Michael Braungart (born in 1958 in Schwäbisch Gmünd) a German chemist who advocates that humans can have a positive ecological footprint by redesigning systems which support life. A former Greenpeace activist who once lived in a tree as protest, he is now a professor of process engineering.
Founder of EPEA International Umweltforschung GmbH in Hamburg, Germany, and co-founder of MBDC McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry in Charlottesville, Virginia, Dr. Braungart is currently a professor of Process Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Suderburg (Fachhochschule Nordostniedersachsen), also serving as director of an interdisciplinary materials flow management masters program.
He has also accepted a visiting professorship at the Darden School of Business, lecturing on such topics as eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness, Cradle-to-Cradle design and Intelligent Materials Pooling. Besides these functions, he also holds the Cradle-to-Cradle chair at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
After completing studies in Process Engineering in Darmstadt, Germany, Dr. Braungart went on to investigate the chemical processes of industrial production techniques with the Chemistry Department at Konstanz, Germany. He subsequently lead the formation of the Chemistry Section of Greenpeace International. By the time he completed his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Hannover in 1985, he had assumed leadership of Greenpeace Chemistry.
In 1987, Dr. Braungart founded the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) in Hamburg. At the heart of EPEA is Cradle to Cradle Design, which creates products oriented toward a life-cycle economy.
In addition to his achievements with EPEA, Dr. Braungart also serves as Scientific Manager of the Hamburg Environmental Institute, the non-profit research center which produces the "Top 50 Study". This study ranks the quality of environmentally-sound production of companies within the chemical industry.
Dr. Braungart also works together with American architect and designer William A. McDonough in their product design and development firm, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry. He has initiated scholarly and scientific inquiry into the adverse environmental and physiological impacts of industrially-produced consumer goods.