William McDonough is an architect and a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. He was the inaugural chair of the World Economic Forum's Meta-Council on the Circular Economy and currently serves on the Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security. For more than 40 years, McDonough—through McDonough Innovation, William McDonough + Partners, Architects, and MBDC—has defined the principles of the sustainability movement.
McDonough has written and lectured extensively on design as the first signal of human intention. He was commissioned to write The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability as guidelines for the City of Hannover’s EXPO 2000, and he is co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002), and its follow up, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance (2013).
Most recently, McDonough shared a New Language for Carbon, which illustrates of a values-based terminology that recognizes carbon as an asset, rather than a toxin, and the life-giving carbon cycle as a model for human designs.
McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003), and the National Design Award.
More recently, he and received the 2017 Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership in Davos, where he was introduced as “the father of the circular economy.” 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.”