When McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) licensed its Cradle to Cradle (C2C) product certification to the third-party Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute in 2011, one of its intentions was to transition the private certification system into a more public program. That process is continuing today with a call for public assistance. The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute's (C2CPII) certification standards board is now seeking expertise and input for the next version of the standard, version 4.

"This is a really important process for the standard," says C2CPII president Bridgett Luther, noting that the Institute had a goal of working with the C2C standard for a few years after the hand-off from MBDC before starting the revision process. "Every other standard out there has a public stakeholder process, so it's important for us to engage in this as well," she says. "Having the process will be hugely informative. What the standard is and what it is not is on our website, but anyone who is interested in it can now help us make it even better."

C2CPII is seeking prospective advisers with scientific, academic, and industry expertise across the standard's five fields of interest: material health; material reutilization; renewable energy and carbon management; water stewardship; and social fairness. One expert advisory group will be formed for each of these criteria, which are used as a whole to determine a comprehensive evaluation of a product's sustainability. Prospective advisers must understand these principles and have demonstrated expertise in one or more of the categories.

"This process is the way we envision the standard development proceeding from this point forward, says Matteo Kausch, C2CPII director of technical development.

The size of each advisory group has yet to be determined and may vary based on the subject matter and the applicant pool. C2CPII does not anticipate that William McDonough and Michael Braungart, the original authors of the C2C framework and standard, will participate in the revision process, although the MBDC team has two seats on C2CPII's certification standards board. "What they've given us is pretty comprehensive, but there is always room for improvement," Luther says. "Just as we ask companies to improve, we feel that there is room for the standard to improve as well."

To further open up the development process, which starts this June and is expected to last 18 months, C2CPII will hold two public comment periods: one 60-day period after the first draft of the revised standard is complete, and a second 60-day comment period after the second draft is complete.

Individuals interested in serving on an advisory group must complete an online application before April 18. More information on the proposed revision process can be found here.

This article has been updated.