One of the marvels of the 21st century is the number of organisations and individuals committed to generating a safer, healthier, more stable future around the planet. From the environment to community-building, construction to human-centred design, people far and wide are waking up to the idea that the future is our responsibility, that what we do now will have huge consequences for those who come after us, that we have the power to build a better world.

One organisation championing this cause is the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Their mission is to create a future that is ‘socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative’; what they call a ‘living future’. To achieve this, they’re engaging architects, engineers, manufacturers, business leaders and other key industry stakeholders, encouraging them to follow practices in line with this vision. Zenfeel is one such stakeholder, and we’re proud to be on board.

How does it work?

The ILFI have various programmes and certifications that push the boundaries of traditional ‘eco’, ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ standards. Instead of focusing on a single metric, or a narrow range of metrics, their certifications follow an integrated approach. Rather than simply showing one particular use of materials, or a zero-carbon construction process, organisations must demonstrate that their whole ecosystem of materials, construction, design and more meets sustainability standards, while at the same time serving the communities that will inhabit the spaces they build. If they can achieve this, then they gain recognition from the ILFI.

Organisations can also match up against a set of Living Future challenges. For example, the Living Building Challenge, which pushes companies to make buildings that generate more energy than they use, that don’t rely on external water systems, and that use healthy materials. And the Living Product Challenge, in which companies are tasked not only to create products made from renewable materials and energy, but that are also beautiful, in harmony with nature. Think biophilic design.


Organisations like ILFI are vital in the fight against greenwashing. Greenwashing is the act of spending more money, energy and/or time on marketing so-called ‘eco’, ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ credentials than on actually achieving green goals. At a time when it is advantageous for companies to look eco-conscious to consumers, some may cynically exaggerate the degree to which they are building better futures, so as to gain more business, sell more products, or mask business and manufacturing practices that are leading to a less liveable future. Through its certification and challenges, the ILFI is attempting to counter greenwashing, in a way that doesn’t seek to criticise or admonish, but rather that promotes positive practices, holding genuinely decent organisations up for others to see and appreciate. It is a constructive path towards a better future.


One of the ILFI’s programmes is to encourage the use of ‘Declare.’ labels. They challenge us to think about products just as we do food. When we pick up jars of pasta sauce from the store, or choose between ready meals, what do we typically do? We read their labels. We want to see what ingredients they contain, their nutritional values, perhaps their production and expiry dates, and information about how to recycle their containers. Why don’t we do the same with our physical products?

Zenfeel Declares

Well, now we can. Check it out. A label for a physical product, similar to that you’d find on a food product. Not just any physical product, but a Zenfeel Polyester Fiber Acoustic Panel. One of our signature panels. The most diverse panel in our collection, that can be cut to different sizes, coloured, printed on, and can be bought guilt-free, thanks to its green credentials. In the new Declare. label you can see the ingredients, the life expectancy, the product’s provenance and more. You can see that it’s 100% recyclable, and, crucially, it is Red List Free, compliant with the ILFI’s Living Building Challenge.

Red List Free?

Red List Free. This means that the product contains none of the materials on the ILFI’s Living Building Challenge Red List. Unfortunately, chemicals, materials and elements that are harmful to both humans and the environments we inhabit are very common in the building products industry. The Red List Free label means that project teams do not need to test products by hand to see if they will violate safety or human health standards, they can trust in them as is. It’s worth mentioning, products with this certification also meet the WELL building standard, and LEED certification standards. For those in the know: we use the CDPH method for VOC detection.

Why are we telling you?

First of all, we’re proud of the product we’ve created. It’s not only beautiful and highly functional, but actively contributes to building a better future for us all. But second, and just as important, we want to raise awareness of heightening standards within the building, construction and manufacturing industries. Work like that done by the ILFI, and all of the organisations that they’ve accredited, is good news for the planet. It’s good news for us, and for the generations that are to follow. By sharing their vision, and their methods and means, we can all play a small part in creating a future that is healthy, sustainable and green.