Hot Tips (Transparency)

The Red List and Declare Labels

Have you ever thought about what toxic materials might be lurking in your classroom walls, floors and furniture? Are you familiar with the Red List, the “worst in class” materials, chemicals and elements known to pose serious risks to human health and the greater ecosystem? If not, you might be surprised that Red List chemicals are commonly used in building products.

The good news is that some companies are fully committed to product disclosure, and believe that the process will encourage the development of more innovative green building products that will result in healthier indoor environments. After all, you want to make the right decisions for the health of your students when designing and constructing buildings by using ecologically sound products without resorting to extensive research.

But with the lack of verifiable product information and all the greenwashing in the marketplace, how can you trust manufacturers? The Living Building Challenge has the world’s most aspirational green building standard and has incorporated transparency though its Declare program. We recommend asking your suppliers to provide Declare labels, which serve as a clear, elegant and informative ‘nutrition-label’ for building products. Declare labels fill the information gap by answering three simple questions: Where does a product come from? What is it made of? And where does it go at the end of its life?

At Mohawk Group, we have embraced third-party certifications to help our customers make conscious, informed decisions. In fact, we currently have Declare labels for 489 Red List-free products in the marketplace and continue to lead the entire manufacturing industry with the largest and most varied selection of products that have Health Product Declarations (HPDs), Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Declare Labels. All certifications are available on and

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

About the Author

Lauri Watnee is the director of Education Segmentation at Mohawk Group.