The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has launched an ingredients-labelling program to help building products specifiers identify ecologically sound materials and products.

Each product accepted into the new Declare database receive a clear and informative “nutrition label” that includes its ingredients, source, and manufacturing locations. Participating products will be listed in the online database and can display the Declare label on packaging and marketing materials. The intial fee for manufacturers participating in the program is between $600 and $850, depending on the number of products submitted.

The program is aimed at helping to clear up confusion over the health and safety of product ingredients, says Amanda Sturgeon, ILFI vice president and director of the Living Building Challenge, widely viewed as one of the most stringent green-building certification programs.

“Toxic chemicals and compounds are pervasive in building products, endangering human health and the resilience of our ecosystems,” explains Sturgeon. “Despite a growing mountain of research demonstrating the detrimental impact of toxic building materials and increasing public awareness of this fact, change has been slow.”

Sturgeon says architects and engineers want to make the right decisions when designing and constructing buildings, and innovative product manufacturers should be recognized for developing ecologically sound products. But greenwashing-type marketing campaigns and a lack of verifiable product information is impeding progress, she says. 

The Declare label will likely result in increased business for manufacturers of compliant products, Sturgeon adds. Living Building Challenge project teams can also use the Declare label for materials documentation, streamlining the process of project certification.

The launch of Declare is the culmination of collaboration between a broad spectrum of building material experts and innovative programs, including the Pharos Project and the soon-to-be-launched Healthy Product Declaration (HPD) Open Standard.