Starting a Revolution
In 1992, William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart published The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability. In 2002, they published Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, encapsulating a journey of discovery about materials as biological or technical nutrients and their use periods and their evolution. They created a framework for quality assessment and innovation: the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program.
In 2010, after 20 years of working with companies, they saw a need to scale up the transformation. They gifted a license to the certification system and methodology to the public through the creation of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The non-profit Institute is an agent of change through open source information.
About the Institute
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a non-profit organization, educates and empowers manufacturers of consumer products to become a positive force for society and the environment, helping to bring about a new industrial revolution.
The Institute administers the publicly available Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard which provides designers and manufacturers with criteria and requirements for continually improving what products are made of and how they are made.
The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ mark provides consumers, regulators, employees, and industry peers with a clear, visible, and tangible validation of a manufacturer’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and to their communities.
The continual improvement quality standard was gifted to the Institute by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (Crade to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, The Upcycle) after more than 20 years of private development with some of the world’s leading brands.
The Institute is governed by an independent board of directors and is led by Bridgett Luther, former director of the California Department of Conservation. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with offices in Amsterdam and Venlo, the Netherlands. Bridge funding for the Institute’s work is provided by foundations and individuals who share common values and hope for the future. Self-sustaining revenues will result from training programs and certification and licensing fees.
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Working with TruCost®, the Institute has established a framework for measuring the business, social, and environmental benefits of Cradle to Cradle product certification.
Initially, the Institute is being funded by private donations from organizations and individuals with the same core values as the Institute. After the Institute is established, it will be funded through training, product registration and certification fees.
An initial grant was provided by the DOEN Foundation. DOEN actively seeks pioneers who make a positive contribution to decrease the negative effects of human behavior on climate change, cultivating an open society based on solidarity and promoting a new economy. The Foundation was established in 1991 by the Dutch Postcode Lottery to generate funds for charity organizations dedicated to ‘people’ and the ‘planet.’
Additional funding has also been made available by the Schmidt Family Foundation. Established in 2006 by Wendy and Eric Schmidt, its mission is to advance the creation of an increasingly intelligent relationship between human activity and the use of the world’s natural resources.