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Assessing the Ability of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program to Reliably Determine the Environmental Performance of Products

Bach, Vanessa; Minkov, Nikolay; Finkbeiner, Matthias

FG Technischer Umweltschutz / Sustainable Engineering

Concepts and tools supporting the design of environmentally friendly products (including materials, goods or services) have increased over the last years. The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program (C2CP) is one of these approaches. In this work, the ability of C2CP to reliably determine the environmental performance of products was analyzed through the application of a criteria-based assessment scheme. Additionally, to compare C2CP with three other already established tools (life cycle assessment, product environmental footprint and material flow analysis), the same criteria-based scheme was applied. Results show that C2CP is not scientifically reliable enough to assure that certified products actually have a good environmental performance. The most relevant shortcoming of C2CP relates to its limited assessment scope, due to the fact that neither the entire life cycle of the product nor all relevant environmental impacts are covered. Based on already established tools and their practical implementation recommendations for increasing the reliability of C2CP are provided.