The new and improved version of LEED (LEED v4) will launch this November and is likely to cause a new round of questions about why we have not pursued Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification for our products. C2C certification is listed as a pathway to achieving two of the new Materials and Resources (MR) credits in LEED v4, but is not the only way to achieve these credits (see table below). Interface products will be able to contribute to these credits (and others) with our focus on verified Transparency and Environmental Performance using EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) and HPDs (Health Product Declarations). C2C is being actively promoted by some as the way for manufacturers who aren’t ready for full transparency to meet LEED v4 credit requirements. While there is always room for improvement in our efforts to be fully transparent, Interface believes the market scrutiny of the ingredients and potential life cycle impacts of our products afforded by HPDs and EDPs (respectively offers a much more transparent approach than that provided by securing C2C certification.
Interface and C2C
Customers often equate C2C certification with products that can be recycled back into new products in a substantially closed loop process (as in Interface’s ReEntry® 2.0 system). Although we do not use C2C as a certification, the building blocks on which the cradle to cradle philosophy is based has significantly shaped our business strategy since the mid-90s, when C2C co-creator William McDonough was an original member of Interface’s “Eco Dream Team.” Today, we believe that HPDs and EPDs, along with our existing sustainability initiatives, create a more transparent and performance driven way to pursue many of the same admirable goals touted by C2C.
Some of the progress we’ve made in eliminating toxic substances, closing the loop, using renewable energy, conserving water and creating positive social impact in our supply chain are only required by the Gold and Platinum levels of C2C certification (currently no carpet product is certified above C2C Silver. For example, using the publicly available C2C scoring categories:
Material Health: Interface discloses all product ingredients through Pharos, which shows many of our products outscoring C2C certified carpet products for transparency (full disclosure), ingredients toxicity and life cycle toxicity.
Material Reutilization: ReEntry 2.0 allows us to achieve high levels of recyclability and recycled content for our best products (Aquafil 100% recycled content type 6 nylon and GlasBac®RE backing) that would produce a C2C Material Reutilization score at the C2C Platinum level.
Renewable Energy and Carbon Management: Offsetting the full supply chain greenhouse gas emissions of producing our products is only required in C2C Platinum for Renewable Energy. Interface’s climate neutral Cool Carpet™ program has done this for all Americas products for many years.
Water Stewardship: By using solution-dyed and high-recycled content yarn, our 3rd party verified (by EPD) reductions in supply chain and factory water use have already gone beyond any C2C requirements.
Social Fairness: Our participation in the Net-Works™ program, which sources waste nylon for yarn from fishing villages in the Philippines, is even more advanced than the kind of social fairness projects companies are required to implement to achieve C2C Platinum.
While Interface certainly incorporates the broader philosophy of cradle to cradle or closed loop design into our products and operations every day, when it comes to meeting the requirements of LEED v4, Interface products will contribute to just as many, if not more, of the new Materials and Resources credits than C2C Certified products.
 The terms Cradle to Cradle and C2C are registered trademarks of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC.
 For information only, as Interface has not sought C2C certification for its products.