Coming Together to Address Poverty and Climate Change

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At Earth Day event, architect/innovator McDonough announces a new building concept using Cradle to Cradle thinking and upcycled materials for millions in need.

“This way of building is a harbinger of how we can effect systemic change at scale to provide dignified housing and renewable energy as we address poverty and climate change.”

At the Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day event held Saturday April 18 on Washington D.C.’s National Mall, Architect and innovator William McDonough announced a new concept for affordable buildings he is designing to benefit people in need worldwide.

Timed to coincide with the spring meetings of the World Bank Group and organized by the Global Poverty Project and Earth Day Network, Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day brought McDonough together with scores of other world influencers to mobilize citizens in the environmental and development movements.

McDonough announced a new concept for affordable buildings he is designing to benefit people in need worldwide. “We are calling it the WonderSystem™,” he said, “because it begins with a wide-open wondering about the most appropriate building types and locally available biological and technical building materials for a given culture and circumstance. We are seeking to provide structures that are locally desirable and can be deployed by the people themselves with extreme ease and affordability. This is an exciting manifestation of Cradle to Cradle® thinking for the circular economy with its endless resourcefulness of local culture and human creativity.”

One of the first rollouts of the concept will be shade structures for children’s playgrounds, through a project called WonderShade™. Francisco Suárez, Coca-Cola FEMSA’s Corporate Affairs Officer, joined McDonough on stage to discuss this company’s support of the concept. “We are very excited to work with William McDonough on his Cradle to Cradle and circular economy initiatives,” Suárez said. “Today we announce our commitment to reuse recycled materials such as PET through the WonderShade™ project, which creates and donates shade structures for children's sports fields in our communities. These structures will introduce new building systems that can provide shelter, solar power and internet connectivity; and their benefits will be shared with the small and medium sized enterprises in the communities where we operate generating economic, social and environmental value in Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panamá, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the Philippines.”

According to McDonough, “This way of building is a harbinger of how we can effect systemic change at scale to provide dignified housing and renewable energy as we address poverty and climate change.”

The WonderSystem™ is just one of the many projects that McDonough is working on now to manifest the Cradle to Cradle vision for a positive future. Current activities include the design of factories covered with greenhouses and solar collectors for Hero MotoCorp in India, an extensive Cradle to Cradle-inspired urban development near Amsterdam for Delta Development, innovative products and packaging for some of the largest companies in the world, the preparation of training programs for designers in China, and much more.

Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day event organizers invited McDonough to present his vision for a world of good based on his global leadership in green design and sustainable development. This has included pioneering work in architecture (NASA Sustainability Base, Ford Rouge, and more), educational leadership (former Dean at the University of Virginia School of Architecture and current faculty member at Stanford University), the development of the Cradle to Cradle framework and product certification program and the not-for-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. He also currently serves as the chairman of the Meta-Council on the Circular Economy for The World Economic Forum at Davos.

“Cradle to Cradle design is a way of waging peace through commerce,” McDonough said. “This framework includes safe materials, new business models, clean energy, clean water, social fairness, and its endless resourcefulness is the vital underpinning of the circular economy.”


ABOUT William McDonough
William McDonough, FAIA, Int. FRIBA, is an internationally recognized designer, sustainable growth pioneer, and business strategist. He works at scales from the global to the molecular. Time magazine recognized him in 1999 as “Hero for the Planet,” noting that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.” For more than four decades, McDonough has defined the principles of the sustainability movement (through: McDonough Innovation, William McDonough + Partners, and MBDC). He has created the movement’s seminal buildings, products, and writings. He currently chairs and leads the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy. McDonough is co-creator of the Cradle to Cradle® design framework. William McDonough led the creation of The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability (1992) and also, with Michael Braungart co-authored the influential Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance (2013). McDonough received both the inaugural Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (under President Bill Clinton) and the inaugural U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (under President George W. Bush). In 2009, William McDonough led the founding of the nonprofit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to donate the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program to the public realm. In 2012, the Stanford University Libraries invited McDonough to be the subject of a “living archive” of sustainability and, since then, Stanford has been collecting and archiving all his work and communications in real time for future historians.

ABOUT Coca-Cola FEMSA (BMV: KOF L; NYSE: KOF) is the largest Coca-Cola franchise bottler in the world, delivering close to 4.0 billion unit cases a year. Coca-Cola FEMSA, S.A.B. de C.V. produces and distributes Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, del Valle, and other trademark beverages of The Coca-Cola Company in Mexico (a substantial part of central Mexico, including Mexico City, as well as southeast and northeast Mexico), Guatemala (Guatemala City and surrounding areas), Nicaragua (nationwide), Costa Rica (nationwide), Panama (nationwide), Colombia (most of the country), Venezuela (nationwide), Brazil (greater São Paulo, Campiñas, Santos, the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the state of Paraná, part of the state of Goias, part of the state of Rio de Janeiro, and part of the state of Minas Gerais), Argentina (federal capital of Buenos Aires and surrounding areas) and Philippines (nationwide), along with bottled water, juices, teas, isotonics, beer, and other beverages in some of these territories.

ABOUT the event organizers
The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network works year round with tens of thousands of partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year.

The Global Poverty Project is a registered 501(c)(3) international nonprofit organization whose mission is to end extreme poverty by 2030. The organization works in partnership with other NGOs, business leaders, world leaders and global citizens in its efforts to build the largest movement of people taking actions and calling on governments to support policies that would impact the world’s poor.

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