Accredited Assessor
Accredited Assessors are trained and accredited by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to help companies achieve certification for their products

Biological Nutrients
Biological Nutrients are materials that can biodegrade safely and return to the soil to feed environmental processes. For example, untreated cotton or linen.

Carcinogen
A substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.

Carbon Footprint
A measure in units of carbon dioxide of the amount of greenhouse gases we emit directly and indirectly through our daily actions.

Carbon Neutral
One who has no carbon footprint through the process of increased efficiency, reduced consumption, and use of Cradle to Cradle processes.

Circular Economy
One that is restorative by design and aims to keep products and materials at their highest value throughout the design and end-of-use process; Aims to rebuild capital, whether it is manufactured, social, natural, human, or financial; Goal is not just to design for better end-of-use recovery, but to minimize energy use throughout the whole process

Chemical Recycling
Chemical recycling (feedstock recycling) refers to operations that aim to chemically degrade a material, such as polyester, back into monomers or other basic chemicals. The output may be made into a new polyester fiber or other plastic or it may be used for the production of other chemicals or as an alternative fuel.

Cradle to Cradle Banned List
The C2C Banned List contains those chemicals and substances that are banned for use in Cradle to Cradle Certified™ products as intentional inputs above 1000 ppm. These substances were selected for inclusion due to their tendency to accumulate in the biosphere and lead to irreversible negative human health effects. In addition, several substances were selected due to hazardous characteristics associated with their manufacture, use, and disposal.

Cradle to Cradle Certified™
A product that has achieved certification in the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program; The materials and manufacturing processes of each product are assessed in five categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy & carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness; Products that meet the the standard will be Cradle to Cradle Certified™ at one of five levels (Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum)

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard
Multi-attribute and multi level certification that guides designers and manufacturers through a continual improvement process and looks at a product through five quality categories— material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness; A product receives an achievement level in each category — Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum — with the lowest achievement level representing the product’s overall mark

Cradle to Cradle Principles
Working toward a “beneficial footprint” using eco-effective strategies to address Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy, Social Fairness, and Water Stewardship (see respective terms for Cradle to Cradle values); Under the Cradle to Cradle philosophy, the goal is to make all material inputs and outputs either technical or biological nutrients.

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute
A non-profit organization that administers the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard, which was gifted to the Institute by its Founders, William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart, in 2011

Cradle to Grave
A Cradle to Grave system is a linear model for materials that begins with resource extraction, moves to product manufacturing, and, ends with a “grave” – when the product is disposed of in a landfill or incinerator.*

Design Chemistry
The incorporation of scientific and ecological knowledge into product and process design.*

Design for Disassembly
Designing a product to be dismantled for easier maintenance, repair, recovery, and reuse of components and materials.*

Downcycling
The practice of recycling a material in such a way that much of its inherent value is lost and cannot be recovered following its next use (for example, recycling plastic into park benches). It reveals poor design for life cycle and related material flows, as those materials continue their progression toward the landfill or incinerator over time.*

Effluent
Liquid waste or sewage discharged into a river or the sea.

End of Use
End of Use is when the product no longer serves its initial purpose; It either enters a landfill or its materials are reclaimed.

Ethical Fashion
An approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which is both socially and environmentally conscious.

Fair Trade
An organized social movement and market-based approach to alleviating global poverty and promoting sustainability; The movement promotes the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in all areas related to the production of goods.

Green Chemistry
The domain of chemistry that encourages the efficient use of safe, renewable chemistry
technologies to make products.

Hazardous Chemicals
Chemicals that are either toxic to humans or the environment. Some of the most hazardous chemicals commonly used in the textile sector are: lead, nickel, APEO’s, perfluorinated compounds chromium IV, and formaldehyde.

Hybrid Product
Mixtures of technical and/or biological nutrient materials that cannot be separated and recovered at a product’s end of life. Products that are monstrous hybrids typically cannot be upcycled or downcycled, but instead end up in landfills or incinerators.*

Material
A group of one or more chemicals that together comprise a component or input to a finished product.*

Material Assessment
The evaluation of a material based on the toxicity of the components and their routes of exposure from the material in question.*

Material Health
An attribute in the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard. The ultimate goal is for all products to be manufactured using only those materials that have been optimized and do not contain any X or Grey assessed chemicals. X assessed chemicals are those with highly problematic properties which are not be allowed in a certified material. Grey assessed chemicals cannot be fully assessed due to lack of complete ingredient formulation or lack of toxicity information. As such, products are able to achieve increasingly higher levels of certification as the percentage of optimized materials in the finished product increases. The boundaries of review are drawn at the product leaving the direct production facility. The process chemicals associated with the production of certain inputs are included where applicable.

Material Reutilization
An attribute in the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard that looks to technical nutrients and biological nutrients flowing perpetually in their respective metabolisms. Products are evaluated for their nutrient potential and nutrient actualization, as well as the role the manufacturer plays in material/nutrient recovery. The intention of this category is to provide a quantitative measure of a product’s design for recyclability and/or compostability. The larger the percentage of a product and/or its components that remain in a technical and/or biological metabolism, the better the score for this category.

Mechanical Recycling
Mechanical recycling refers to operations that aim to recover plastics such as polyester waste via mechanical processes (grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding), thus producing recyclates that can be converted into new plastics products.

