Measuring Sustainability

Measuring Sustainability


Cradle to Cradle certification

   Time Estimate: 2—4 hours

   Goal: Use Cradle to Cradle certification criteria to decide your green design priorities.

Rate your invention according to Cradle to Cradle (“C2C”) certification criteria, estimating data as needed, and accounting for variation in your estimates. 

Step 1: Read the Cradle to Cradle Certification criteria

   Time Estimate: 15—30 minutes

Understand the criteria, and plan how you will gather the data to determine whether you’ll meet each one.


Step 2: Make a spreadsheet to calculate the C2C score of your product

   Time Estimate: 1.5—4 hours

You can use this template spreadsheet, or make your own.

In order to be most effective, your spreadsheet should:

  • Be based on as much real data as possible.
  • Visually flag your uncertainties with red text or highlighting. There will be data unavailable to you, or not yet decided, such as whether ingredients contain hazardous materials or outcomes of social assessments.  For points with these uncertainties, show optimistic and pessimistic scores in different columns.  Then you can calculate the final score for best and worst likely totals.
  • List brief notes for each line item to remember why you scored it the way you did. You only need a few words, not a whole paragraph.
  • Be graphically designed to be clear and easy to interpret by someone other than you. This can be a powerful communication tool between you and your team (or your investors, or your future self). If you keep coming back to it, it can be a dashboard for tracking improvement.


Step 3: Interpret your results

   Time Estimate: 5—10 minutes
  • Would you qualify for C2C certification in your best-case scenario? What about worst-case scenario?

What points would prevent you from qualifying? Where are you scoring well? What would be easy for you to change? Use these answers to set your priorities for green design and operations. 



Checklist for Cradle to Cradle Certification

  1. List yes/no scores for all points of the certification.
  2. Visually flag uncertainties and show optimistic and pessimistic scores in different columns.
  3. Calculate final score for best-case and worst-case likely totals.
  4. Say what level (if any) Cradle to Cradle certification you would qualify for in your best-case and worst-case scenarios.
  5. List brief notes for each line item.
  6. Be visually clear and easy to interpret by someone other than you.
  7. Describe how your score(s) affect your design priorities: what prevents you from certifying, where are you scoring well, what would be easy to change, etc.