The team

William McDonough

William McDonough


William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. Trained as an architect, McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular. Time magazine recognized him in 1999 as a “Hero for the Planet,” stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that-in demonstrable and practical ways-is changing the design of the world.” In 1996, McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the nation's highest environmental honor, and in 2003 he earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his work with Shaw Industries, the carpet division of Berkshire Hathaway. In 2004, he received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. McDonough is the architect of many of the recognized flagships of sustainable design, including the Ford Rouge truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan; the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College; and NASA’s new “space station on Earth,” Sustainability Base, completed in 2011.

He has written and lectured extensively on design as the first signal of human intention. He was commissioned in 1991 to write The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability as guidelines for the City of Hannover's EXPO 2000, still recognized two decades after publication as a touchstone of sustainable design. In 2002, William McDonough and the German chemist Dr. Michael Braungart co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, which is widely acknowledged as a seminal text of the sustainability movement.

William McDonough advises major enterprises including commercial and governmental leaders worldwide through McDonough Advisors. He also is active with William McDonough + Partners, his architecture practice with offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, and San Francisco, as well as McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, the Cradle to Cradle consulting firm co-founded with Braungart. He has co-founded, with Braungart, not for profit organizations to allow public accessibility to Cradle to Cradle thinking. These include GreenBlue (2000), to convene industry groups around Cradle to Cradle issues, and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (2009), founded at the invitation of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to create a global standard for the development of safe and healthy products. He and Braungart contributed the Cradle to Cradle certification program to the Institute. McDonough serves on the Advisory Council of VantagePoint Capital Partners and also co-founded Make It Right (2006) with Brad Pitt to bring affordable, Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes to the New Orleans Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina.



Inhabitat Interview | Green Architect & Cradle to Cradle Founder William McDonough

OnInnovation | Video Interview With William McDonough

Forbes | William McDonough: The Upcycle And Waging Peace Through Commerce

PR Newswire | William McDonough Attends World Economic Forum

GreenBiz| William McDonough and Waste Management form innovation collaborative

San Francisco Chronicle | William McDonough: Green Pioneer

GreenSource | William McDonough: The Renaissance Man of the Green Movement

Professor Dr. Michael Braungart

Professor Dr. Michael Braungart


Michael Braungart is founder of EPEA International Umweltforschung GmbH and co-founder of MBDC McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dr. Braungart's work has been published in numerous journals on science, public affairs, design and environment in Europe and the US.

After completing his studies in Process Engineering in Darmstadt, Germany, Dr. Braungart went on to explore the chemical processes of industrial production techniques with the Chemistry Department at Konstanz, Germany. He subsequently spearheaded the formation of the Chemistry Section of Greenpeace International. By the time he completed his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Hannover in 1985, he had assumed leadership of Greenpeace Chemistry. Dr. Braungart is currently a professor of Process Engineering at the Technical University of Northeast Lower Saxony (Fachhochschule Nordostniedersachsen), and is also a popular lecturer in waste management amongst graduate students in engineering and the natural sciences.

In 1987, Professor Dr. Braungart founded the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) in Hamburg. At the heart of EPEA is the "Intelligent Products System" (IPS), which creates products oriented toward a life-cycle economy. Dr. Braungart earned the Océ-van der Grinten Award in 1993. In addition to his achievements within the EPEA, Dr. Braungart also serves as Scientific Manager of the Hamburg Environmental Institute, the non-profit research center that produces the "Top 50 Study", which ranks the quality of environmentally-sound production of companies within the chemical industry.

Working together with designer William A. McDonough in their product design and development firm, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, Dr. Braungart's work addresses topics from particles to policy. He has initiated worldwide scholarly and scientific inquiry into the adverse environmental and physiological impacts of industrially-produced consumer goods. In addition, Braungart's EPEA co-authored the "Hannover Principles of Design: Design for Sustainability," which served as development guidelines for the World's Fair in Hannover, 2000. Professor Dr. Braungart currently concentrates his efforts at McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry and EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung by working with major industrial producers, such as Nike and Desso on issues of materials assessment, waste and energy balances, life-cycle design, and designing for disassembly. He is also active in designing new products, and was instrumental in the creation of the compostable fabric line Climatex®Lifecycle with William McDonough.