FAQs Cradle to Cradle® Certification
Which organisations are involved?
EPEA: Conducts Certifications for their customers. The EPEA part is Material Assessment and Process Evaluation, if applicable a site visit, followed by handing over the Certification Report to C2CPII (see below), suggesting a Certification level.
MBDC: Conceived the first Certification Program in 2005 and licensed it in 2011 to the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII). MBDC does Certifications like EPEA for its customers and was until 2011 responsible as a 3rd party for doing Audits and issuing of Certificates for the EPEA Certifications.
C2CPII: In 2010 the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute (C2CPII), San Francisco, was established, being responsible since 2011 for auditing and issuing of the Certificates.
What can be certified?
The Certification program was developed for products, not including food, beverages, companies, persons or services. Regarding the product ingredients there are several chemicals („Banned Chemicals“, see „Banned List“) which, if part of a product, prevent its Certification. Furthermore products will not be certified if not consistent with the Cradle to Cradle® principles.
If a customer intends to certify more than one product and the products are very similar (big overlap in components, same production process) the Certification can be carried out as a Group-Certification, resulting in 1 Audit and 1 Certificate. This saves costs, but it has to be taken into account that changes in one product affects the whole group Certificate.
In which documents can I find information?
On the EPEA-website www.epea.com you can find the following documents (partially as links) which inform you about principles and procedure of Cradle to Cradle® Certification
- Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Product Standard, Version3
- General information on Cradle to Cradle® Certification (“flyer”)
- Step by step introduction how to apply for a Cradle to Cradle®
- Selected templates for collection of data
On the C2CPII website (http://c2ccertified.org) a lot of additional information about the Cradle to Cradle® Certification can be found.
What are the steps in a Certification Process?
There are four steps in a Certification Process. In brackets: who is responsible for the step in a usual Certification Process when applied at EPEA.
1. Material Assessment (EPEA)
Assessment of all ingredients of a product according to the ABC-X categorization of Cradle to Cradle®
2. Process Evaluation (EPEA)
Data about the process flow, inputs, energy, social responsibility and water of the production process(es), partially also process chemicals.
3. Audit (C2CPII)
C2CPII as an independent 3rd party checks whether the Certification is in line with the original Certification Program.
4. Issuing of the Certificate (C2CPII) and signing of a license agreement with the customer
If it is not sure whether my product is suitable for certification: What to do?
EPEA can offer a pre-check for a price of 3500 € which results in a statement whether the prod-uct can be basically certified or not and whether it is appropriate to start the formal Certification process.
What kind of data do I have to deliver to EPEA for Certification?
A crucial point is the definition of the product. This means knowing all ingredients described by chemical name with CAS number, down to a concentration of 100 ppm (some exceptions). Furthermore, data about the production process (flow chart, in- and output of chemicals or process inputs, recycled input, energy for production, emission situation and strategy, social fairness, water management) are also required.
How far do I have to go into the production process?
Data about the main manufacturing steps have to be gathered („main manufacturing step“). It is not necessary to gather data about the production of pre-products (e.g. when a t-shirt is to be certified, data is needed about the processes of spinning, weaving, dyeing, tailoring and finishing treatments but not about the production of the dyes). Some exceptions will be mentioned if applicable in the particular case, see the Cradle CertifiedCM Product Standard.
Where can I gather these data?
Either the applicant disposes of the data himself or he has to ask his supplier(s).
What to do if my supplier does not give us information due to confidentiality?
It is up to the customer to encourage his supplier(s) to get in touch and to cooperate directly with EPEA. Subsequently EPEA can sign a Secrecy Agreement (Non Disclosure Agreement) with a supplier so that he can deliver confidential data directly to EPEA. This is called the “know-how-trustee”-model, and EPEA acts as the know-how-trustee. If a supplier does not see a beneficial role in the Certification, although he may get information about problematic substances in his product, the applicant may look for another supplier who is cooperative.
How long will the whole process for applying the Cradle to Cradle Certification last?
From delivery of all necessary data by the customer and/or the supplier it will take approximately 6-8 weeks to carry out the assessments by EPEA and to issue the Certificate by C2CPII. If a cus-tomer intends to certify a larger number of products at a certain time this time line can be longer. Another factor is whether a site visit can be arranged within this time frame.
How long is a certificate valid?
For two years, then there is a Re-Certification necessary or the product is listed out.
How does a Re-Certification proceed?
If nothing has changed, the applicant confirms this and will receive a new Certificate, charged by EPEA at 1500 €. Issuing of the Certificate by C2CPII will be charged separately at 500 €.
If something has changed and additional or new Assessments have to be done, this will be charged by EPEA according to the time spent by EPEA scientists on this. If many things have changed, it has to be considered whether a new Certification is necessary.
What does a certification cost?
Costs mainly depend on the number of ingredients to be assessed, plus on the number of pro-cesses and audits and the expense of the site visit. The costs can only be estimated when the exact or approximate numbers of ingredients are known.
What is the relationship between EPEA and MBDC?
Michael Braungart is the founder of EPEA and co-founder of MBDC. Both organizations are separate companies, but cooperate in several projects. MBDC applies the same Assessment criteria as EPEA. Information provided within the Non Disclosure Agreements are respected by both companies individually, so there is no exchange of confidential customer related data between MBDC and EPEA.
Is the certification valid all around the world?
The certificates are valid worldwide. Together with the certificate, customers have to sign a license agreement with C2CPII about the usage of the logo. This will be prepared by C2CPII. MBDC still owns the trademark and certification mark, so C2CPII and EPEA are licensees of the Certification program of MBDC.
The standard of Certification is consistent, published on the website of C2CPII (http://c2ccertified.org/product_certification/c2ccertified_product_standard), further informationen on the EPEA -Website www.epea.com.
Where can I look if I want to see what kind of products are already certified?
There is an official list of certified products worldwide on the C2CPII website (http://c2ccertified.org)
Does EPEA check the data which are delivered by the customer?
The Cradle to Cradle® Certification System is based on credibility and not on control like e.g. common ISO systems. The applicant confirms with his signature the values of the content. In several cases analytics will be required, among others if recycled inputs are concerned. De-tails are described in the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Product Standard.
Additionally EPEA visits the production plant of the customer for an initial Certification in order to develop a deeper understanding of the process and to answer questions. This will establish a direct contact which will facilitate the assessment of data and information.
Is there any service for Asia located customers?
EPEA has an office in Taiwan that can support Asian customers.