Michael Braungart

Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart is a chemist and widely known for his work with the Cradle to Cradle design concept, which he developed together with the American architect William McDonough. As founder of EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH (1987 in Hamburg, Germany) and co-founder of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (1995 in Charlottesville, Virginia) he has pushed forward the implementation of Cradle to Cradle by promoting innovation, positivity and quality in product design. Michael Braungart also co-founded the Hamburger Umwelt Institute (HUI) in 1989, a non-profit scientific research institute focusing on environmental solutions.

“Let’s be good instead of just less bad.”

His commitment for environmental protection started in the early 1980s as a scientific advisor and expert for federal authorities, cities and municipalities, primarily as part of the investigation committee on hazardous waste for Lower Saxony. Braungart managed the set-up of the department of chemistry for the non-profit organization Greenpeace and supported the establishment of the Greenpeace office in Germany, while he received his Ph.D. at the University of Hannover at the Department of Chemistry in 1985. From his work at Greenpeace, which revealed environmental problems to large parts of the population, the need for solutions was reinforced.

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“We must understand the past 40 years of discussion about “the end of the world” as an opportunity for innovation to start redesigning our products.”

To find specific solutions to complex environmental problems, the EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung was founded in 1987. Braungart started to analyze products and processes and, in collaboration with companies, to replace harmful with positive ingredients. The “Intelligent Product System” created by Braungart and the EPEA scientists formed the basis for the Cradle to Cradle design concept, which was published in the bestselling book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things” co-authored by William McDonough in 2002.

For his work with Cradle to Cradle and his scientific achievements Braungart has received various Awards.

“There are hundreds of creative talents, including numerous young designers, who want to redesign products and who increasingly want to be proud of their work.”

Since 1994, except for work-related periods of absence due to his work at EPEA, he is a professor at Leuphana University in Lüneburg (Germany) and currently holds the chair for Ecodesign at the Institute of Ethics and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research.

As a visiting professor at Delft University of Technology at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (since 2011) Braungart collaborates with Prof. Peter Luscuere  on a Cradle to Cradle laboratory in which students from different faculties participate.

In the past Prof. Braungart held a professorship at

  • Erasmus University Rotterdam (2009-2011: Academic Cradle to Cradle chair at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), 2011-2017: Academic Cradle to Cradle Chair for Innovation and Quality at the Rotterdam School of Management)
  • Munich University of Technology (Cradle to Cradle Elements for Buildings at Faculty of Architecture, 2012-2016)
  • University of Twente (Academic chair: Cradle to Cradle in Industrial Design Engineering, 2010-2015)

and as a visiting professor at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (2012-2015), Bauhaus University (Correspondence course: Environment/Ecological Construction, 2007-2011), University of Wales (Cardiff School of Art and Design, 2008-2009), University of Virginia (Darden School of Business, 2002-2005) and Carnegie Mellon University (Green Design Institute, 1993-1998).

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“The next industrial revolution needs healthy materials, otherwise we make the wrong things perfect and then they are perfectly wrong.”

Get to know Michael Braungart in the “Changemaker” documentary (broadcasted in September 2016), which gives insights into his work with the Cradle to Cradle design concept.

Please find more information about Michael Braungart, his events and speeches at www.braungart.com