Declare is an ingredients initiative from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) for building products. What does the Declare label tall me? Find out here.

Declare product labelling: Here’s all you need to know

What is Declare?

Declare is an ingredients initiative from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) for building products. It is designed to shape a greener, healthier environment for construction workers, business employees, and customers alike. The Declare program labels goods with a full list of ingredients and expands the transparency of the building market.

It is already widely used in North America and was launched in the UK in June (we were invited!) at an event organised by LFI London Living Building Challenge Collaborative and hosted by Foster + Partners.

What is the aim of Declare labelling?

Declare aims to change the materials marketplace. It is a tool to show consumers that the product they are buying, specifying or using is one that they can trust. This is achieved through greater transparency of the ‘ingredients’ of materials.

What does the Declare label tell me?

All products are eligible for inclusion, regardless of their composition. For end-users and specifiers who are conscious of environmental and wellbeing issues, Declare opens up answers to key questions:

Where does a product come from?

What is it made of – ingredients are reported by component. Red List chemicals will be listed in dark orange and EPA, COC and REACH chemicals will be listed in light orange.
Where does it go at the end of its life – this includes take-back programmes, salvageable or reusable in its entirety, recyclable percentage, landfill or hazardous waste.

The Declare labelling has major benefits as it takes complex chemical analysis and raw material source location information and provides it in an easy-to-use nutrition label.

What are Red List ingredients?

The Red List contains the worst in class materials prevalent in the building industry. These commonly used chemicals pollute the environment, bio-accumulate up the food chain until they reach toxic concentrations and harm construction and factory workers.

How do products achieve the Declare label?

Manufacturers can create an ILFI Membership account and access the Online Manufacturer Dashboard to complete the Product Declaration Form.

There are five simple steps for manufacturers to achieve the Declare label. Once a manufacturer has become a Premium Member of the ILFI, they can connect their membership to Toxnot – a software tool and chemical database that provides a standardised method for gathering material data. Products are created using the Toxnot platform as it allows manufacturers to track the chemical constituents in their products throughout their supply chains. This creates a draft of the Declare label which can then be submitted to the ILFI for review.

The Declare support team process the information, draft the Declare label, and follow up with any questions or comments.

Manufacturers that are provided a Declare label have the right to use the label on general marketing materials and registered product materials. The label cannot be used on or associated with any other product than the product designated on the label.

How much does it cost to get a Declare label?

To create Declare Labels, manufacturers must have an ILFI Premium Membership which costs $150 per annum.

A Declare Label currently costs $1000 for the first product. If a manufacturer submits labels for two to nine Declare labels the cost is discounted to $850 each, and ten or more products costs $750 for each label.

The Declare fee corresponds with each label. A single Declare label covers one building product and one final assembly location. If a product has more than one final assembly location, then a manufacturer is charged for each location.

The Declare license is valid for a 12-month period. After this period manufacturers pay a renewal fee and either confirm that the information contained within the Product Declaration Form has not changed or submit a new form. Renewal pricing is 50% of the price of a new label or the full price of a new label if changes have been made to the product’s composition.

How do I know if a product has a Declare label?

All published Declare labels can be viewed on the online database.

Finally, why is Declare something we need to understand?

Firstly, it serves a dedicated market of highly-visible Living Building Challenge projects, Architecture firms, specifiers, local authorities and organisations who use the list to make specification decisions.

Secondly, with calls to reduce human exposure to hazardous substances, consumers are becoming more aware of the chemicals they come into contact with. And, many of us are taking a closer look at the products we choose to have in our homes and offices and other spaces. In short, Declare takes complex chemical analysis and raw material source location information and provides it to consumers in an easy-to-use nutrition label.

Spreading the use of healthy materials is important for the future of the built environment which is why the Declare Database is free for everyone.

Photo credit: ethical furniture makers, Forest & Maker

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