About the Innovation Institute
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is an international non-profit organization co-founded by William McDonough and Michael Braungart to bring about a large-scale transformation in the way we make things. The Institute’s mission is to provide a continuous improvement quality program to guide product manufacturers and designers in making safe and healthy products for our world.
The Institute administers the publicly available Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Product Standard, a systemic approach to product innovation that spurs the creation of truly beautiful, high-quality products, and transforms the production of consumer products into a positive force for society and the environment. The Cradle to Cradle Certified Mark provides consumers, regulators, employees, and industry peers with a clear, visible, and tangible understanding of a manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability.
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 its satellite offices in the Netherlands.
Products should make a positive mark on the world.
The Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard rates products across five quality categories and recognizes achievement and commitments to continuous improvement with five award levels:
The Institute administers the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program. It also trains and accredits assessors who assist companies in preparing for product certification. The assessors submit their results to the Institute for verification and a certificate is issued if the product meets the prerequisites.
The Certification Standards Board is the main governing body for the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program. It hears grievances and resolves disputes concerning the status of products submitted for certification. In addition, the CSB reviews the quality standard criteria and makes revisions, additions, and/or changes as they deem appropriate and necessary to maintain the integrity and viability of the Cradle to Cradle Product Certification Standard
Accredited Assessors — also know as Accredited Assessment Bodies — are organizations trained by the Institute to conduct third-party assessments of a product and its manufacturing process. Assessors lead and manage the assessment process and submit final summary reports to the Institute. Assessors are accredited to conduct general and/or materials assessments.
The Institute is developing an open, public database of “preferred” alternative chemicals, materials and processes. These viable alternatives will help companies reformulate or retool to create new products. Many leading companies are already sharing their lists of preferred materials, understanding that buyers respond most to full transparency. They understand that we all benefit when we can share from a common palette of healthy and safe ingredients. Join them and innovators of new materials in our Innovation Hub.
An international presence
The Institute is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with offices in Venlo, the Netherlands. Roy Vercoulen is the Insitute's V.P., Europe.
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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.