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William McDonough

Eden Project Ambassador

William McDonough is a globally recognised leader in sustainable design and development through his work as an architect with William McDonough + Partners and an advisor to global leaders through McDonough Innovation.

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William McDonough's background

William McDonough leads MBDC, the creators of the framework of Cradle to Cradle Certified products. William McDonough has earned the reputation of being “the leading environmental architect of our time.”

He designed the first “green office” in New York for the Environmental Defense Fund (1985) which set the modern green building movement in motion, inspired the formation of the U.S. Green Building Council and established many of the principles and practices that have come to define sustainable design.


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Landmark projects—Herman Miller’s “Greenhouse” Factory and Offices; Gap, Inc.’s Corporate Campus (now YouTube’s headquarters); and Nike’s European Headquarters—were followed by other commissions that have become flagships of 21st century environmental design: Ford’s River Rouge, widely celebrated for its 10-acre “living roof”; NASA’s Sustainability Base, the “first space station on Earth” and one of the most innovative buildings in the federal portfolio; and Park 20|20 in the Netherlands, a new model of mixed-use, transit-oriented, Cradle to Cradle-inspired urban development.

William McDonough is a business strategist for leading global companies, and an advisor to government and international bodies as well as not-for-profits. He was the inaugural Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy (2014-2016), and currently serves on the Forum’s Global Future Council on Biodiversity and the Bio-economy.

He received the Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership during the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, where he was introduced as “the father of the circular economy.”


Photo credit: DuHun Photography