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“We can make a real impact with Cradle to Cradle”

Udo Waltman, Director of SGS Search, was the honorary chairman for the day during the ‘Circular construction in one day’ seminar on Friday 16 March 2018. A great opportunity therefore to ask him within the framework of this triptych about developments in Cradle to Cradle thinking over the years, what his expectations are for the future and why SGS Search has embraced this philosophy right from the very beginning.

“Years ago, when Cradle to Cradle still existed principally only as a concept in the heads of a German chemist and an American architect (Michael Braungart and William McDonough), SGS Search had already adopted the philosophy and helped in its rollout across the Netherlands. Down the years we've remained true to this line of thinking, because we are convinced that with Cradle to Cradle we can make a real impact on a sustainable future.”

Endless reuse of materials

“The core of Cradle to Cradle is the endless reuse of materials,” explains Waltman. “This means that after use it needs to be easy to reclaim the raw materials from a product. That is only possible if you keep the biological and technical loops separate and do not e.g. treat timber with a chemical paint. By removing damaging substances from products, the individual, separate materials can then either be reused or even returned to nature.”

C2C Bouwgroep is one of the ‘Circular construction in one day’ seminar’s organisers. As with the Cradle to Cradle café – a collaboration between producers of Cradle to Cradle interior products and the other organiser of the seminar – they regularly organise meetings to spread the philosophy, to share knowledge and to inspire.

“This coming edition is indeed a special one, as the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute has joined us in organising the event. The Institute is an independent organisation dedicated to safeguarding the Cradle to Cradle concept. They have developed a standard to certify products and ensure that this is done correctly. Lewis Perkins, President of Cradle to Cradle’s highest certification body, will also attend this year’s seminar.”

Would you like to know more about healthy and circular construction?

The seminar is aimed at construction professionals and others curious to discover more about this manner of healthy and circular construction. “The goal is to inspire each other, provide information and share knowledge about Cradle to Cradle both en route from theory to the marketplace and vice versa,” says Waltman. “Topics will include the philosophy, technology and certification, as well as the experiences of producers already working with the Cradle to Cradle principle. There will be parties present to represent the demand side, including architects, property owners andconstruction companies. This will be the largest networking event in its field with more than 250 parties already registered to take part.”

Launching a movement

SGS Search is a major enthusiast of the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and one of the very few parties worldwide authorised to supervise Cradle to Cradle certification. “This means we cannot only deliver a significant contribution to sustainability, but we can also have a real global impact,” concludes Waltman. “Currently only a small proportion of products have a Cradle to Cradle certificate. We hope to launch a movement, so that eventually all products worldwide will be designed and produced in this manner: endlessly reusable and without substances harmful to man or posing a risk to the environment.”