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Sustainable (product) development: from Cradle to Cradle


In a more specific version of Sustainable Development, we can talk about the Sustainable Product Development. In this scenario, one of the most known framework is the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification system, developed by Micheal Brungart and William McDonough. C2C certification is a 4-level label (basic, silver, gold and platinum) with increasing obligations that evaluates five different key-point shown in the image above.

The C2C framework divides the raw materials (referred to as “nutrients”) in two cycles: we have the biological and the technical cycle, whose nutrients does not have to contaminate each other (this means that composites materials need much more attention to be develop according to this framework). Both cycles are based on the principle “Waste = Food”, leading to a virtually infinite reuse of production resources.

Joining the C2C framework is expensive: you need 2.000 € for a single product, plus 500,00 € each year. Minor editing of the products brings to minor editing to the certificate, applied for 80,00 €. Moreover, designers and engineers can use a reference C2C material database inside Material Connexion: the access to this library costs 250,00 $.

In opposition to the TBL model, the C2C Product Innovation Institute developed a modified version of it, called Triple Top Line, more ecologically flavoured. More information about the TTL approach can be found here:



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