The Living Product Challenge (LPC) is the world’s most advanced product sustainability standard. Developed and adminstrated by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), it is a framework for manufacturers to create products that are healthy, inspirational and give back more to the environment than they take across their lifecycles. 

 Rewarding regenerative products  

 The LPC is applicable to building and interior products, rewarding products that are regenerative in nature and improve the quality of life. Manufacturers can use the LPC framework to rethink the way products are manufactured, instead of being “less bad”, to rather create products that have a positive impact.  

 Living products are: 

  • Healthy and free of toxins. 
  • Socially responsible and respect the rights of workers. 
  • Net positive and benefit both people and the environment. 
  • Informed by nature, using principles of biomimicry and biophilia. 
  • Made using processes powered only by renewable energy. 
  • Improving the quality of life. 
  • Beautiful and functional. 

 Performance areas 

 The LPC is organised into seven performance areas, or petals:  

  1. Place: Restoring a healthy co-existence with site and the natural environment.  
  2. Water: Creating products that operate within the water balance of the manufacturing site and are net positive throughout the product lifecycle. 
  3. Energy: Manufacturing processes that rely on the current solar income and are net positive throughout the product lifecycle. 
  4. Health and happiness: Optimising the health of products and creating an environment that promotes psychological well-being. 
  5. Materials: Supporting a circular and regenerative economy by creating products that use health and safe inputs, and eliminating concepts of waste. 
  6. Equity: Supporting a just and sustainable world.  
  7. Beauty: Celebrating design that uplifts the human spirit. 

Each performance area has several more detailed requirements, called imperatives. These are defined as handprinting, core or required for petal certification. 

 What is a handprint? 

 Companies often try to communicate their impact in terms of footprints. A footprint considers the negative impacts of all the processes needed to make something. Products, services, people and organisations have footprints, but the ILFI looks at business in terms of handprints. 

 Handprints measure the positive impact that a product causes across its lifecycle, such as harvesting more water and generating more energy than was required to make it. They are the positive impact that can happen relative to “business as usual”. 

 Embracing the challenge 

 Regenerative Collaborative South Africa (RCSA), formerly the Living Future Collaborative, offers a webinar on the LPC, focussed on how to improve the products that are used in the built environment and interior spaces. View the original webinar on YouTube, and for more information and webinars on responsible design and green building, visit GreenED.  

Issue: What if products improved the quality of life and helped ecosystems thrive? 

Solution: The Living Product Challenge is a visionary path to a regenerative future. 

 

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to https://www.greened.co.za/ and https://living-future.org/ for the information in this editorial. 

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