September 29, 2009

Book: Cradle-to-Cradle Design

I recently read the book “Cradle-to-Cradle,” which is an international bestseller. Brad Pitt was quoted as “one of the three most important books I have read”.

Michael Braungart takes a committed stand against the ethics of renunciation in the German sustainability movement. Against the existing paradigm of eco-efficiency (“fewer pollutants, fewer resources, fewer people”), he sets up a completely new paradigm, that of eco-effectiveness: used, produced, but the right things!

Braungart constantly appears in public and likes to provoke.

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Michael Braungart | Why Less Bad Isn’t Better? from The DO Lectures on Vimeo.

It seems to me that Michael Braungart is much better known internationally than in Germany. What particularly impresses me is that he does something and doesn’t just talk about it. And he knows a lot. He advised Philips, Trigema, Unilever and Henry Miller and worked with them to develop products that not only contain fewer pollutants, but none at all. Airplane seats you could eat, at least in theory. T-shirts that are truly compostable.

There is a very good article about Braungart in the Taz. Critics also have their say here.

The discussion can be summarized like this:

Fewer pollutants are better than many pollutants, say sustainability representatives. Braungart doesn’t go far enough – I still think “less pollutants” is a right step on the way.

Braungart counters this by saying: With a little more thought, we should not produce any pollutants at all, but rather really think in cycles, and in my opinion that is more than just a utopia, but rather the only sensible goal.

Stephan Uhrenbacher

Coach for entrepreneurs, founder, speaker and author

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