Introduction to the
Cradle to Cradle DesignSM Framework
McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry
Introduction to the Cradle to Cradle DesignSM Framework
The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis
by using the same thinking that created the situation.
– Albert Einstein
The Cradle to Cradle DesignSM Framework is a revolutionary approach to the
redesign of human industry based on the conviction that thoughtful design,
mirroring the safe, regenerative productivity of nature, can create an industry
that is sustaining, not just sustainable. In short, the Cradle to Cradle Design
Framework embraces the pursuit of maximum value (economic, ecological,
and social) through the practice of intelligent design. It is the foundation of an
emerging world in which all human industry is designed to celebrate
interdependence with other living systems, transforming the making and
consumption of things into a regenerative force.
"…a unified philosophy
that—in demonstrable and
practical ways—is changing
the design of the world."
– Time, 2 Feb. 1999
2. The Cradle to Grave Legacy
The Industrial Revolution launched a period of human endeavor in which the
development of new technologies improved the lives of many of the world’s
people. Advances in the affordability of energy and transportation,
mechanization and mass production, and communications and information
technologies have yielded a host of benefits for industrialized societies.
Yet for all the good that came with the Industrial Revolution, its unintended
negative consequences are becoming more apparent all the time.
• Pollution of air, water, and soil from billions of pounds of waste
• Reduced cultural and biological diversity
• Complex environmental and health regulations
• Prosperity measured by activity (GNP, etc.), not legacy
• Degradation of traditional social fabric
• Wide-spread poverty
• Tons of valuable materials lost each year to incineration