Design and Decision Making: Backcasting Using Principles to Implement Cradle-to-Cradle
Freek van der Pluijm
+31 6 437 55 123

 Augusto Cuginotti

 Karen Marie Miller



Cradle-to-cradle is a concept with a compelling vision.  This paper explores the strategic implementation of cradle-to-cradle and suggests backcasting using principles as a systematic way to support decision-makers when implementing cradle-to-cradle.

In order to achieve a regional system in which all material flows can be either part of the biological or part of the technical metabolism, a societal infrastructure needs to be in place that is designed for this intent.  The optimal design of a societal infrastructure based on the cradle-to-cradle metabolisms is a discussion that is only just about to start.  Concurrently, strategies need to be developed to support the transition towards this infrastructure.  Tools need to be developed to support entrepreneurs and community builders for their efforts in making their contribution of the transition  towards a cradle-to-cradle infrastructure.

This approach integrates science-based and value-based principles as an asset to support the process of backcasting using principles.  The process of planning in a complex system such as a sustainable region has to take into account both its natural and social aspects.  Natural principles are taken from scientific studies while social principles are based on stakeholder engagement and a social consensus on common ground for the envisioned future. Scenarios, when developed within principle-based boundaries can be creatively designed.  The framework allows flexibility for decision-makers to take mid-course corrections.  The authors have defined their research topic based on numerous discussions with key change agents in the Netherlands - researchers, entrepreneurs and policy makers.  Informed by an analysis of the cradle-to-cradle concept through the lens of strategic sustainable development they have applied this process in a workshop to support the development of the Province of Limburg towards cradle-to-cradle.

Full Paper (.doc format, 365.0 kb)

9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Thursday, June 26, 2008, Oral

The Netherlands, 2008 Meeting