I came across this story in Made to Stick. In 1993, Bill McDonough, an environmentalist and Michael Braungart, a chemist were hired by the Swiss Textile manufacurer Rohner Textil,which produced textiles for Steelcase chairs to create a manufacuring process without using toxic chemicals. As McDonough says in
"... we designed a fabric safe enough to eat. The manufacturing process uses no mutagens, carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, heavy-metal contaminants or chemicals that cause ozone depletion, allergies, skin desensitization or plant and fish toxicity. We screened 8,000 commonly used chemicals and ended up with 38. When inspectors measured the effluent water, they thought their instruments were broken. The water was as clean as Swiss drinking water. A garden club started using the waste trimmings as mulch. Workers no longer had to wear protective clothing. And it eliminated regulatory paperwork, so they've reduced the cost of production by 20 percent."
Braungart and McDonogh went on to build MBDC,a product and process design firmto promote and power the next 'Industrial Revolution" though intelligent design. More about their programmes can be found in the article by Nicolas Boullosa at faircompanies site. From Boullas article:
"With its headquarters in Charlottesville (Virginia, USA), MBDC was founded to work with any business that asks for its help in employing strategies of product and process design based on eco-effectiveness, ideas developed in Cradle to Cradle.
The American company divides its activity into distinct areas: consulting on the design of products related to eco-effectiveness; education and training based on the ideas developed in its philosophy; and strategic consulting related to the environment for large firms.
Surprisingly, given the radicalness of the change proposed by eco-effectiveness, McDonough and Braungart don't seem to have problems finding clients or large-scale projects. MBDC has worked, since its birth in 1995, in the integration of the regenerating ideas of Cradle to Cradle in projects of BASF, BP, S.C. Johnson, Nike, Ford Motor Company, Visteon, Volvo, Herman Miller, Victor Innovatex, Designtex, Rohner Textil, Pendleton y Miliken & Co.
MBDC has created a certification, C2C Certification, for those products that accomplish the criteria established by the consultancy's "environmentally-intelligent" design concept. "