William McDonough is a world-renowned architect and designer, recently recognized as one of the 50 World's Greatest Leaders of 2019. Throughout his career, he has been considered a global thought leader in the articulation of design for Sustainable Development. He is recognized as a pioneer of the concepts of Cradle to Cradle Design™ and the Circular Economy notably co-authoring Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002), widely recognized as a seminal text of the circular economy design movement, and its follow up, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance (2013).
He advises world leaders through McDonough Innovation and leads the architectural firm William McDonough + Partners as well as MBDC, developers and assessors of products for Cradle to Cradle Certification™. He co-founded the Sustainable Packaging Coalition in 2009 and currently works with companies on reusable, recyclable, compostable and recoverable packaging. He also co-founded Fashion for Good, a joint-industry initiative aiming to transform the global apparel chain into a force for good.
McDonough received the inaugural U.S. Presidential Award for Sustainable Development in 1996 and the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2003. For the World Economic Forum, he chaired the inaugural Global Meta-Council on the Circular Economy (2014-2016) and in Davos received the Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership in 2017. From 1999-2009 he was the U.S. Chairman for the China-U.S Center for Sustainable Development.
He has been teaching at Stanford University since 2004 and previously was the A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University (1999-2004) and Dean of the School of Architecture and the Edward E. Elson Endowed Chair at the University of Virginia (1994-1999).
Time magazine recognized him as a “Hero for the Planet,” noting: “His utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.”