Mordant
A substance that combines with a dye to fix it on to the material. Many mordants contain metals, of which some are hazardous.

Natural dyes
Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources—roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood—and other biological sources such as fungi and lichens.

Natural Fibers
A fiber obtained from a plant, animal, or mineral; the natural fibers may be classified by their origin as cellulosic (from plants), protein (from animals), and mineral.*

The Next Industrial Revolution
This emerging movement of production and commerce eliminates the concept of waste, uses energy from renewable sources, and celebrates cultural and biological diversity. The promise of the Next Industrial Revolution is a system of production that fulfills desires for economic and ecological abundance and social equity in both the short and long terms-becoming sustaining (not just sustainable) for all generations.*

Organic Cotton
Cotton that is grown without pesticides from plants which are not genetically modified.

Product of Consumption
A product designed for safe and complete return to the environment, which becomes nutrients for living systems. The product of consumption design strategy allows products to offer effectiveness without the liability of materials that must be recycled or "managed" after use.*

Product of Service
A product that is used by the customer, formally or in effect, but owned by the manufacturer. The manufacturer maintains ownership of valuable material assets for continual reuse while the customer receives the service of the product without assuming its material liability. Products that can utilize valuable but potentially hazardous materials can be optimized as Products of Service.*

Rapidly Renewable
This is a material considered to be an agricultural product, both fiber and animal, that takes 10 years or less to grow or raise, and to harvest in an ongoing and sustainable fashion.*

Reclaimed
To retrieve or recover; Some companies and organizations offer "take back" programs where you can return your product to reuse materials and minimize virgin resources.

Recycling
A process whereby products that are considered waste materials are collected and transformed into materials for new products.

Recyclable
Able to be reused at a similar level of quality. For the sake of the Cradle to Cradle Certification Program, materials are considered “recyclable” if it is technically possible to recycle them and at least one commercial recycling facility exists.*

Regenerative Design
A process-oriented systems theory based approach to design; The term "regenerative" describes processes that restore, renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature.

Renewable Energy
An attribute in the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard that encourages products to be manufactured in a way that positively impacts our energy supply, ecosystem balance, community, and ultimately strives to keep carbon in soil and earth vegetation where it belongs. The intention of this category is to provide a quantitative measure of the percentage of renewably generated energy that is utilized in the manufacture of the product. Purchased electricity and direct on-site emissions associated with the final manufacturing stage of the product, as well as embodied energy associated with the product from Cradle to Gate are considered, depending on the level of certification.

Social Fairness
An attribute in the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard that requires product manufacturers to ensure that progress is made towards sustaining business operations that protect the value chain and contribute to all stakeholder interests, including employees, customers, community members, and the environment. The intention of this category is to provide a qualitative measure of the impact a product’s manufacture has on people and communities, and includes some measures of general environmental impacts.

Supply Chain
The system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer.

Sustainability
To be maintained at a consistent level indefinitely; A sustainable process meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable Fashion
Using more environmentally-friendly materials and socially-responsible methods in clothing production.

Synthetic Dyes
Synthetic dyes are obtained from derivatives of petroleum and coal.

Synthetic fibers
Synthetic fibers, such as polyester and nylon are fibers made from oil and petrochemicals. They are created by extruding fiber forming materials through spinnerets to form a thread.

Cellulosic (Manmade) fibers
Cellulosic fibers, such as rayon and Tencel are created by dissolving natural materials such as cellulose or wood pulp in a solvent and then regenerating them into fibers by extrusion and precipitation.

Take Back Program
Program that allows customers and suppliers to return excess or used products and materials.

Technical Nutrients
Materials or products that are capable of “feeding” technical systems: they may be dismantled and reused, or physically or chemically transformed, but are not consumed (i.e.,materials that do not enter the biosphere). For example, polyester or nylon.

Technical metabolism
Modeled on natural systems, the technical metabolism is the processes of human industry that maintains and perpetually reuse valuable synthetic and mineral materials in closed loops.*

Technical Nutrient
A material that remains in a closed-loop system of manufacture, reuse, and recovery called the technical metabolism, maintaining its value through infinite product life cycles.*

Upcycling
The practice of recycling a material in such a way that it retains its original high-quality in a closed-loop industrial cycle. This requires that materials can be fully separated and recovered at a product’s end of life.*

Virgin material
A material that has not been previously used or consumed, or subjected to processing other than for its original production.

Water Stewardship
An attribute in the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard that regards water as a scarce and valuable resource. Product manufacturers are evaluated against their understanding of and responsibility for water withdrawals, consumption, and releases within the local ecology, and are rewarded for innovation in the areas of conservation and quality of discharge. The intention of this category is to provide a quantitative and qualitative measure of water usage and water effluent related directly to the manufacture of the certified product.

X or Grey Assessed
X assessed chemicals are those with highly problematic properties which are not be allowed in a certified material. Grey assessed chemicals cannot be fully assessed due to lack of complete ingredient formulation or lack of toxicity information.

* Terms sourced from and in alignment with MBDC.

One library of Cradle to Cradle Certified™ materials, endless possibilities to create.

Browse the largest collection of Cradle to Cradle Certified™ materials for fashion.

See Certified Materials