to provide social and environmental benefits in the circular economy
    • Use of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ marks on product packaging and marketing materials to indicate commitment to continuous improvement and total quality
    • Recognition in green building certification programs (USGBC’s LEED V4 Rating System, BREEAM-NL 2014 v1.0) and preference for use in certain Cradle to Cradle-inspired buildings, communities, and developments, including Park 20|20 in the Netherlands and Make It Right’s homes in New Orleans
    • Becoming “products of choice” for numerous environmentally preferable purchasing programs

Getting Certified


Step 1: Determine if your product is appropriate for certification

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    Is it within the scope of certification?

    Does it comply with the Banned Chemicals Lists?

    Is there a commitment to continuous improvement?

    Does your product meet eligibility requirements in the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard?


Step 2: Select an Accredited Assessment Body for the testing, analysis, and evaluation of your product

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    Select from the list of Accredited Assessment Bodies

    Develop a certification plan including cost, timeline and necessary resources


Step 3: Work with your assessor to compile and evaluate data

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    Work with assessor and supply chain to collect data

    Assessor evaluates data against the Product Standard criteria

    Work with assessor to develop optimization strategies

    Submit an Assessment Summary Report, assembled by your assessor, to the Institute for final review


Step 4: Receive certification for your product

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    The Institute reviews Assessment Summary Report to ensure completeness and accuracy and makes the final certification decision, conferring a certificate and the use of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ mark, per the requirements of the Trademark Use Guidelines

    Applicant signs a Trademark License Agreement and pays a certification fee to the Institute


Step 5: Report your progress

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    Every two years, work with the assessor and supply chain to gather new data for re-certification

    Assessor evaluates data and progress on optimization strategies


MBDC is a Leading Accredited Assessor of the Cradle to Cradle Products Program. Click here to learn more about MBDC.

Download a pdf summary of the Institute here.