Cradle to cradle

‘From grain to drink’ and ‘from sand to customer’ are familiar slogans in the total overview of a supply chain that certainly appeals to the imagination. Architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart are now introducing the variant ‘cradle to cradle’. The two authors argue that many products may be recycled, but because the next product is often of a lesser quality, the process is really ‘downcycling’.

This small book gives a clear explanation of terms like eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness, with the five guiding principles that Nike uses in this respect. The authors also often refer to the world of ants, an often-used source of inspiration for an efficient supply chain, as an example of a population whose density and productivity do not constitute a problem for the rest of the world. The book uses the examples of Greenport Venlo and participation of DSM. Michael Braungart expects that, considering the individual-minded approach of the west, the cycle-oriented theory will sooner become popular in Asia rather than in Europe.