Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

New SM Material Health Overview standardizes material health reporting to drive healthier building product purchase decisions

By Sustainable Minds on September 12, 2015

Announcing Partnerships with Leading Material Health Evaluation Organizations

(Cambridge, MA) SEP 14, 2015 – Sustainable Minds, the first cloud software provider and program operator to focus on simplified and understandable environmental reporting, has introduced the SM Material Health Overview — the next in its suite of Transparency Products. The SM Material Health Overview (MHO) is a strategic marketing and lead generation tool for building product manufacturers to inform safer and healthier purchase decisions. They make material health information understandable and meaningful by distilling the essential technical information from a disclosure, providing plain language interpretation and describing what the manufacturer is doing to improve. Based on the award-winning SM Transparency Report, an innovation in environmental product declaration (EPD) design and delivery, the SM Material Health Overview also includes functional performance information and product specifications.

Available as a standalone report, an MHO can also be included in an SM Transparency Report. Sustainable Minds is the first program operator to combine an EPD and material health evaluation into one easy to use, cloud-based report to help manufacturers win more business by integrating product transparency into product marketing to build a credibly greener brand.

Reporting a product’s material health is becoming essential

Manufacturers are being asked to report how they are making safer products that contribute to healthier buildings. To accelerate the manufacture and specification of inherently safer products, green building rating systems, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v4, specify types of material health evaluations and disclosures manufacturers can provide customers to earn points towards a certification. Today, specifiers largely use these to check a box to earn points, but it doesn’t satisfy the real demand for transparency. The SM Material Health Overview directly addresses this problem.

New strategic partnerships with leading material health providers

To further accelerate this progress, Sustainable Minds has partnered with the leading providers to create Material Health Overviews for manufacturers to leverage their investments in material evaluation and turn disclosure into brand value by creating credible, cost-effective marketing tools:

Register for the webcasts >

Manufacturers can build credibly greener brands by demonstrating they know what they’re doing.

Making greener and healthier purchase decisions requires consistent, understandable and meaningful information. Truth builds trust, trust builds powerful brands and powerful brands create preference and value for their companies.

MHOs are designed to quickly and clearly provide answers to readers’ key questions:

What is the product made of? Are there any hazardous ingredients? If yes, how bad are they? Are there any exposure concerns? What is the company doing about reducing the human health impacts?

A material health disclosure is the background report for a Material Health Overview (just as a life cycle assessment is the background report for an EPD). A building product manufacturer can create an MHO using any material health evaluation or disclosure as the background report. The format and content zones of an MHO are standard, while the presentation of the assessment data and the content are specific to the partner’s evaluation method. It also indicates the disclosure’s point value in LEED v4 and other green building rating systems. An MHO links to the partner’s web site, the technical standard, the full disclosure or certificate and related information to support understandability.

While all the evaluation programs follow similar steps for material assessment, each offers a range of differences and affordances. Manufacturers have many choices when determining which program will serve them best. Understanding and prioritizing their needs is vital. They include:

  • Transparency ­– to disclose proprietary ingredients or hazards?
  • Brand – do customers prefer rating system approval or is disclosure enough?
  • Third-party verification – how important is it?
  • Costs – to create the content inventories, produce the disclosure and/or maintain the verification or validity period?

Then, does an architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) professional feel confident they are being provided the information they need? Can it be interpreted and used to make better decisions?

The SM Material Health Overview provides the opportunity to efficiently deliver credible, standardized, understandable and useful information, all in one place, assuring readers that they’re getting the information they want and need through the manufacturer’s choice of material evaluation program(s).

“Sustainable Minds has produced an excellent interpretive report, based on the information disclosures in an HPD. The MHO puts the data in a context and provides interpretation to make the disclosure information understandable.”
– Wendy Vittori, Executive Director,
Health Product Declaration® Collaborative

“Manufacturers are being asked for many types of product data, each delivered in a broad range of formats and not always found in the same place. This makes design and purchase decisions exponentially more complex. Further, manufacturers and AEC professionals are not convinced that all this data is needed or how to use it to make greener and healthier decisions. Our Transparency Products address these challenges. They can be co-branded, private labeled and customized for trade organizations, NGOs and retailers. Any standard or report type can be used to create a new Transparency Product.”
Terry Swack, Sustainable Minds CEO & Founder

Register for the webcasts, designed to educate on the benefits of each program and how the SM Material Health Overview can turn disclosure into brand value by integrating product transparency into product marketing. 

Sep 24, Thur Health Product Declaration Collaborative | Wendy Vittori, Executive Director
Sep 29, Tues International Living Future Institute | James Connelly, Director, Living Product Challenge
  TOTO USA | Kristen Girts, Associate Quality Engineer
Oct 06, Tues Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute | Stacy Glass, VP Built Environment
Oct 13, Tues Green Circle Certified | Annie Bevan, Certification & Operations Manager
  Clean Production Action | Mark Rossi, Interim Executive Director

About Sustainable Minds®
Sustainable Minds is a B2B cloud provider of environmental product transparency applications, data and services to help product manufacturers across the value chain, design and market greener products. The company is dedicated to operationalizing environmental performance in mainstream product development and manufacturing in an understandable, empowering and credible way. Sustainable Minds uses design to make the complex clear—design and customer experience are at the heart of all it does. Used in industry and education in more than 850 locations in 80 countries, Sustainable Minds’ easy-to-use, standardized solutions make it possible for manufacturers large and small to drive revenue and growth through greener product innovation.