Understanding Material Sustainability with mindful MATERIALS

"Any database is only as good as the data that it is built upon." - Alex Muller, mindful MATERIALS

At 2023 Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., cove.tool had the chance to speak with Sustainability Consultant Alex Muller, VP, Communications + Strategy for mindful MATERIALS.

When we talk about sustainability, often, our minds first go to energy efficiency and renewable resources. However, the concept of sustainability extends far beyond these aspects. One area that is garnering increasing attention is material sustainability. This is where mindful MATERIALS steps in, aiming to revolutionize the way we think about and approach this crucial aspect of sustainability.

The word that is frequently associated with mindful MATERIALS is alignment. This reflects their focus on thinking about material sustainability holistically and aligning various efforts toward a common goal. But what exactly does this mean? And why is it so important?

Holistic Approach to Material Sustainability

Material sustainability, as mindful MATERIALS defines it, is far more than just considering the embodied carbon in materials. Sure, the carbon impacts of materials, and how they affect climate change, are significant. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Material sustainability also encompasses a whole world of impacts. These include human health, climate health, ecosystem health, social health, equity, and circularity. Each of these areas have their own complex set of considerations and challenges, making material sustainability a broad and multidimensional field.

Aligning Disparate Efforts

Given the broad scope of material sustainability, there have been many disparate efforts in the industry. Different groups focus on different aspects, from embodied carbon to social impacts. While these efforts are all valuable, there is a need for alignment and coordination.

mindful MATERIALS aims to bring together these diverse efforts. They are working to set a "North Star" for the industry, highlighting the need to think about all aspects of material sustainability. They are advocating for the use of a common language and consistent data points, to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

What's the importance of sustainable, or 'green', materials?

The Role of Data

Data is key in any field, and material sustainability is no exception. However, the value of a database is directly tied to the quality and consistency of the data it's built upon. This is where the alignment efforts of mindfulMATERIALS shine.

They are working to align all the data that's out there, to provide a centralized and coherent understanding of material sustainability. They aim to ensure that anyone can find consistent and reliable information about product sustainability, regardless of where they look.

Consistent Information: The Key Takeaway

The key takeaway from mindfulMATERIALS' approach to material sustainability is the need for consistent information. This is the cornerstone of their work and the aspect that they are most excited about. They believe that by aligning efforts and standardizing data, they can help to advance the industry's understanding of material sustainability and drive meaningful progress in this crucial field.

So, the next time you think about sustainability, consider the materials. And know that organizations like mindfulMATERIALS are working hard to ensure we can make informed and sustainable choices, now and in the future.

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