International Living Future Institute Adds Embodied Carbon to Declare Labels in Shift to Acknowledging Full Product Impacts
SEATTLE, October 11, 2019 /3BL Media/ — Today the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), announced the first of its new Declare labels that include product embodied carbon alongside ingredient disclosure, reinforcing ILFI’s commitment to transparency in the building products industry. Partners Armstrong Ceiling and Wall Solutions, Interface, and Superior Essex Communications have supported this paradigm shift through several pilot Declare labels that broadens the scope of material health. The Institute and its partners will present a deep dive on this topic at the Living Product Expo in Nashville, Tenn., October 8-10.
Declare is a transparency platform and product database that has immensely changed the materials marketplace. The program’s simplicity and ease of use by both manufacturers and product specifiers have helped fuel market demand for chemical transparency and healthier building products.
As industry-leading organizations, Declare manufacturers are being asked to invest in the future of material health: embodied carbon. From the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, and transport, to the waste created through the entire product life cycle, quantifying the contributions of the supply chain and manufacturing of building products to the climate change problem creates data that can be turned into action. With the additional knowledge of how environmental impacts can further exacerbate human health outcomes, these new Declare labels now incorporate new critical decision making criteria into an important procurement and specification tool.
Declare’s pilot manufacturers have shared their assessments of these impacts through their products’ third party-verified environmental product declarations (EPDs), completed under relevant product category rules (PCRs) that define common parameters for each product category’s calculations. EPDs also give manufacturers more insight into where exactly in their production process lie the biggest opportunities to make significant reductions and improvements.
“With this pilot program, ILFI is addressing embodied carbon directly,” said James Connelly, VP of Strategic Growth at ILFI. “As an industry, we’re used to thinking about material health in terms of its impact on human health; now we are leading the products industry with the recognition that embodied carbon, with its impact on climate change and global pollution, also has serious ramifications for human health.” He concluded, “Our partners are moving the needle on transparency around not only materials but also the energy that goes into manufacturing that have long-term consequences on this planet.”
“Armstrong has been doing life cycle assessment for over ten years. We have used this valuable tool to gain real insight into our products and their impact on the environment. As with all of our transparency efforts, we have incorporated it into our Design for the Environment Process,” said Anita Snader, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Armstrong Ceiling and Wall Solutions. “From the screening of new materials in our products, to reviewing optimization opportunities at our plants, we our driving the reduction in impact of our products. We are happy to continue to support ILFI and its efforts in carbon reduction as the leading ceiling manufacturer in all forms of material transparency and disclosure,” continued Snader.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to human health, but in the past, material health has focused only on immediate threats to human health. Including embodied carbon on the Declare label is a huge step toward educating specifiers on more of the health impact of the materials they select,” said Lisa Conway, VP Sustainability, Americas, Interface, about the new pilot program.
“Fundamentally our organization believes in going beyond simple transparency, and has chosen to lead by example. We are working to utilize life cycle assessment data to include life cycle impact thinking into our product design process. Providing embodied carbon information alongside transparent compositional chemistry information on our Declare labels provides a more holistic story for our products, and we’re committed to make finding this information easier for our customers,” said Annie Bevan, Global Head of Sustainability at Superior Essex Communications.
With the many initiatives and platforms in the materials marketplace today, it can be difficult to keep track of where to find the right information to make informed material selections. For architects and consultants working on green building projects that need to make these decisions while balancing other design considerations, making human health and environmental impact information easily accessible will accelerate better specifications and encourage the creation of an increasing number of healthy products. This addition to the Declare program presents a critical opportunity to make collective strides toward global climate commitments.
About the International Living Future Institute
The International Living Future Institute is an environmental NGO committed to catalyzing the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. ILFI is premised on the belief that providing a compelling vision for the future is a fundamental requirement for reconciling humanity’s relationship with the natural world. ILFI operates the Living Building Challenge, the built environment’s most ambitious performance standard. It is a hub for many other visionary programs that support the transformation toward a living future. For more information please visit https://living-future.org/.
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