Friday, November 7, 2008

CFAN Regional Gathering in Amsterdam (1) - Cradle to Cradle

The Change Facilitation Associates Network (CFAN) started its Regional Gathering in Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam with reconnecting and discussing the renewal of the vision of the network. The President of CFAN, Tanja Vermeer, presented a fresh approach to our vision describing our dual focus of learning/sharing and serving the world.

It is now afternoon, we are listening to a presentation of Hanke Mauser from Be Beneficial on a concept called Cradle to Cradle. She starts by talking about the issue of hunger, as she was working for The Hunger Project. 853 million people are suffering from chronical hunger. She than refers to Story of Stuff from Anne Leonhard and to the need to increase ecoefficiency in order not to hit the brick wall. But this is just the first step that she proposes.

Cradle to Cradle is a concept that focuses on holistic quality principles and on eco-effectiveness:

  • Waste equals food
  • support human and environmental health
  • use solar income
  • celebrate diversity

Is this a new concept? I am not convinced. We have been talking about circulation of nutrients and eco-design for more than 10 years. the difference is obviously that here, eco-effectiveness is built into the design. There are new businsess models behind: consumers don't buy technical devices like washing machines but kind of lease them, paying for washing hours instead for machines. The producers have to take care of the product life cycle, extracting nutrients and feeding them back into the cycle.

In their book Cradle to Cradle, the authors McDonough and Braungart argue that the conflict between industry and the environment is not an indictment of commerce but an outgrowth of purely opportunistic design. The design of products and manufacturing systems growing out of the Industrial Revolution reflected the spirit of the day-and yielded a host of unintended yet tragic consequences.

The Cradle to Cradle concept has been implemented by many international companies, and also in model villages in China.

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