William McDonough

William McDonough is leading us into the Next Industrial Revolution—an Earth-friendly, economically-robust new stage of human industry. He has changed the way we think about the design and construction of everything, from books to buildings to entire cities, showing us that total sustainability and economic success are one and the same.

Chosen for Vanity Fair's list of 100 most influential people in "the new establishment", Mcdonough designed the city-sized Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, where he installed the world's largest green roof, saving the company millions a year in utility costs alone. It's a perfect example of his work: large-scale ingenuity that is greening business, in the last place you'd expect—in this case, the American rust belt. In 2013, the Ford plant celebrated its 10th anniversary with the living roof thriving and all original plant species surviving. He is also the master planner behind seven new, entirely green cities in China. In his practical-minded, nature-inspired projects—for companies like Nike—he employs sustainable principles that are both beautiful and cost-effective.

McDonough has defined these principles of the sustainability movement through his companies: McDonough Innovation, William McDonough + Partners and MBDC. William McDonough is co-creator of the Cradle to Cradle® design framework and also contributed to the founding of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. He serves on the International Board of Trustees for Sustainability at Arizona State University and is on the Sustainability Leadership Council at the University of Cambridge. Most recently in 2014, the World Economic Forum appointed him as Chair to the Meta-Council on the Circular Economy.

McDonough's project principles have seemingly caught on worldwide. In his fascinating talks, delivered with eloquence and a very dry sense of humor, he draws on his stunning body of work to provide you with strategies toward absolute sustainability in all industries. He also explains his influential cradle to cradle design process, in which products can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—and the subject of his fascinating book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

Written with his colleague, Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle is a manifesto calling for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design. Their second book, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance, was released in 2013.

McDonough is a contributing writer to The Guardian and The Huffington Post and is frequently featured on GreenBiz.com as part of The McDonough Conversations.