The Road Less Travelled

Corporate Responsibility means many things to us. It embraces our responsibility to a business model that delivers success in terms of commercial profitability and a positive impact on people and the environment.

Time for Change_Image

In a resource-constrained world the linear economy of 'take, make and dispose' is unsustainable. There is a better way: reshaping businesses so that products are made to be made again in a circular fashion as seen in nature. Businesses, we believe, need to reshape their models for the circular economy, where goods and materials are reused and recycled.

In 2008, inspired by the Cradle to Cradle® concept, the top team at Desso including the current CEO Alexander Collot d'Escury set the company on its current course to make all of its products according to Cradle to Cradle® principles by 2020.

Inspired by nature's continuous cycle, this concept requires companies to use materials and design products in such a way that they will be positive to the environment and human health. In broad terms, this means using positively defined materials1) so that the goods can be returned and the materials recycled into new high quality products through two streams: technical or biological. In the former, the materials are fed back into the manufacturing process to make new goods; in the latter, they can go back as a nutrient into the soil.

In both cases, they act in the same way as a natural living system like the Cherry Tree in using all of the materials for new growth in an unending cycle.

But this is not easy. There are many complex and rigorous procedures to adhere to in order to ensure that a product can meet five criteria, set by the assessors of Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM programme - and framed by the co-founders of the concept, Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart, a German chemist and former Greenpeace scientist and William McDonough, a US architect.

Desso believes that its commitment to the Cradle to Cradle® philosophy and the transition to the circular economy will enable it to become more efficient in the use of natural resources, improve its environmental footprint and develop healthier materials in its products that benefit people and the planet.

1)Positively defined = all ingredients have been assessed as either Green (optimal) or Yellow (tolerable) according to the Cradle to Cradle® assessment criteria. As described in the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM program Version 2.1.1, prepared by MBDC September 2008, updated January 2011. 

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