Michael Braungart, born 1958 in Schwäbisch Gmünd, studied chemistry and process engineering in Constance, Darmstadt, Hanover, and Zurich. In the 1980s he became involved in the environmental organization Greenpeace, assisting from 1982 with the establishment of the chemistry division, which he took over in 1985. In the same year he earned his PhD in chemistry at the University of Hanover.
In order to develop solutions to complex environmental problems, Greenpeace founded the environmental research and consulting institute EPEA in 1987. Since then Braungart has been engaged in research and consulting for eco-effective products - i.e. products and production processes whose materials enter biological and technical cycles, i.e. do not cause waste but are nutrients for new products (today known as "Cradle to Cradle").
In 1994 Michael Braungart became professor of process engineering at Leuphana University Lüneburg, where he now holds the professorship "Cradle to Cradle & Eco-Effectiveness". Since autumn 2008 he has also taught at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. After first occupying the "Cradle to Cradle" chair at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) he took up the specially established chair for "Cradle to Cradle Innovation & Quality" at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) in 2011. Braungart also holds the "Cradle to Cradle Design" chair at the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands. After corresponding activities in the USA and Great Britain, he currently holds a guest professorship for building technology at the TU Delft in the Netherlands.
Michael Braungart is founder and scientific director of the international environmental research and consulting institute EPEA (headquartered in Hamburg). He is co-founder and scientific director of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) in Charlottesville, Virginia (USA), co-founder and scientific director of the Hamburg Environmental Institute (HUI) and head of Braungart Consulting in Hamburg.
- The Upcycle (with William McDonough), 2013
- Die nächste industrielle Revolution: Die Cradle-to-Cradle-Community (co-edited with William McDonough), 2008
- "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things" (with William McDonough,) 2005
Awards and decorations:
- World Technology Award for Design and Fellow, The World Technology Network, October 8th, 2004
- Environmental Trailblazer, Interior & Sources magazine, 2004
- Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award U.S. Environment Protection Agency, 2003
- Design Sense Award for Climatex©Lifecycle™, Design Museum, London, 2000
- German Environmental Management Association (BAUM e.V.), Environmental Award for Sustainability in Germany, 1999
- Heinz Endowment recipient, 1995 – 1999
- Utne Visionary Award, 1995
- Tox Center, Munich, Environmental Award, 1994
- Océ-van der Grinten Award, 1993
- W. Alton Jones Foundation Fellow, 1993
- Schweisfurth Foundation, Research Award for Ecological Economics, 1992
- John J. McCloy Fellowship, 1988
- German Marshall Fund Scholarship, 1987
- Unilever Research Fellowship, 1980