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Cradle to Cradle

The concept of Cradle to Cradle is to pay more than just lip service to the practice of sustainable design. The standard model for manufacturing is cradle to grave - we are labelled as consumers, but we rarely actually physically consume an item, instead, we dispose of the item at its life expiry, usually to a landfill.  

Cradle to Cradle instead promotes a circular ecosystem, where recycling takes precedence, using two streams: technical and biological.  In the former, materials are fed back into the manufacturing process to make new products; in the latter, inputs are returned to the environment in the same state as they entered the cycle. 

Part of the recycling process requires examination of what ingredients and inputs go into a product, with an aim to make products which are not just "less bad" by removing toxic substances or reducing resource use, but also making them "more good".  This is done by consciously considering what ingredients need to be in a product and why, how much of a resource is really required, and where possible altering a product so it can offer positive improvements to the built environment it resides in*. 

Cradle to Cradle doesn't call for a death to all technology or a regression back to pre-industrial times. The model instead suggests economic growth can be gained through an intertwining of technology and culture with the surrounding environment - so manufacturing is re-shaped to become part of the natural ecosystem, while still providing all of the benefits and comforts of modern life that workers and consumers expect. 

* An example of positive improvement is Desso's AirMaster carpet and how it improves indoor air quality.

What is Cradle to Cradle certification?

Cradle to Cradle certification is a commitment to continually improving processes.  Every two years manufacturers must demonstrate that they have made efforts to improve their products in order to have their products recertified. Five categories are examined against the Cradle to Cradle philosophies:

  • Material health

  • Material reutilization

  • Renewable energy and carbon management

  • Water stewardship

  • Social fairness

Each category is assigned an achievement level - Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum, with the lowest achievement representing the product's overall mark. 


Which products have Cradle to Cradle certification?

Three of the manufacturers Jacobsen represent in NZ have their products certified:

  • Shaw Contract Group

    • Ecoworx carpet tile and broadloom - Silver

  • Tarkett

    • Linoleum - Silver

    • iQ One - Gold

  • Desso (a Tarkett company)

    • Ecobase carpet tile - Silver, Gold

    • Non-Ecobase carpet tile and broadloom - Bronze