William McDonough is an American architect and advisor, and the co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance. He is a globally recognised leader in sustainable development and the Circular Economy.

Although he is trained as an architect, his interests and influence cover a wide range of topics. He likes to refer to these interests as “working at scales from the global to the molecular”.  

He is the founder of William McDonough + Partners, and co-founder of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), alongside the  German chemist Michael Braungart.

McDonough's career has focused on improving both the environment and society by designing materials, systems, companies, products, buildings, and communities that continuously improve over time, and more importantly, by making his designs work with nature instead of against it.

He is trying to get rid of the paradigm that we need to exhaust the world’s resources in order to create meaningful and valuable design. His inspiration comes from examining closely how nature works and analysing how we can replicate its continuous regeneration of material and resources. After all, nothing in nature is ever wasted.

McDonough is the architect of many recognised flagships of sustainable design, including the Ford Rouge truck plant in Michigan; the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College; and  NASA’s Sustainability Base, one of the most innovative facilities in the federal portfolio. He currently leads and chairs the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy.

Listen to the Cradle to Cradle concept here: