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Growing from Cradle to Cradle

Diana den Held is a strategy consultant in the Netherlands who's been working with Michael Braungart's EPEA organisation to scale up the adoption of Cradle to Cradle as the basis for design and procurement at nation-scale.

In this useful article, Diana interviews Braungart and unpicks some of the questions that perplex others, around how to accelerate speed and adoption of this important approach. One good question she asks Braungart is "Could you name a few examples what the government effectively could set out?". The apparent simplicity of his responses belies the complexity of achieving the results:

· Make a plan to encourage that within 5 years all the paper used at government, whether it is a newspaper or cardboard, will be suitable to enter the biosphere. Then, the entire industry will change.

· Encourage that in 10 years the indoor air in a city building will be better than the outdoor air.

· In five years no more chemicals will be used that can be found in mother’s milk.

· Encourage the building of plants that makes healthy and safe children’s toys.

· Within 3 years, set up a program that encourages the textile industry to make clothing suitable for wearing on one’s skin.

Encourage the building of schools and daycares to be set up with materials that keep the indoor air healthy, so that the chance of illness is lessened.

Set up a work method where within 10 years we make the earth fertile again instead of only using it up. (Currently, we lose 5000 times more than what we create.)

In every city indicate a neighbourhood where as of now all new houses get green roofs, so that the air in the cities becomes cleaner.

Setting SMART targets for sustainability is something that government and business need to do more - and getting the general direction right first is key. Braungart's comments are a great start.


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