William McDonough, FAIA, Int. FRIBA, is a globally recognized designer, thought leader, sustainable growth pioneer. For more than 40 years he has set the terms and defined the principles of the sustainability movement through his companies — McDonough Innovation, William McDonough + Partners, and MBDC — creating its seminal buildings, products, texts, enterprises and preparing the ground for its widespread growth.
McDonough began conversations on sustainability with Joel Makower, executive editor of GreenBiz Group and founder of GreenBiz.com, more than a decade ago when they were both serving as advisors to the cleantech venture capital funds at Vantage Point Capital Partners in Silicon Valley. Those conversations have expanded over the years. McDonough has interacted on stage with Makower in several settings, including at GreenBiz’s VERGE event in San Francisco in 2012. In 2013, the pair decided to bring their discussions to a wider audience, and they began an unusual series for GreenBiz. The McDonough Conversations offer a glimpse into the array of McDonoughl’s current and varied activities — his involvement with the Clinton Global Initiative, leadership at the World Economic Forum, product design and architecture projects, and collaborations with corporations, industries, and governments.
McDonough has received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996); the U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003); and the Smithsonian’s National Design Award (2004), for achievement in environmental design. In 2012, he began an unprecedented collaboration with Stanford University Libraries to create a “living archive” of sustainability with real-time collection of his work and communications. Time named him “Hero for the Planet” in 1999, stating that his “utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.”
William McDonough is author of The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability (1992), which remains a touchstone of the movement, and co-author of the widely influential Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance (2013). McDonough is co-creator of Cradle to Cradle®, a global standard for the design of safe, healthy products; business strategist for leading global companies; and architect of NASA’s Sustainability Base, Ford Rouge Center and other flagships of sustainable design. In 2013, McDonough began active collaborations with Waste Management and other recycling, resource, manufacturing and industrial partners to help companies design products and packaging for optimal recyclability and material health, so that all ingredients can be reused safely by nature or industry.