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Prior Overview

Mon., Nov 14, 2005

Cradle to Cradle Design In Practice

EcoEffective Products and Business Strategy as if the Earth Matters

Session Overview:

  • Steve Gerrish, based in Seattle, WA, represents Michael Braungart's firm, EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH (partners in McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry,, will speak about Cradle to Cradle design & certification and touch on C2C business principles and benefits.
  • Jeremiah Ridenour, president of WISE Directions LLC, a petroleum replacement company that sells a complete line of high-performance, biodegradable lubricants, corrosion inhibitors, bio-based cleaners and more, recapturing used oils and remaking them into lubricant products when it makes sense.
  • Daniel Robin, Managing Director, Integrated Investments Int'l (, a venture catalyst and investment firm commercializing sustainable technologies, including renewable energy, bio-based materials, and other "clean technologies."

Panelists will provide an overview of the current state of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) designs, from products to "closed loop" business models that turn products into "products of service" in continuous never-ending loops. We will also explore the issues and opportunities, including standards and design criteria as drivers to reaching mainstream acceptance of C2C solutions in the marketplace.

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Program Agenda:

NETWORKING AND ARRIVALS; 6-6:30p; Speaker presentations will be followed by an interactive discussion of the main issues, technologies, potential solutions and opportunities.

  1. Daniel Robin moderates: Introductions and Themes: "Cradle to Cradle" (C2C) product design, business models, and Certification.

  2. Steve Gerrish - what is Cradle to Cradle Design and how does it work in practice?

    NETWORKING BREAK, 7:30-7:45p (approximate)

  3. Jeremiah Ridenour will introduce WISE Directions and discuss what problems it solves, why the company uses non-GM material, and what the company stands for.


Time permitting, those who attended will share highlights and observations from Co-op America's Green Business Conference and Green Festival in San Francisco, and from a C2C materials conference, "Commercializing Bioresins 2005," held recently in Atlanta, GA (, where companies from all over the world told their stories about the long and winding road to commercial acceptance of biodegradable plastics, and how C2C designs bring strong economic and competitive advantages.

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Themes and Discussion Questions:

(1) What's new here? What's the "big deal" of thinking and designing "Cradle to Cradle" (vs. Cradle to Grave)?

(2) How do C2C designs help create a sustainable economy? What's the potential for "doing well by doing good" (making money while reducing or eliminating environmental and health risks)? Does it have economic advantage, or does it, like many "environmental" approaches, cost money to be green?

(3) What's the difference between a C2C product design (built with "environmental intelligence") and C2C business models (where technical and natural "nutrients" are recirculated in a virtuous cycle, where there is no waste)?

(4) What is the status of the MBDC work as perceived by the mainstream? Is there a bridge built between the "business as usual" mainstream and the more progressive, conscious business world? What would it take to build one?

(5) What has helped businesspeople to shift from linear, "cradle-to-grave" thinking into the cyclical cradle-to-cradle approach? What works, what doesn't work?

(6) How can we eliminate our dependence on imported oil and usher in a new era of energy independence and security?

(7) What can we do to make a difference and promote the advantages of biolubricants and C2C designs?

What are your interests? CSN is structured as a self-organizing system, so your views and interests will help shape this and future sessions. Contact us with your ideas!

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Useful Links and Resources:

If you're unfamiliar with "Cradle to Cradle" business, which has the potential to become a truly sustainable form of capitalism, check out

Speaker and Presenting Company Backgrounds

Steve Gerrish is responsible for identifying industries and organizations suitable for Cradle to Cradle Design™ project opportunities, and for project management. Steve has a background in business development, marketing and sales. For EPEA, Steve is a satellite representative of EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH, Michael Braungart's* science, chemistry, and design based company consulting with North American customers to develop products and manufacturing processes that are safe for human health, the environment, and the customers economic health. Duties include the identification of industries and organizations suitable for Cradle to Cradle Design™ opportunities, and project management. Prior to EPEA, Steve was business development manager for Schober, Inc where he managed product development, website, advertising, sales and marketing for a new venture product line called Lumicor (, which encapsulates textiles, metals, natural foliages, wood veneers and imagination into high performance resins). Steve was responsible for identifying and managing strategic partnerships including 90+ outside sales representatives, developing international network of material distributors, trade show and event management, developing fabrication, specification, product testing data, sales training, and marketing literature for international product launch. During his time at Schober, he helped increase sales from $0 to $4+ million annually. Steve is based in Seattle, WA.

* Michael Braungart is co-founder and principal in MBDC McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, L.L.C. and co-author, with green architect William McDonugh, of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things (2002). MBDC works with major industrial producers, such as Nike, Shaw, and Ford on issues of materials assessment, waste and energy balances, life-cycle design, and designing for disassembly. He is also active in designing new products, and was instrumental in the creation of the compostable fabric line Climatex® Lifecycle™. If you haven't already seen it, be sure to view the 55 minute film The Next Industrial Revolution.

Jeremiah Ridenour, CEO & Founder of WISE Directions, is an experienced entrepreneur and brand-builder. Jeremiah is one of the founders of Wildwood Natural Foods Inc., where he was named CEO in 1993. Jeremiah brings deep business operations experience, selling and negotiation skills, as well as knowledge of contracting for large-scale specialty agricultural crops. With this strong background in the natural products industry, Jeremiah brings a keen awareness of the preferences and attitudes of channel partners, distributors, brokers and retailers. Throughout Wildwood's 20-year history, he has successfully demonstrated his ability to envision and execute complex development plans, including the design and construction of manufacturing facilities. Mr. Ridenour has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Eastern Michigan University and resides in Corralitos, California.

Daniel Robin, CSN co-founder and executive director, brings more than 20 years Board leadership, financial and venture development experience to clients. Daniel is principal of Daniel Robin & Associates, a leadership consulting and training firm established in 1985 (, and managing director of Integrated Investments International ( Daniel is also partner in SustainabilityWorks with Sharon Sarris and Gam Dias, specializing in sustainability reporting systems and training. Daniel received his bachelors in Computer & Information Science from University of California at Santa Cruz, completed advanced studies in Marketing and International Business (UC Berkeley), and earned certificates in coaching and conflict resolution, with master's level/trainer certificates in NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) and public speaking.

Integrated Investments Int'l (In3) is a "venture catalyst network," specializing in clean and sustainable technology, product and service commercialization. In3 assists investors and companies with reaching their goals through market trends and strategy consulting, investment match making, team development, training and coaching.

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