Jump to the content of the page
Color tool Italy | EN
Cradle to Cradle

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1 What does Cradle to Cradle (C2C) mean?

Cradle to Cradle describes the circulation of materials in closed, potentially infinite cycles. In essence, the idea is that materials no longer become "waste", but that all ingredients serve again as nutrients for the biological or technical cycle after the end of their use. The prerequisite for this is the toxicological harmlessness of all ingredients - and a product design that anticipates the separability of the components. In other words: Cradle to Cradle is the scientific basis for implementing the Circular Economy in construction. Cradle to Cradle Certifiedยฎ is a registered trademark of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII).

2 Why is it worth to be C2C certified?

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII), based in San Francisco (USA), has created a holistic assessment scheme to develop, qualify and certify products that meet C2C requirements. Just as the demand for building certifications (LEED, BREEAM, DGNB) has steadily increased in recent years, the demand for sustainable materials and products is increasingly growing. C2C is a product certification, which means: an independent confirmation of product quality. Among other things, the certificate serves as proof of compliance with pollutant emissions during assembly, use and dismantling, and can be used as evidence in tenders that require sustainability aspects. C2C-certified products are also already eligible for LEED, BREEAM and DGNB. For the EU, the transformation to a circular economy is a central strategy for the future of the European economy, which has been promoted since 2015 with the Circular Economy Package, among other things. Demonstrably recyclable products will therefore become noticeably more important in the future, for example in public tenders. 3..

3 How does certification work?

The certificate is issued by the independent Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII) in San Francisco. For this purpose, KEIM must prove that all requirements of the certification standard are met and document this extensively as well as prove it with corresponding evidence and measurement results. All documents are submitted to the certification body for a conformity check. The certificate is only issued if all requirements are met. In addition, re-certification is required every two years. Since the testing of the ingredients used reaches deep into the supply chain and the material composition is examined precisely down to 100 ppm (0.01%), it is necessary to involve the suppliers and sub-suppliers. Suppliers can protect their trade secrets - for example production processes - by securing confidential information through non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). If substances are discovered that do not meet the strict requirements of the C2C standard, they must be substituted. This product optimisation process is an important part of C2C certification. For auditing, optimisation and the entire certification process, KEIM works together with EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung from Hamburg and Drees & Sommer SE.

4 What is the difference between recycling generally and C2C?

The recycling implemented today is usually "downcycling". This means that technical quality is lost in the recycling process of the materials. For example, mineral construction waste becomes road base instead of being reused for walls and foundations. Recycling according to the Cradle to Cradle principle, on the other hand, aims to ensure that all materials can circulate in consistent quality. In this way, the values created in manufacturing and refining processes are permanently preserved

5 What is the difference to other labels?

Cradle to Cradle certification is related to a specific product, unlike company-related certificates such as ISO 14001 (environmental management) or building certificates such as DGNB. According to ISO 14024, C2C certification is a "Type I" environmental declaration, comparable to the Blue Angel or natureplus. This means that defined criteria are checked and verified by external experts and the results are communicated via the label as qualitative and verifiable information - in this case as Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating level. In contrast to the EPD (Environmental Product Declaration), which is a "Type III" environmental declaration that can be issued for any product, the C2C certification is only awarded to products that meet the high C2C standards for material health and recyclability, as well as the requirements regarding energy, water and social standards.

6 How many KEIM products are C2C certified?

KEIM has certified four product groups according to C2C: Interior Paint Systems, Exterior Paint Systems, Concrete Systems and Wood Systems. Thus, KEIM has certified 65 products in total.

7 Where can I find more information about C2C?

You can find more information on the topic of C2C on our homepage here .
The C2C brochure  can be found in our web kiosk

8 What are the Cradle to Cradle cycles?

The Cradle to Cradle certification system distinguishes between two cycles, the technical cycle and the biological cycle. Consumer goods that are biodegradable and return to the natural nutrient cycle are assigned to the biological cycle. Consumer goods (e.g. washing machines), on the other hand, are disassembled into pure raw materials at the end of their useful life and fed into a technical cycle.

9 To which cycle are KEIM products assigned?

KEIM paints are assigned to the biological cycle, as their components are returned to the environment over the long term via erosion, abrasion, etc. According to the current state of the art, products of the technical cycle must be able to be separated and recovered by type. This is not yet possible for paints. However, we are convinced that the future will offer new possibilities for recovery and that urban mining will be a serious source of raw materials. Precisely because the end-of-life of a building is a long way off and components will have to be renovated and maintained along the way, we are already laying the foundation for the future with C2C-certified KEIM products - entirely in the spirit of the circular economy.

10 To which modules are the products evaluated? 

C2C certified products are assessed according to five modules:

  • Material Health: All ingredients have been identified and independently assessed toxicologically. It is guaranteed that no banned substances from the defined list (banned list) are contained. C2C certified products pose neither a health nor an environmental risk.
  • Material Reutilization: All products are assessed according to the recyclability index and problem-free recyclability and thus effective use of finite resources is ensured.
  • Renewable Energy: Energy consumption and the share of renewable energies in the production process have been recorded. KEIM produces 100 percent with green electricity. C2C certified products contribute to energy security and independence.
  • Water Stewardship: Water is recognised as a valuable resource and watersheds are protected to keep clean water available for humans and all other organisms. C2C certified products maintain and optimise water quality.
  • Social Fairness: Social commitment and working conditions along the entire supply chain are assessed. C2C certified products contribute to respect for human rights and a fair, just society.

11 Why are KEIM products Cradle to Cradle certified?

The guiding principle of the company founder A.W. Keim was to be mindful of the future and subsequent generations. We have been consistently true to this with our products and our entrepreneurial actions for over 140 years. Consequently, we are taking the next step from linear to circular action in order to meet the requirements of the EU Green Deal for a lifecycle-based "Design for Sustainability" and to make a significant and measurable contribution to the Circular Economy. Certification according to the Cradle to Cradleยฎ principle is therefore not the goal for us, but an important step on the way to a circular industry.

12 Is Cradle to Cradle a national or an international certification?

Cradle to Cradle is an international certification.

13 Which certificates did KEIM receive?

KEIM received a certificate for holistic C2C certification for each product group (Interior Paint Systems, Exterior Paint Systems, Concrete Systems and Wood Systems) as well as the Material Health Certificate (MHC) for each product group. All five product groups have achieved C2C certification at the very demanding silver level. In the case of the MHC certification, the respective product groups even achieved the Gold level!

14 What is the Material Health Certificate (MHC)?

The Material Health Certificate provides a solution to the growing interest of industry and consumers to learn more about the chemicals used in products in their supply chains and to avoid chemicals of concern. The Material Health certification process is the same as the Cradle to Cradle certification process. Material Health Certification is not a substitute for full product certification to the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard. Instead, it is a valuable building block for optimising material health for products on the way to Cradle to Cradle certification.

15 How does C2C certification contribute to meeting the SDGs?

By requiring certification to meet criteria from all five modules (Material Health, Material Cycles, Renewable Energy, Water Management and Social Responsibility), C2C certification contributes to the SDGs Goal 1 (No Poverty), Goal 3 (Health and Wellbeing), Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Goal 8 (Good Jobs and Economic Growth), Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), Goal 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production), Goal 13 (Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation), Goal 14 (Life Below Water), Goal 15 (Life on Land).


Jump to the top of the page