Representatives from Shaw Industries Group, Inc. joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and architect/designer William McDonough at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday to mark the launch of the Green Products Innovation Institute (GPII). The first non-profit institute of its kind in the United States, the GPII is aimed at advancing the Cradle to Cradle framework developed by architect and designer William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart.

“With the encouragement and assistance of Bill McDonough, our commitment to the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy has evolved to fully embrace the concepts of reverse engineering, elimination of waste, safe chemistries, and closed loop technical nutrients,” said Vance Bell, Shaw's ceo. His company was an early adopter of Cradle to Cradle design.

“The tenets of Cradle to Cradle and the mission of the Green Products Innovation Institute align strongly with our own commitment to sustainability through innovation -- the Shaw Green Edge,” Bell added.

The GPII will bring together leaders and practices from industry, academia, government, and communities to further advance the Cradle to Cradle philosophy, according to Rick Ramirez, Shaw vp sustainability. “The GPII is truly a groundbreaking initiative in terms of its potential to influence the entire cycle of product design, manufacture and reclamation,” Ramirez said.

“California is the perfect birthplace for this Institute, but ultimately its reach is global,” noted co-founder William McDonough.

Using the Cradle to Cradle certification protocol, GPII will work with leaders from academia, the NGO environmental community, government, and industry to establish both metrics and a rating system for evaluating products. Products that meet the criteria will receive the Cradle to Cradle network certification mark.