Companies including Aveda, Ecover, Puma and Shaw Industries have cut costs, improved product value, developed new revenue streams and avoided risks using the Cradle to Cradle certified product standard, according to a report.
Impacts of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program, released by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and environmental research and data company Trucost, assesses the business, environmental and social impacts for 10 companies and certified products. The report for the first time offers a framework for measuring the value of Cradle to Cradle certification.
Companies in the report are AGC Glass Europe, Aveda, Construction Specialties, Desso, Ecover, Mosa, Puma, Shaw Industries, Steelcase and Van Houtum. The study shows the structural cost reduction through re-using product material and increasing resource efficiency. By avoiding traditional resource markets and by reducing dependency on non-renewable energy, the report shows companies’ risk was reduced from volatile commodity prices and supply disruption.
The newly developed framework was based on best practice assessment techniques, ranging from traditional quantitative and qualitative methods, such as lifecycle analysis, to more advanced natural capital valuation assessment that quantifies the business, environmental and social impacts of products.
For example, Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, received its first Cradle to Cradle certification for the EcoWorx Tile, which is now its fastest growing carpet product. Compared to the uncertified version previously manufactured, the report shows that energy efficiency measures and the switch to renewables cut the environmental cost of making carpet tiles by more than half. The water and energy savings for total production carried out in 2012 equaled a cost savings of $2.5 million.
The environmental benefits of certification were evident in the 10 companies through the phasing out or elimination of hazardous materials and replacing them with safer alternatives. Designed to be re-used continuously in either the technical or biological cycle, Aveda committed to making its packaging from 100 percent recycled plastic. The study also indicates if all Puma Incycle products are composted at end-of-use, the sneaker has an 87 percent smaller environmental impact as compared to conventional sneakers.