About MBDC

MBDC: Design + Chemistry + Leadership + Innovation

Founded in 1995 by architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart, MBDC has been advocating for endlessly resourceful, Cradle to Cradle approaches, working with companies to intentionally design products which eliminate the concept of waste, use clean energy, value clean water and celebrate diversity for over 20 years. 

MBDC’s services can help you and your organization understand and implement the Cradle to Cradle® Design Framework on multiple levels, from materials and products to corporate leadership and your entire organization.

We are leaders in Material Health Assessments. Our chemists have been providing material and product assessments, down to the parts per million, for over two decades.

We developed the Cradle to Cradle® Design Framework and have inspired and guided companies around the world to remake the way they make things.

We created the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Products Program and donated a license to the Institute to make it available to the public as an independent third party peer reviewed program in order to spur innovation on a global scale.


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Our Philosophy: Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to Cradle encourages us to step back from the routines of daily problem-solving and rethink the frame conditions that shape our designs. Rather than seeking to minimize the harm we inflict, Cradle to Cradle reframes design as a beneficial, regenerative force—one that seeks to create ecological footprints to delight in, not lament. It expands the definition of design quality to include positive effects on economic, ecological and social health. Cradle to Cradle rejects the idea that growth is detrimental to environmental health; after all, in nature growth is good. Instead, it promotes the idea that good design supports a rich human experience with all that entails—fun, beauty, enjoyment, inspiration and poetry—and still encourages environmental health and abundance. Additional Resources about Cradle to Cradle are available here.


Our Approach: The Cradle to Cradle Design Framework

The Cradle to Cradle Design Framework is fundamentally about constantly improving and moving from simply being “less bad” to becoming “more good.” Conventional eco-efficient demand side approaches often simply seek to reduce or minimize damage and shrink your “negative footprint”.  Efficiency is  simply good business. By adding what we call eco-effective supply side approaches and integrating positively defined goals based on Cradle to Cradle values and principles, we are able to direct innovation and leadership towards a “positive footprint”. Learn more about MBDC’s work helping companies apply these principles and work towards a “beneficial footprint” using eco-effective strategies:





1992: Commissioned by The City of Hannover, Germany in preparation for the World’s Fair, EXPO 2000, William McDonough Architects develops a set of principles inherent in sustainable design. The Hannover Principles are intended to inspire individuals involved in design at all levels – products, buildings, communities – to “meet the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability of the planet to sustain an equally important future” – and lay down the foundation for the Cradle to Cradle® Design Framework.

1995: William McDonough (architect) and Dr. Michael Braungart (chemist) establish McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC,LLC). The company was launched when the founders worked together to design a compostable textile, Climatex Lifecycle, for Swiss firm Rohner. (Read more about the development of Climatex Lifecycle.)

2002: McDonough and Braungart publish Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, now recognized as one of the most important environmental manifestos of our time, which includes a collection of stories from the work done at MBDC.

2005: MBDC creates the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program to acknowledge the high levels of sustainability achieved by its clients, and to inspire others to optimize their products and “rethink the way they make things.”

2010: MBDC transferred the certification program to the public with the creation of the non-profit Cradle to Cradle® Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII), which now serves as an independent third-party verifier and administrator of the certificates. The launch of the organization occurred at Google Headquarters with the support of California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

2013: Version 3 of the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM program went into effect as a third-party standard.  William McDonough & Michael Braungart release their second bookThe Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance, on Earth Day 2013.

Today: MBDC is the leading assessor for the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program, working with global companies to bring their products into the forefront of the Cradle to Cradle® and Circular Economy movements.