This week marks the publication of The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing for Abundance, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. It’s their first book since their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, a bestseller that helped change the conversation about designing and manufacturing, envisioning a closed-loop system where every material was returned to the soil, or back into the manufacturing process with no harm or loss of quality.
The Upcycle takes the next step, envisioning what’s possible through a series of “evocations,” as McDonough calls them. (You can read an excerpt here.) The book ties together the impressive contributions McDonough and Braungart have made over the past quarter century, individually and together, toward the goal of re-envisioning commerce.
I took the opportunity of the book’s publication to catch up with McDonough, a longtime colleague and friend, to hear more about this next-gen view of the world of business. The following has been edited for clarity and length.
Joel Makower talks to Bill McDonough about ‘The Upcycle’