The Earth-Conscious Checklist for Material Selection

The Earth-Conscious Checklist for Material Selection

By Michelle Ko

The Earth-Conscious Checklist outlines specific attributes to consider when selecting materials that will positively impact human and climate health. Improve your environmental footprint by using this checklist for future material selection.


▢ PVC-free

▢ Biobased/plant-based

▢ Made with recycled content

▢ Finish-Free

As more studies revealing the dark truths of cancer-causing chemicals with long-term impacts to our health are published, we must prioritize safe materials and strongly consider how and what it is made of. Materials that are free of PVC, antimicrobials, chlorine, plasticizers, solvents, heavy metals and ozone depleting chemicals can help reduce risk of exposure and negative effects of chemicals on the human body—bonus points if the material has performance qualities that are inherent to the yarn and require no added finishes! 

Page Turner (Left) and Dance Floor (Right) are upholstery fabrics made entirely from already-consumed PET bottles.


▢ Durable (stands up to abuse and tearing in high-traffic areas)

▢ Proven track record of long lifespan

▢ LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)

▢ EPD (Environmental Product Declaration)

▢ Responsible Return Program

To fight against global climate change, it is crucial to select materials that are built to last, reduce waste, promotes circularity, and generates a significantly reduced carbon footprint over fossil-fuel based products. Not many products disclose their carbon emissions through EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations), so if you are lucky to find one with a low carbon footprint, that is a forever-keeper.

Biobased Xorel has an embodied carbon footprint of 1.12 kg carbon dioxide (CO2) per yard. 


▢ Company or manufacturer is B-Corp

▢ Cradle to Cradle Gold/Silver

▢ Living Product Challenge

▢ SCS Indoor Air Advantage Gold

▢ Declare

▢ GreenSpec

▢ TUV Austria OK biobased

▢ USDA Certified Biobased Product

▢ HPD (Health Product Declaration)

Don’t fall for the greenwash “natural” or “eco” labels with little to no data to back up these claims. Third-party certifications are a trustworthy way to identify when an eco label isn’t just a label but a verified fact. A commitment to third-party certifications underscores a company’s dedication to environmental responsibility and transparency as it requires a huge investment in time, resources, and dollars.


Carnegie has been a B Corp certified company since 2014.

Download the Earth-conscious Checklist PDF here.

About the Author

Michelle Ko is the Marketing Manager at Carnegie. Innately curious with an appreciation for beautiful design, Michelle enjoys writing stories about creativity and the people behind it.