Are Nike and Ford actually implementing “cradle to cradle” green technology?

Hey fellow green guys
I’m researching a book set some 30 years hence in a world that’s sustainable, green, and compassionate. Just watched a film
that employs a cradle to cradle concept of waste = food. Anybody have further knowledge on this? Nike and Ford are utilizing, or at least studying, the concept – could this be true? Thanks. Sorry you have to work so hard on this one – it should be worth double karma. L



  1. 0 Votes

    Cradle to cradle technology is based on the idea that everything we create can produce a positive effect on the environment. Architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart were among the first to develop and implement this idea. So is it possible for an automobile company and a shoe company to create a product that positively affects the environment? It is one thing to try not to harm the environment and it is quite a step further to actually be adding something that the environment can use.

    I did find some interesting research about the Ford Motor Company. McDonough signed a contract with the company and suggested they put a green roof on their 16 million square foot factory in Michigan. Because it was so expensive to create, the company was not too elated, until they realized that the cost to comply with the new storm regulations with the US environmental agency was of equal cost. Ford did put the green roof on that factory. “Within 5 days of completion, birds had colonized the green roof, said Braungart”.

    This example speaks to cost. I am finding more and more that economics is so closely tied to environmental protection regardless of whether one is an advocate or not. The real question becomes whether one has enough funding to back up their beliefs. In the case of Ford, they also had an added incentive to put the green roof up; they had knowledge. They had McDonough himself participating in ideas and suggestions that he himself could create. To have someone with environmental knowledge in a team position in a large company or any company for that matter, would produce more green technology.

    As for Nike, in 2010 they launched GreenXchange, a forum for people who have ideas about green technology that can be used for Nike. The ideas can be patented and used in a large arena within the company. The idea is that small ideas that usually produce small products can instead be built upon by others and developed into large quantities and companies to together help the environment.

    I see cost as a major motivation for Ford though it did end in the production of the green roof whereas Nike’s idea is based on knowledge and building knowledge to not only create environmental preservation with the product but to point out the downfalls of using certain products as well. Ultimately the website should build knowledge upon knowledge to find the very best products that sustain our beautiful Earth.

    Hope this helps.

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    I found interesting info about cradle to cradle and the circular economy on the Ellen MAcArthur Foundation website (links below)


    The Ford example is detailed  as well in the second linkā€¦ Hope that helps

  3. 0 Votes

    The shortest answer is, “No”. For the best and most concise definition of cradle-to-cradle sustainability I’ve come across, I’ll refer you to a quick line from Derek Jensen’s and Aric McBay’s honest book, What We Leave Behind: “For an action to be sustainable you must be able to perform it indefinitely.  This means that the action must either help or at the very least not materially harm the landbase.” The book has almost an entire chapter devoted to a rather accurate criticism of William McDonough’s work and phillosophy.

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