Are Cradle to Cradle certified products environmentally preferable? Analysis from an LCA approach

Pere Llorach-Massana, Ramon Farreny, Jordi Oliver-Solà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Abstract The Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification has gained popularity amongst companies as a way to distinguish more environmentally friendly products. This article analyzes the C2C certification by determining how successful this eco-labeling scheme is in distinguishing environmentally preferable products in order to probe if the certification informs correctly to the consumer about the environmental performance of products. Furthermore, we identify for which product types the C2C certification really results in environmental impact reduction. First a review is done in order to detect the debilities, if any, of C2C. Secondly, the fact that C2C requirements do not tackle environmental aspects of products from a life cycle approach, and concentrates exclusively on raw materials and end of life phases, is further analyzed in depth. To do so, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) already published results for different product categories are used to determine if the life-cycle stages considered under the C2C approach coincide with the most relevant stages in terms of life-cycle environmental impacts. This helps ascertain if and when C2C can be considered an appropriate ecolabel. It is concluded that for products with high-energy consumption during use, C2C does not guarantee relevant environmental improvements, since it does not account for a substantial part of the product's environmental impact. For these reasons, we argue that C2C is not always an appropriate scheme to distinguish environmentally preferable products.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5109
Pages (from-to)243-250
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Cradle to cradle (C2C)
  • Ecolabelling
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Product sustainability
  • Recycling


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