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

TOTO Is The First Plumbing Manufacturer To Earn The International Living Future Institute's Prestigious Declare Label And Offer Sustainable Minds' New Material Health Overview

By Sustainable Minds on September 16, 2015

Company Continues to Set the Standard for Plumbing Product Transparency and Material Health Evaluation

MORROW, Ga., Sept. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Committed to transparency in the manufacture of products that contribute to a healthy, sustainable environment, TOTO announced today that it has achieved another plumbing industry first by offering material health evaluations for an initial six high-efficiency toilets (HETs). TOTO is now the only plumbing manufacturer whose products have earned the International Living Future Institute's (IFLI) Declare label and are listed in the Declare Products Database.

Declare Labels
Often compared to the nutritional labeling found on packaged food, Declare labels focus on specific information important to consumers and building industry professionals by offering a transparent platform for the disclosure of materials, chemicals and elements known to pose risks to human health or the environment. After a thorough investigation of their constituent materials, TOTO's initial six HETs have been listed in the Declare database as Living Building Challenge Compliant or "declared."

"TOTO is pleased to be the first market mover in our industry to earn the IFLI's Declare label, providing insight into our efforts to reduce the health and environmental impacts of the materials and processes used in the manufacture of our world-class bathroom products," said Bill Strang, President of Operations for the Americas, TOTO USA. "Transparency is the cornerstone of all our initiatives and key to providing customers with informed choices about our products and a profound understanding of the ethic upon which we operate."

During the rigorous Declare label evaluation process, TOTO learned that changes to its product line would be required to be Living Building Challenge Compliant. The polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in its toilets' rubber flappers, plastic refill tubes and seat pads is deemed hazardous. As a result, TOTO immediately began working with its vendors to produce PVC-free flappers, refill tubes, and seat pads. TOTO now offers PVC-free high-efficiency toilets, which are Living Building Challenge Complaint.

"TOTO is a true leader in product transparency and material health. Not only are they the first plumbing manufacturer to disclose their full product formulation for Declare, but they worked diligently to remove Red List components during the review process, which earned them another first," said James Connelly, Director, Living Products Challenge. "TOTO has the only toilets in the Declare database that comply with the Living Building Challenge, the world's most advanced sustainability certification in the built environment."

"TOTO has incorporated the information from our Declare labels in our holistic approach to transparency with our partner Sustainable Minds, adding the material health impacts to the existing environmental impacts for our products in the market," said Strang.

Sustainable Minds Material Health Overviews
Using its new Declare labels' data as the foundation, TOTO partnered with Sustainable Minds to develop the next in the company's suite of Transparency Products – the SM Material Health Overview (MHO). Based on the award-winning Transparency Report, which the partners' earlier innovated in EPD design and delivery, TOTO's new PVC-free MHO is a strategic marketing and lead generation tool. Designed to inform safer purchase decisions, it makes material health evaluation information meaningful by describing what TOTO is doing to improve the material health of its products. TOTO's new MHO delivers functional and material health attributes for its PVC-free products in one place and is available as a standalone MHO report.

"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," said Terry Swack, Founder and CEO, Sustainable Minds. "This makes design and purchase decisions exponentially more complex. Sustainable Minds is committed to making product transparency reporting simple and understandable for manufacturers and their customers."

TOTO's new PVC-free MHO may be viewed on the Sustainable Minds' website in the TOTO Showroom.

Design and construction professionals and consumers seek products that are healthy and ecologically sound, without the necessity of undertaking an exhaustive research process to identify them. TOTO is dedicated to assisting in this process by providing deeper and deeper levels of transparency about its products' material heath and environmental impacts.

About TOTO:
TOTO USA is headquarters for the Americas Division of the TOTO Global Group, which was established in 1917 with the founding of TOTO, Ltd., in Kitakyushu, Japan. TOTO is the world's largest manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and fittings with $5.1 billion dollars in annual sales. For nearly 100 years, TOTO has been the recognized leader in performance innovation and design with products that enhance the luxury bathroom experience. Today, the company maintains 25,700 employees in 69 offices around the world and owns manufacturing facilities in Japan, Mexico, the USA, China and Europe with an affiliated network of more than 80 production facilities worldwide. With over 1,500 engineers on staff and three centers devoted to research and development, TOTO is dedicated to engineering products that respect the environment while meeting people's needs for comfort, beauty and performance. TOTO's corporate philosophy – People-First Innovation – is the guiding principle for all the company's processes, from engineering and design to manufacturing and sales. Consumers enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing they purchased a brand that innovates to improve people's quality of life. Winner of numerous domestic and international awards and recognitions, TOTO is the only plumbing manufacturer honored as Water Efficiency Leader by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company continues to raise industry standards and consumer expectations as to what is possible in the bathroom, as TOTO believes a high-quality bathroom is an experience and an everyday luxury people value and appreciate. 

For more information, consumers may visit or call 1.888.295.8134, Option 5.  Follow TOTO on Twitter (@TOTOUSA) and become a TOTO fan on Facebook

About The International Living Future Institute: 
The International Living Future Institute is an environmental NGO committed to catalyzing the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. Composed of leading green building experts and thought-leaders, the Institute is premised on the belief that providing a compelling vision for the future is a fundamental requirement for reconciling humanity's relationship with the natural world. The Institute runs the Living Building Challenge, Living Community Challenge, Net Zero Energy Certification, the Cascadia Green Building Council, Ecotone Press, Declare, JUST and other leading-edge programs. A global network of more than 350 volunteers across nearly 30 countries drive the local adoption of restorative principles in their communities.

About The Living Building Challenge: 
The Institute operates the Living Building Challenge, the world's most rigorous and progressive building performance standard. The Challenge is a philosophy, an advocacy tool and a certification program. Launched in 2006, more than 250 projects are currently registered for the Challenge. The Living Building Challenge fosters buildings that produce more energy than they consume, avoid known toxins and harmful chemicals, and collect and reuse their own water.

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.

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