William McDonough Helps the World Economic Forum Set the Agenda for Sustainable Business

Jan 22, 2014, 09:00 ET from McDonough Innovation

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- William McDonough, pioneer in sustainable design and commerce will be a key leader at the World Economic Forum's 2014 Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, January 22-25. For the first time, the WEF meeting has a dedicated program addressing global climate change as well as advancing cradle to cradle design and circular economy strategies for sustainable business. As part of his activities at the Annual Meeting, Mr. McDonough will present a special session entitled "Beyond Sustainability: From Limits…to Growth."

"I am excited that the World Economic Forum is focusing on cradle to cradle design and the circular economy as drivers of sustainable growth in our fast-changing world," Mr. McDonough said. "Concerns over climate change, limited resources and sustainability can be a powerful engine for beneficial innovation. Through this series of programs, we want to add to the current sustainability agendas, most of which are posited on "being less bad," the concept of "being more good" and we want to reframe the central question of commerce from simply 'how much can I get for how little I give' in a world of metrics and limits to 'how much can we give for all that we get?' in a world of values and abundance."

Mr. McDonough's wide-ranging participation at the Annual Meeting includes:

  • Wednesday evening, Mr. McDonough will be moderating "Rethinking Our Sustainable Future," where the panel will discuss the intersection of climate science, urban design and advanced manufacturing.
  • Friday morning, he will discuss improving competitiveness through innovation at the inaugural meeting of the World Economic Forum's European Business Council.
  • Friday afternoon he will lead an invitation-only session with business, government, and NGO leaders entitled Beyond Sustainability … From Limits to Growth. The goal of the session is to prepare participants with insights and publicly available tools that can be used by enterprises to manifest positive strategies for continuous improvement. McDonough's presentation and facilitated workshop will signal how the business community can "wage peace" using principled, values-based innovation and commerce.
  • Friday evening he will deliver opening remarks at the Climate Change and Sustainability dinner.
  • At Saturday's private session, "Scaling up the Circular Economy," he will be facilitating discussion around the benefits, opportunities and challenges of scaling up cradle to cradle design and circular economy concepts.
  • In Saturday's official sustainability program, Mr. McDonough, Dame Ellen MacArthur of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Frans van Houten of Royal Philips will debate the subject of "Waste to Wealth," moderated by Ali Velshi and broadcast by Al Jazeera America.   

Mr. McDonough will encourage participants in all his sessions to imagine that human activity resourcefully creates an abundance of safe, healthful materials in biological/technical cycles; clean, renewable energy and water; a fair, sharing society; and an opportunity to offer hope for a creative life to everyone, everywhere. "This is a great and defining moment in commercial history," Mr. McDonough said. "We are returning to the notion of being generous and removing remote tyrannies to future generations. It will take us all. It will take forever…but that's the point. In the world of sustainability, things are often too late, but never too early. Let's get started."


William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. He is an inspirational advisor, designer, thought leader and author. In 1996, Mr. McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development. He earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2003 and in 2004 received the National Design Award for achievement in the field of environmental design. Mr. McDonough was trained as an architect at Yale University and went on to become Dean at the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. He has written and lectured extensively on design as the first signal of human intention. In 1992 he wrote The Hannover Principles and went on to co-author, with Dr. Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002), and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance (2013). Mr. McDonough collaborates with innovative clients through three enterprises: McDonough Innovation, through which he advises corporate and governmental leaders; MBDC, which helps companies engage with Cradle to Cradle® design and practice; and his architecture practice, William McDonough + Partners. In 2009, he co-founded the non-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to create a global standard for the development of safe and healthy products. McDonough and Stanford University Libraries have teamed up to create a comprehensive, real-time approach to archiving the McDonough collections, which include paper and digital material. The libraries will use the digital components to create a set of open-source archival technologies that will allow creators, archivists and selected contributors to actively collaborate; he will be the first "living archived" person for the Libraries.

Cradle to Cradle is a registered trademark of MBDC.

For information about McDonough Innovation, contact Michelle Amt, Chief of Staff, mamt@mcdonough.com (or visit the web site).

SOURCE McDonough Innovation