Comment on Portland Leading Sustainable Growth.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on June 5, 2007

Bob makes good points on my post on Portland. Here they are:

“Although I applaud these initiatives (obviously), I think you’re slightly off the mark in linking them to McDonough and Braungart’s philosophy of “Cradle to Cradle”.

Nau states on their sites that their goals include “low impact” “maximum efficiency”. The same could be said for the water-saving tap. Trees on the other hand don’t have a low impact, they have a positive effect. They’re not eco-efficient (far from it), but “eco-effective”, to put it in McDonoughs words.

So kudos to the people in Portland for stepping up to the plate and trying to reduce their environmental impact, but they’re still doing it through the old “reduce, re-use, recycle” method, they haven’t really adopted the Cradle to Cradle paradigm as far as I can tell.”

Good points, all. I think Portland is building an eco-culture that has many parts, most of them non-McDonough.
My sense of Nau is that they are trying to change the way fabrics are made and processed—change the chemistry—to make them more sustainable. Check out the piece done by Heather Green for the I&D channel on Nau.

Reader Comments

Bob

June 5, 2007 9:19 PM

Wow. Thanks. Wasn't expecting that.

Anyhoo, Heather's article is a good read. It sheds some more light on Nau's design approach (they're not too clear about it on their own site): "the aim is to make the entire clothing line compostable or recyclable". Now that sounds a lot more like "waste is food" :-).

Maybe they should partner up with Interface and/or Rohner Textiles, fight the good fight together.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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