Declare.

The nutrition label for building products

Declare® is part of the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) suite of programs that catalyse a socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative future. This trusted public database and product labelling program answers 3 key questions:

  1. Where does the product come from?
  2. What it is made of?
  3. Where does it go at the end of its life?

Materials selections and product transparency have emerged as increasingly crucial factors in the regenerative building movement, circular economy and human and environmental health, through design, specification, product manufacturing and supply chain transparency.

What is a Declare Label?

A Declare label displays compliance (or otherwise) with the stringent criteria of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Materials Petal and Healthy Interior Performance Imperative, which helps specifiers and clients make informed choices for healthier buildings. They can be likened to nutritional labels that make understanding product ingredients easier.

Demand for materials transparency and specifier interest in the makeup of products is increasing, helping to shift the supply chain. Transparency programs like Declare build knowledge and facilitate the transition to a healthier built environment.

Declare Program Status Overview

“LBC Red List Free” products disclose 100% of product ingredients plus residuals present at or above 100 ppm (0.01%) in the final product and do not contain any Red List chemicals. They have been shown to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge Red List Imperative.

Products that receive a designation of “LBC Red List Free” will have a Red List Free sticker appear on the database entry.

“LBC Red List Approved” products meet the written requirements of the Living Building Challenge Red List Imperative, but rely on one or more Declare Program Exceptions to demonstrate compliance. A minimum of 99% of product ingredients plus residuals present at or above 100 ppm (0.01%) in the final product are disclosed. The product may contain one or more Red List chemicals if they fall under an existing, published Declare Program Exception. They have been shown to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge Red List.

“Declared” products disclose 100% of product ingredients plus residuals present at or above 100ppm (0.01%) in the final product, but contain one or more Red List chemicals that are not covered by an existing Declare Program Exception. “Declared” labels require additional product research and vetting to locate a fully compliant product before the “Declared” product may be used on a Living Building Challenge project.

How To Apply For a Declare Label

  1. Contact us (declare.australia @ living-future.org) to discuss your product’s specific application requirements and register for LFIA membership to get access to our application system.
  2. Collate your product ingredients into a Bill of Materials including every intentionally added ingredient at or above 100ppm (0.01%), together with VOC emissions certificate and FSC CoC documentation as applicable. Check out Declare database entries for other similar products to see how the information displays.
  3. Submit your application through an online system. We’ll provide a step-by-step guide to the process and there’s also an online help chat.
  4. Your application is reviewed and any missing information is identified. Once all the required information has been provided, a label is created.
  5. The label is published to the online database and you’ll receive an invoice for the label fee. Both the label and your membership need to be renewed annually.

Declare FAQ

How does a chemical get added to the Red List?

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List represents the “worst in class” materials, chemicals, and elements known to seriously impact human health and the greater ecosystem, prevalent in the building products industry, which we believe should be phased out of production due to toxicity concerns. The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) worked with the Healthy Building Network and the Pharos Project to develop the original Red List in 2006, and new chemicals are added when research and information become available.

The LBC “Watch List” signals to manufacturers and project teams that certain chemicals and compound groups have been identified for potential inclusion in future versions of the LBC Red List. A chemical must be designated as a “Priority for Red List” for at least 12 months before it can be added to the Red List.

How long does a Declare label last for?

A Declare Label remains current for one year and can be renewed up to 2 months prior to the expiry date to remain in the database. We contact the manufacturer prior to expiry to check if there have been modifications to the product ingredients or formulation.

How long does it take to get a Declare label?

Timeframes depend on the complexity of your product and the accuracy of the information provided in your application. As a general guide, we suggest planning for 4-6 weeks from initial enquiry to a published label. Contact us for more information or to discuss a specific product: declare.australia @ living-future.org

Are healthy materials and the Declare database only relevant to Living Building Challenge project teams?

Healthy materials and product transparency are relevant to the entire building products industry, so that the buildings we create and occupy leave a positive legacy on the health of all living beings and the planet.

Can I apply for a Declare label if my product contains Red List chemicals?

Yes you can – the program is all about transparency and facilitating informed choices. Red List content displays in red text on the label and on the database entry. We would however encourage you to advocate for healthier alternative ingredients, and work towards eliminating harmful chemicals from your product and your supply chain. At least 90% of the products and materials specified for Living Buildings must be Red List Free.

If I achieve a Declare label for my product do I need to put an actual physical label on the product?

The label and information you’ve disclosed about your product, appear on the free public Declare database.  There is no requirement for a physical label on your product, however some manufacturers choose to include the Declare label / Red List Free logo on their product, packaging and website, to proudly signal this achievement.

How can I as a specifier make a big impact on the healthy materials revolution?

  • Take a deep dive, become knowledgeable on the Red List and adopt the Precautionary Principle – “Better safe than sorry”- by avoiding toxic content where possible and advocating for change.
  • Urge manufacturers of the products you specify to disclose the actual chemical registry numbers of the ingredients they contain.
  • Don’t take a manufacturer’s assurances for granted that the supply chain won’t disclose ingredients or that products don’t contain Red List – ask for evidence and recommend they join the Declare program.
  • Clearly state in specifications all parameters that are integral to your specified products and materials, to help embed researched selections into final designs, and to ensure that any substitutions are truly equivalent and don’t compromise the value-adds that healthy materials provide.
  • Design for longevity and recyclability, choose quality healthy local materials with recycled, biodegradable and/or carbon- sequestered content, that can be composted or salvaged/ reused at end of life.
  • Demand increases supply – ask the right questions to promote transparency and circularity.
Want to join the Declare program? Contact us!