Cradle-to-Cradle: highest standard of circular economy and the only defined certification scheme for circularity

Interview with Renato Vögeli on Cradle to Cradle (C2C) design

by Irena Belcheva

Renato Vögeli
Vögeli AG Marketing Production & Printing

Mr Vögeli, we could say that your company, Vögeli AG, is a pioneer in introducing the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) design process. What was your motivation to implement the C2C and could you explain the whole process to become C2C certified?

In our company we have been working on the sustainability topic since the turn of the millennium. Our goal is to produce as sustainable as possible and in harmony with nature. Since 2009 we have been producing carbon-free and without any VOC substances. After that we got to the point where we realized that hardly any further optimization of our production methods was possible. And then we decided to take a closer look at our product, and we discovered the Cradle to Cradle Design Innovation principle. With cradle to cradle on the one hand, the product itself and the production process is evaluated.

Hence, the following 5 points are evaluated with Cradle to Cradle:

  • Material Health: there is a banned list with prohibited substances to be used. The goal is to use only substances that are harmless to humans and nature.    
  • Product Circularity: products should be 100% recyclable.
  • Clean Air and Climate Protection: working with renewable energies
  • Soil and water stewardship: clean water management
  • Social fairness: what positive impact can be made for society and environment

How big is the awareness of the necessity for C2C amongst business owners and society in general in Switzerland?

C2C is indeed not yet very well known, because it is a different way of thinking. But it is noticeable, and the knowledge is now spreading. When we can show the importance and advantages of cradle to cradle, there is a very broad acceptance.

EPEA Switzerland is accredited general assessor for Cradle to Cradle Certified®. How do they assist the companies that want to start the certification program, and is there a re-certification assessment?

The support of EPEA Switzerland is very important and valuable. They really strive for the perfect solution in the sense of Cradle to Cradle and Cradle to Cradle Certified®. They do not simply certify but also support on the way to reach the goal. And they have a large network of companies, people and knowledge which is very important according to this topic. Recertification is required every 2 years.

How does C2C relate to the concept of Circular Economy?

In our opinion, Cradle to Cradle is the highest standard of the circular economy and the only certification scheme which is defined for circularity. The circular flow for a C2C product must be guaranteed. But with the additional assessments for e.g., material health or the usage of renewable energies, C2C goes some steps further, it is a holistic approach.

Vögeli AG has been a pioneer in the field of ecology and sustainability and is the first printing company to offer Cradle to Cradle Certified™ printed products produced in Switzerland. As of February 2019, they are the first print shop worldwide to offer Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Gold certified print products. Production according to the Cradle to Cradle® principle involves the exclusive use of substances for printing that can be safely returned to the biological cycle. This means that, for the first time in Switzerland, print products can now be manufactured that are harmless to people and nature.