Cradle to Cradle: Innovation for the Next Industrial Revolution


Date Wednesday February 16th 2005
Time 1:00 PM
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Modelled on the principles of an abundant natural world, Cradle to Cradle Design is a framework for generating industrial systems that nourish all aspects of the world we live in – economically, environmentally and socially. From the level of particles to policies, Cradle to Cradle Design offers a set of guidelines that drive innovation towards the Next Industrial Revolution. As businesses large and small seek to implement products, processes and strategies based upon the Cradle to Cradle framework, they have begun to increasingly demand the new technologies that will enable them to get ahead in this growing field.

An economy based upon the principles of Cradle to Cradle Design engenders a new definition of quality, where products and processes are not designed to minimize the harm they inflict upon people and their environment, but rather to enhance people’s health and regenerate the world around them. Products reflecting this new definition of quality are designed as nutrients whose component materials become food for ecological and industrial systems. Businesses become the managers of nutrient flows, directing valuable materials through cyclical metabolisms. At the same time, new business structures in the form of Intelligent Materials Pooling communities provide a mutually advantageous framework for collaboration amongst supply chain partners and other stakeholders to support the system of material recovery and reuse.

From the inception of new intelligent materials and the creation of the hardware and software for material flow management to the development of new analytical technologies and quality assurance capabilities, the realization of a Cradle to Cradle economy presents an immense opportunity for technology innovation.


Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart is a world-renowned chemist and business consultant. He is founder of EPEA International Umweltforschung GmbH, in Hamburg, Germany, and co-founder of MBDC, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Both EPEA and MBDC share a common set of values that embrace intelligent, aesthetic and eco-effective design, and seek to optimize products through Cradle to Cradle design. Through these activities, Dr. Braungart has developed tools to aid the design of eco-effective products and business systems, and has worked with a multitude of organizations and companies (e.g. UNIDO, Greenpeace, Ford, Shaw) in a range of industries. Since 1994, Dr. Braungart has been a professor of Process Engineering at the Europa-Universität in Lüneburg, Germany, where he also serves as the director of an interdisciplinary materials flow management masters program. From time to time, he has also accepted visiting professorships at Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, and the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

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