What if caring for the planet involved creating “footprints to delight in, not lament”? This is the invitation of William McDonough and Michael Braungart, founders of circular economy framework Cradle to Cradle.


When it comes to the planet’s future, much of the focus is on what not to do: minimise, reduce, avoid. But what if there was another way – based on positive actions that benefit the natural world? From this perspective, our potential to create positive change looks radically different.

This mindset shift is the foundation of Cradle to Cradle, a circular economy framework that aligns science and design. First introduced in the 1990s by architect and designer William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, the philosophy is set out in their 2002 book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things”, which shares three principles for putting thinking into action:

  1. “Everything is a resource for something else”: Nothing goes to waste in nature. Every element can be used to nourish something else – whether through nutrients biological or technical.

  2. “Use clean and renewable energy”: Make the most of our world’s abundant natural power sources – wind, water, sun – that self-sustain and keep humans healthy.

  3. “Celebrate diversity”: Find your niche by designing in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the specific conditions of your natural and cultural environment.

In 2005, a new branch of the Cradle to Cradle ecosystem emerged to encourage the innovation of products that benefit people and planet: a certification programme based on a rigorous set of environmental and social criteria – healthy and waste-free materials, renewable energy and water, and social responsibility – across the brand ecosystem, from raw materials to product development and packaging. In December 2021, our Bananatex® fabric received the Cradle to Cradle Certified® gold standard, affirming the contribution of its natural, social, and environmental attributes to our planet’s future.

If you’re keen to know more, pick up a copy of the book or watch William McDonough’s call to action, see what it takes to get certified, and learn more about how we’re lifting the bar with Bananatex®.

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