Skip to main content

Healthy Materials’ Newest Power Couple Present an Informed and Aligned Approach

Dec 6, 2023

Healthy Building Network (HBN) and mindful MATERIALS (mM) have teamed up to simplify selection of healthier building materials. On a recent webinar, CEOs Gina Ciganik and Annie Bevan presented renewed alignment between HBN’s Informed™ approach and mM’s Common Materials Framework (CMF). 


Know Better, Choose Better

Despite twenty years of industry progress and AEC professionals’ personal dedication, practitioners looking to select healthier building materials still struggle to find comprehensive data and information to make scientifically rigorous product decisions.

Scaling up healthy, non-toxic, and low-carbon product selection across the industry requires a holistic and complementary framework. To advance this, HBN and mM are joining forces and advocating for a two-step approach that, first, advocates for materials modeling, using HBN’s Informed™ approach to screen out product types with the most hazardous chemicals–and second, streamlines the search for specific product disclosures and certifications using mM’s Common Materials Framework (CMF). 

“We’re thinking of HBN and mM as the new healthy materials power couple,” said Ciganik. “This unique partnership creates a simplified, yet effective system of checks and balances that can scale up quickly in a flywheel effect. We believe the independent science of HBN and manufacturer disclosures of mM will mutually benefit each other, and turn into bigger and bigger wins over time.”


What is HBN’s Informed™?

HBN’s online materials modeling tool makes it easier to choose healthier building products. Informed™ is backed by HBN’s decades of research on the health impacts of chemicals in building products across their life cycle and uses a simple red-to-green color-ranking system to recommend product types that do not contain the most harmful chemicals. The Informed™ Product Explorer helps you find product material health information in minutes, not hours.

Read more

What is mM’s Common Materials Framework?

mM’s Common Materials Framework (CMF) is the most expansive, cross-stakeholder industry effort to date, which analyzes and organizes over 100 of the most common building products and their material certifications and disclosures. The framework gives structure to over 650 factors identified within these programs relevant to material sustainability within five buckets of health and sustainability, reflecting the broad categories first identified in the AIA A&D Materials Pledge.

Read more

This new partnership builds on the strengths of both organizations: HBN’s commitment to scientifically validate healthier building choices and offer research-backed tools and mM’s dedication to fast-tracking the industry’s efforts with a common language to make sense of industry disclosures and certifications. 

“Similar efforts to streamline these challenges have failed in the past,” Bevan candidly admitted,“because historically we didn’t have collective alignment and a common language, the data availability and trust, or the necessary technology and resources. And quite frankly, practitioners were drowning in complexity.” 

The partnership between HBN and mM looks to bridge that gap - working together the two organizations will advocate for a more ‘connected ecosystem’.


Throughout the webinar, both Ciganik and Bevan emphasized the potential for widespread  impact that healthier building material selection can have on human health and climate outcomes across the supply chain, given the sector’s significant influence and spending power. It is important to align healthier building product selection with climate efforts and be a win-win for many firms with decarbonization goals. Amending climate pledges to include product optimization–both decarbonization and detoxification–is key to achieve both climate and health outcomes. 

“The average interior designer has 26 times the spending power as an average consumer—and a single interior design at a top 100 firm is responsible for an average of $15M in product specifications. The industry has the power and we need to use it for good,” said Bevan.

Ciganik added, “There’s going to be 2.5 trillion square feet of real estate being built on the earth by 2060. This sounds daunting, but it also tells us, we have the power as the sector to change the health of the planet, if we get it right.”


The November 15, 2023, webinar is just the beginning of a longer-term partnership, the two CEOs noted. In 2024, HBN and mM will be working closely to chart out a more detailed tactical plan for making the partnership a reality, and developing practical, hands-on solutions for AEC practitioners.  Learn more about the partnership here and stay tuned as we share more information in the coming months. 


Watch the Webinar