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C2C Manufacturing and Sourcing - A Step Towards Building Sustainable Green Ecosystems

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Increased social awareness, government legislation, United Nations directives and international environment pacts make C2C Sourcing and Manufacturing an imperative that companies can't ignore.  

In their quest towards building a sustainable and eco-friendly supply chain, most companies are now looking at ways and models to eliminate wastage and protect the environment in the process. Cradle to Cradle ( or C2C) manufacturing is one step in this direction, a registered trademark of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) consultants, is a sustainable business strategy that attempts to eliminate waste. It involves building and incorporating production process where the end products / outputs are safe and fully biodegradable or recyclable in nature. This concept is somewhat similar to other popular terminologies like Circular Economy or Sustainable Business.

C2C Manufacturing 

The model is getting popular and is being implemented by a number of companies, organizations and governments around the world, predominantly in the European Union, China and the United States.  Companies including Aveda, Ecover, Puma and Shaw Industries have cut costs, improved product value, developed new revenue streams and avoided risks using the C2C product standard. For example, Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet manufacturer, developed its first C2C, the EcoWorx tile, which is now its fastest growing carpet product. Compared to the uncertified version previously manufactured, the report shows that energy efficiency measures and the switch to renewables, cut the environmental cost of making carpet tiles by more than half. 

Some of the popular product categories in C2C manufacturing are auto & tires, basic materials, building supply & materials, fashion & textiles, interior design & furniture, packaging & paper, and home & office Supply etc.

C2C Certifications

Manufacturers these days can obtain C2C certification which is considered as a mark of product quality and gives them an edge in sales. C2C certification program recognizes multiple levels of achievement as per criteria / parameters that covers aspects such as material health, re-utilization, renewable energy, social fairness etc. and awards five levels of product certification: Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Product are then awarded appropriately by the assessing agency. Today, there are a large number of C2C certifying agencies across globe including MBDC and EPEA International. There are consulting firms too which advise companies to maximize sustainability when designing new products, for eg. Metabolic does it for chemical manufacturers.

Regulations regarding C2C

The ability to measure sustainability has been recognized as an essential component for achieving sustainable development, and with the introduction of directive 2014/95/EU it has also become a legal requirement for many companies across the EU. There is an increased pressure on companies to reduce green emissions. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognize C2C product standards. The C2C product standard have also achieved the highest level of preference in purchases made by federal agencies. European Union (EU) also, has set ambitious goals and has taken brave steps toward a Circular Economy. As recognized by the EU stakeholders, the C2C certified products are already designed and optimized for the circular economy. United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is also making sure to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Role of Sourcing

Sourcing and Procurement has evolved as a "Profit Center' from traditional "Cost Center" model. 
Stringent anti-bribery laws in US and Europe also has influenced corporates to outsource their Sourcing & Procurement to Offshore. 3rd party service providers receive request from clients for market intelligence, product intelligence and supplier long listing apart from regular Sourcing activity. Each of these activities give scope for pitching an alternative C2C product/supplier. 

C2C products can be sourced directly from C2CCertified.Org or through key word search (Cradle To Cradle) in popular online catalog portals like Amazon.com. Apart from this, there are specialty software like Normative which are capable of assessing a company's social and environmental impact automatically by analyzing their bookkeeping records, using artificial intelligence combined with the world's largest sustainability research database. 

It is a popular misconception that C2C products are expensive and compromise on quality. But the reality is that they are equally competitive in cost since they mostly pass on the sops and perks given to them by government, to the customer. Quality and durability may not be on par with regular items but users mostly accepts this as part of their social responsibility and commitment for a greener world. Moreover, the increasing regulations by various governments across the world will make it imperative for organizations to source green. 

Conclusion

Hence increased social awareness, government legislations, United Nations directives and international environment pacts make C2C sourcing and manufacturing imperative.. Companies also get benefited in the process - they can claim higher carbon credits and can also increase sales with the use of C2C certified input of raw materials and C2C certified manufacturing to produce the final output. World would be a better place if, instead of just focusing on profit, every company would know the social and environmental costs of their purchases and sourcing. It needs to be understood that Cradle-To-CradleTM Manufacturing and Sourcing is not just a social responsibility of an enterprise for sustainable future, but companies can also benefit from it.

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