The Portuguese organisation Bi-Silque, providing office solutions, has made considerable efforts in applying Cradle to Cradle principles. They put up three of their sustainable whiteboards and notice boards for official certification. They did not aim for basic certification, but aimed for Silver and Bronze. The results speak for themselves. As far as Bi-Silque is concerned, this is just the beginning: ‘We want to do even better.’
Clearly showing sustainability
Clearly showing the sustainability of their products is one of Bi-Silque's top priorities. This is especially true when it comes to the international market the company operates in. Carolina Oliveira, responsible for product certifications, explains: 'Our retailers abroad greatly value certified products. The 'desires' in terms of certification and labels differ for each market, such as the European Eco Label and Blue Angel label (Der Blaue Engel), which are in high demand in Germany. GreenGuard for example is very much appreciated in the USA.
Parent organisation Bi-Silque creates and sells solutions that facilitate communication under the Bi-Office brand. These solutions are specially designed for schools and offices. The cork board and the ceramic board, part of the Earth-It collection, were both awarded the Silver Cradle to Cradle certificate. The Dry Erase board was awarded the
Fully committed from the beginning
The Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard is subdivided into five different levels: Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Many organisations tend to start with the basic level, but Bi-Silque immediately went a step further. Oliviera: 'Before we started, we were wondering whether or not we could meet the strict requirements. It places several demands on our suppliers and some certifications aren't very widely known here in Portugal yet. But since we had been embracing and proclaiming for a while an environmental policy, we decided to aim higher. It had a very positive effect on the relationship we had with our suppliers. And because of the awareness we raised with them, it is much easier for us to take the next step.'
Glue as the biggest challenge
When it comes to certification, a product is extensively evaluated on a number of specified categories: healthy materials, recycling, renewable energy and the management of CO2 emissions, water management and social responsibility. What were some of the obstacles encountered during the process? 'The glues we use are the biggest challenge. Finding a good alternative is difficult. Going forward, we are trying to find ways to avoid glue altogether.'
Only the beginning
Bi-Silque is far from done, though: 'We have achieved Bronze and Silver, but we also agreed to go for even more improvements. The knowledge we have gained in the process will certainly prove valuable, even if we want to start creating new products that are completely designed according to Cradle to Cradle principles down the line.'
Search Consultancy guided Bi-Silque during the certification process. Want to learn more about the possibilities? Please contact advisor Gert-Jan Vroege.
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