The intent of the Health and Happiness Petal is to focus on the most important conditions that must be present to create products and materials that truly benefit consumers. The Petal is not designed to address all of the potential ways that goods can compromise society. Instead, it aims to encourage the creation of items whose purpose is to holistically enhance the physical and emotional wellness of the people who use them.
Many manufacturing facilities provide substandard conditions for the health and productivity of factory workers and the typically poor communities that surround them. Persistent bio-accumulative toxic chemicals from product manufacturers, use and disposal are building up in our environment with significant impact to human and ecosystem health. Many of the goods we use in our daily lives are on the whole harmful to our health and well-being, and some goods greatly diminish human potential. By focusing attention on the major pathways of health through the spaces where we make our products and the ways in which we put our products to use, we create a consumer society designed to optimize the human condition.
Ideal Conditions and Current Limitations
The Living Product Challenge envisions a nourishing, highly productive and healthy modern world with consumer products that enrich our daily lives. However, even the most restorative products require acceptance by their users and engagement from their makers. It is difficult to ensure that goods will continue to optimally enhance health and happiness over time since available technologies and consumer preferences change quickly. It can also be complicated to ensure optimal use of products over their complete life cycles due to the unpredictable ways in which people use and maintain them. Finally, it will always be challenging to predict the unintended consequences from the use of any product, as almost anything created can be used in unforeseen ways, the impacts of which can be unclear for many decades.
The product must be safe for human exposure during manufacturing, use and end-of-use.
There have been no reported deaths or serious injuries related to the final manufacturing of the product within the last 12 months.
The manufacturer must identify the total mass of chemical substances contained in the product and used during final manufacturing in each of five hazard categories in order to determine the Material Health Footprint. The manufacturer must develop and publicly share a three-year plan to reduce the product’s Material Health Footprint, and create a Material Health Handprint greater than the reduced footprint through one or more of the following strategies:
- Innovate to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in the product or used in its manufacture.
- Reduce the amount of toxic chemicals used in a company’s operations through preferential purchase of Red List Free materials.
- Publish the results of a hazard assessment of a chemical that was not already publicly available, or publicly share a green chemistry innovation.
The product must contribute to an active, healthy lifestyle and be designed to nurture the innate human/nature connection. The manufacturer must do the following:
- Demonstrate how the product has the potential to transform people’s relationship to the natural world through the manufacturing process, design or use of the product.
- Document whether the product was informed by the natural world and if nature was used as model, mentor or measure, and/or biomimicry was used as an inspiration.
- Demonstrate that the product’s primary use will not further disconnect people from nature.
- Provide sufficient and frequent human-nature interactions for the employees who are manufacturing the product to connect them with nature directly and encourage an active, healthy lifestyle.