Go Back

William McDonough

Chief Executive, McDonough Innovation

William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable design and development. He co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002), widely recognized as a seminal text of both the sustainability and the Circular Economy design movements.

Through McDonough Innovation, McDonough advises commercial and government leaders worldwide on ESG, sustainability, Circular Economy, and design of products and facilities. He has worked with CEOs from companies such as Ford Motor Company, Gap, Google, Herman Miller, Hero MotoCorp, Proctor & Gamble, Starbucks, Unilever and Walmart.

He is also an architect with William McDonough + Partners, a firm known for having designed notable landmark buildings in the sustainability movement. Through his third firm, MBDC, he co-created the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Products Program and co-founded the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, which administers the program today. The product standard is recognized by the world’s leading retailers, including Amazon, Home Depot, Walgreens and Walmart.

He has been active with the World Economic Forum for 25 years and served as the inaugural chair of WEF Meta-Council on the Circular Economy. In 2016, McDonough articulated a “New Language for Carbon” for human use as living, durable and fugitive carbon in the journal Nature as “Carbon is Not The Enemy.” He articulated the Circular Carbon Economy as a design framework at G20, 2020 and is developing a granular approach to applying Circular Carbon Economy principles to products.

McDonough has co-founded not-for-profit organizations, including the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, GreenBlue and Fashion for Good, a joint-industry initiative aiming to transform the global apparel supply chain into positive change. McDonough will be launching the McDonough Institute in 2023. This institute will gather learnings, support talented individuals, develop critical innovation and accelerate planet- and people-positive sourcing and resourcing.

Time magazine recognized him as a “Hero for the Planet” and in 2019 Fortune magazine named him one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

More Members

Keep current with us.

Stay in the know with the latest sustainability, ESG and climate insights, plus be the first to learn about program updates and events.