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William McDonough

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5 out of 5

Renowned Architectural Designer, Advisor & Co-Author of "Cradle to Cradle + The Upcycle"

Renowned Architectural Designer, Advisor & Co-Author of "Cradle to Cradle + The Upcycle"

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Virginia, USA
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William McDonough Biography

William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable design and development. He co-authored "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things" (2002), widely recognized as a seminal text of both the sustainability and the Circular Economy design movements.

He advises global leaders through McDonough Innovation and is an architect with William McDonough + Partners. His architecture firm is known for having designed many of the primary icons of the sustainable architecture movement. Through his third firm, MBDC, he created the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program and co-founded the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, which administers the program. Cradle to Cradle Certified® is an independent, science-based, third-party, multi-attribute product standard recognized by the world’s leading retailers, including Amazon, Home Depot, Walgreens and Walmart.

He has been active with the World Economic Forum for 25 years and served as the inaugural chair of their Meta-Council on the Circular Economy. He has co-founded four not-for-profit organizations, including GreenBlue, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, and Fashion for Good, a joint-industry initiative aiming to transform the global apparel chain into a force for good.

McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003), the National Design Award (2004) and the Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership (2017). Time magazine recognized him as a “Hero for the Planet,” noting: “His utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world," and in 2019 Fortune magazine named him one of the World's Greatest Leaders.

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Speaker profile last updated by AAE Talent Team on 06/04/2024.

William McDonough Speaking Topics

  • Create More Good, Rather Than Do Less Bad

    William McDonough believes that we can create a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy, and just world, with clean air, soil, water, and power--economically, equitably, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed. Why not? McDonough discusses why efficiency alone is not going to solve the problems we face as a planet--efficiency, sustainability, and the reduction of carbon-footprint only slow the inevitable. Rather than striving to do less bad, McDonough advocates for a new paradigm geared towards increasing positive impacts. Through his illuminating discussion, McDonough maps out:

    What it means to build like a tree and rethink design to create products, industries and processes with positive impacts

    How modern businesses and communities are accepting the challenge of improving the planet by moving beyond efficiency with the protocols of eco-effectiveness

    How companies can leverage efficiency to become 100% renewably powered

    Why we are faced with a materials problem rather than an energy problem and what that means for industry

  • Putting Eco-Effectiveness into Practice for a Cradle to Cradle World

    Internationally recognized for his innovative and groundbreaking design ideas, William McDonough explains how we can change the impact of human industry on the environment while encouraging economic success. He takes audiences on a captivating journey, describing how we can all become thoughtfully engaged in a magnificent design assignment that can be understood on a personal level. Audiences gain an understanding of this powerful paradigm for viewing the world for positive impact at all levels as an individual, a professional, and a citizen of the global community. In his stimulating and innovative presentation, McDonough describes:

    The best and worst in the history of human design from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Edison

    Puts to rest myths and misconceptions surrounding the effectiveness of banning materials and explain the importance of separating the organic cycle from the technical cycle

    Explains the importance of enterprise large and the transformative nature of commerce itself, acting in society's best interest based on the simple notion that the first job of business is keep your customers alive and thriving

    Presents new strategies of change for eco-intelligence to help guide our endeavors at every level from the making of molecules to the planning of regions

  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

    In an eye-opening and provocative presentation based on the book he co-authored with German chemist Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, American architect William McDonough challenges the way we think about waste, recycling and designing for a planet approaching nine billion. He explains that the widely accepted goals of sustainability and eco-efficiency actually create unbelievable amounts of waste and pollutionthey simply wont be enough. Instead of focusing on reducing footprint, McDonough urges that products be designed to continuously travel in nutrient cyclesbiological (they go back to the soil) or technical (they stay in the use and production cycle safely forever). With this Cradle to Cradle framework in mind, McDonough has shaped the design of everything from carpet to corporate campuses. He shows audiences that:

    Design is the first signal of human intention and the key to solving the planets most pressing problems

    Recycling is ineffective it is really just a process of downcycling products into low-grade materials that will eventually become waste

    Anyone involved in making anything can put eco-effectiveness into practice

    Businesses can lead the way on climate change with velocity and scale

    If revolutionized, human industry does not have to damage the natural world • products can be designed in a way that they will actually act as revitalizing nutrients for the environment when they are no longer needed

William McDonough Videos

  • SCW20: Featured speaker - William McDonough - YouTube
    "Cradle-to-Cradle Design for the Circular Economy" - Architect and author William McDonough, founder of the Cradle to Cradle™ products ...
  • What if waste did not exist? | William McDonough
    What if we could eliminate the concept of waste altogether? This is exactly what Cradle to Cradle aims to do, a green nonprofit that seeks to ...
  • William McDonough explains steel's place in his 'Cradle to Cradle ...
    William McDonough, architect, designer, thought leader, author and originator of the 'Cradle to Cradle' concept is a globally recognised leader ...

William McDonough Books

  • The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance
    The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance
  • The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability, 10th Anniversary Edition
    The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability, 10th Anniversary Edition
  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
    Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

Speaker Lists Featuring William McDonough

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  • What topics does William McDonough speak about?

  • Where does William McDonough travel from?

    William McDonough generally travels from Virginia, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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William McDonough is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Create More Good, Rather Than Do Less Bad, Putting Eco-Effectiveness into Practice for a Cradle to Cradle World and Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. The estimated speaking fee range to book William McDonough for your event is $50,000 - $100,000. William McDonough generally travels from VA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Dr. Michio Kaku, Peter Diamandis, Sylvia Earle, Adrian Grenier and Erin Brockovich. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling William McDonough for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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