Multi-Attribute Certification Pinpoints True Sustainability

The Cradle to Cradle Certified approach evaluates and improves products for a greener world
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Sponsored by Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

Learning Objectives:

  1. Articulate the five attributes of Cradle to Cradle Product Certification, their importance, and how they are measured.
  2. Reference five levels of certification and describe what each says about a product.
  3. Communicate how Cradle to Cradle Certified products meet client objectives especially related to sustainability goals.
  4. Describe changes to LEED v4 that reference Cradle to Cradle Certified products.


1 GBCI CE Hour
This test is no longer available for credit

Everyone wants a healthier, more sustainable world. As the consciousness of sustainability has been raised over the last several decades, that statement is increasingly a given. The question becomes how to get there. Green rating systems of various stripes have emerged in an effort to guide architects and designers in creating a built environment that is safe, non-toxic, and meets energy efficiency, resource conservation, and carbon-neutral goals. Multi-attribute certifications are gathering acceptance as the preferred way of evaluating—and in some cases improving—products of all types.

This article will describe the growing influence of multi-attribute certification systems, focusing on the Cradle to Cradle Certified approach as a means of getting to products that make a beneficial impact on the world. Cradle to Cradle certification will be discussed in detail, including parameters examined and the process required, highlighting examples of improvements in certified products that are upping the sustainability quotient of working and living spaces.

Multi-Attribute Certifications

Green building has its fair share of single-attribute certifications that give products the nod for everything from forestry practices to energy ratings. But increasingly the industry is looking for a more comprehensive system of evaluating products, and favoring the multi-attribute certification approach. The goal of multi-attribute certifications is to recognize products that score well not just in one parameter but across a comprehensive battery of environmental, health, and even social measures. Some of these certification systems include full analysis of a product's life cycle, while others simply use life-cycle thinking to identify the top issues to cover in the standards. One of the best recognized multi-attribute systems is Cradle to Cradle Certified, which was developed along visionary guidelines to evaluate products according to five parameters and to set out a path of continuous improvement towards the ultimate goal of products that are safe for human and environmental health and infinitely reutilized.

Cradle to Cradle certification provides the framework to assist manufacturers in the making of safe, healthy, regenerative products.

Photos courtesy of Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute


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Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in August 2013