Introducing the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard Version 4.0 

How we design and make products today has a direct impact on the world we will inhabit tomorrow.

The Cradle to Cradle Certified​®​ Product Standard Version 4.0 is the most ambitious and actionable standard yet for designing and making products today that enable a healthy, equitable and sustainable future. 

Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 offers businesses of all sizes a comprehensive single-standard solution for advancing from commitment to action by addressing interconnected sustainability topics, and developing safe and circular products. The standard enables brands, manufacturers, retailers and product designers to:

  • Prioritize action across five sustainability focus areas: Material Health, Product Circularity, Clean Air & Climate Protection, Water & Soil Stewardship, and Social Fairness
  • Enact roadmaps for change, from product innovation to operations.
  • Transform business models, systems and collaboration throughout the value chain. 
  • Verify sustainability performance and measure progress.
  • Lead industry transformation towards a safe, circular and equitable future.

What’s New in Version 4.0

Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 features new and enhanced requirements in all performance categories, including: 

  • New frameworks for Product Circularity and Social Fairness that define global best practices.
  • More rigorous requirements in Clean Air & Climate Protection that promote urgent action to address climate change. 
  • Expanded requirements in Water & Soil Stewardship to ensure clean water and healthy soils are available to people and all other organisms.
  • Improved alignment of Material Health requirements with leading chemical regulations and other standards, including a new Restricted Substances List.

How Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 was developed.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute developed Version 4.0 of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard through a multi-stakeholder process informed by diverse technical subject matter experts, leading manufacturers, independent assessors, and other market representatives serving on the Institute’s Standards Steering Committee, as well as its Stakeholder Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Groups. 

Drafts of Version 4.0 were made available for public comment during two separate review periods, and the standard has been tested in the market through the Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 Pilot Program. Eight market-leading companies have participated in the program by working to certify products to draft requirements of the new standard.   

Public comment drafts of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard Version 4.0 and reference documents are available here.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute will begin accepting new applications to certify products to the Version 4.0 standard in July 2021.

Cradle to Cradle Certified® Version 3.1 to Version 4.0 Transition Policy

This transition policy applies to both Cradle to Cradle Certified® certifications and C2C Certified Material Health Certificates™.

Revised on 16 November 2022

Products currently certified to Version 3.1:  

Companies may apply for certification to Version 4.0 for products certified to Version 3.1 as of 1 July 2021 (the Version 4.0 Effective Date). All Version 4.0 certifications will be valid for three years.

In addition to any previous recertifications, products may be recertified to Version 3.1 one additional time until 31 December 2024. Assessment summary forms for these Version 3.1 recertifications will be accepted until 31 December 2024. Products must then be recertified to Version 4.0 when the Version 3.1 certification expires.

All Version 3.1 certifications will be valid for two years. Certifications previously issued in 2022 for less than two years will be extended to allow for a two-year certification period. 

It will not be permitted to recertify products ineligible for Version 4.0 certification to Version 3.1 unless it is possible to demonstrate a commitment to meet the Version 4.0 requirements within a specified timeframe.

The current list of products ineligible for Version 4.0 certification can be found in Section 2 of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard Version 4.0 User Guidance.

New product certifications for Version 3.1 certification holders: 

Companies may apply for product certification to Version 4.0 beginning 1 July 2021 (the Version 4.0 Effective Date). All Version 4.0 certifications will be valid for three years. 

Applications and assessment summary forms for new product certifications to Version 3.1 will be accepted from existing Version 3.1 certification holders until 31 December 2023. All Version 3.1 certifications will be valid for two years. Applications and assessment summary forms received after 31 December 2023 will be required to certify to Version 4.0.  

Exception: Products may be added to an existing Version 3.1 certification (in accordance with the product grouping policy) after the new product application deadline (31 December 2023) and through 31 December 2024. 

It will not be permitted to certify products ineligible for Version 4.0 certification to Version 3.1 unless it is possible to demonstrate a commitment to meet the Version 4.0 requirements within a certain timeframe.

New product certifications for new certification holders:

Companies applying for product certification for the first time are required to certify to Version 4.0. All Version 4.0 certifications will be valid for three years. Applications and assessment summary forms for new product certifications to Version 3.1 will not be accepted from new certification holders.