Navigation Menu+

Deciphering Declare Labels: What to Look For and What to Ask

Posted by in Discover | 1 comment

With the International Living Future Institute’s Declare program, what you see is what you get. Declare is an excellent tool for honesty and transparency as it relates to building products.

You might have questions about the differences between LBC-Compliant (Living Building Challenge-Compliant), Red List Free and Declared. Here’s a breakdown of each category:

  • If there are no Red List ingredients in the product, it will be listed as “Red List Free”.
  • If the product contains Red List ingredients that have been given a temporary exception by the Living Building Challenge due to current market limitations, it will be listed as “Living Building Challenge Compliant”.
  • Products that contain Red List ingredients not on the Living Building Challenge exception list will be listed in the database as “Declared.” These manufacturers are recognized for their leadership in creating a more transparent materials marketplace.

It’s important to note that Red List compliant is not a category on the Declare label even though some products that are LBC-Compliant may be presented as equal to Red List Free Declare labels. Here’s an example of a Declare label:

DeclareLetter_Label_2_other

Declare label that states LBC Compliant

In this example, the Red List Free box is not marked. In some instances, the label includes a statement that “a temporary exemption has been claimed for proprietary purposes.” Basically, this means that the manufacturer is withholding either one or several ingredients. In this case, the label is not fully transparent and it has not earned the Red List Free classification. It is technically classified as LBC-Compliant. Remember, products can be Red List Free, LBC-Compliant and Declared. There is no such level as Red List Free compliant.

Here’s another example of a Declare label. This is a Mohawk Red List Free label:

DeclareLetter_Label_1_Mohawk

Mohawk Group Declare Label – LBC Red List Free

You will notice that the Mohawk label is clearly marked Red List Free, which doesn’t claim any exemptions–proprietary or otherwise. When companies have no reason to withhold information, then they can openly share product ingredients with customers.

While some manufacturers believe that a third-party is necessary to maintain confidentiality of ingredients, we have taken a different course. We believe in an open and direct line of communication between the customer and the manufacturer. Our call-to-action to all manufacturers is simple: Embrace transparency and maintain honesty in all communications. There has been no better time for all of us – as an industry – to work together to create a more transparent marketplace for building products.

1 Comment

  1. Very helpful clarifications. GAF is also committed to product transparency and has published several Declare labels and Cradle to Cradle Healthy Materials Certificate.