50 Years Drees & Sommer: Urban Gardening with Cradle to Cradle

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Do you know what Cradle to Cradle is? Have you heard of the circular economy? Drees & Sommer brings these concepts to schools in China. To celebrate our  50th anniversary, we at Drees & Sommer are celebrating by sharing and contributing to the society.  Our Shanghai team went to the German school in Shanghai to pass on the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) concept to the children and carried out urban gardening activities under the C2C principles.

The C2C Principle

Cradle to Cradle is the principle to design and produce things so that they will not be waste after their life span ends, but that they can be beneficial nutrients for other new things. This can be either biological nutrients such as textile, paper, or cosmetics: the products are given back into the biosphere, where biological organisms completely dissolve the product and plants can use the material as their nutrient. Or it can be technical nutrients such as glass, metals or rubber, which can be used by the manufacturer to make ideally the same product out of them (“upcycling”).

This positive design philosophy has a very large scope - it can basically be applied to anything which is man-made and tangible (consists of materials)! It was brought as a green inspiration to the kids at school.

The Theory Lesson 

The event at the German School in Yangpu was divided into two parts, a theory lecture and flower planting activities. In the beginning, we delivered a lecture about the Cradle to Cradle principles along with showing some C2C products to the children to help them understand better. They teamed up in small groups, and each group got a flowerpot for their own use. Then they were given the challenging task to judge the material of the pot against the principles of C2C and write it on a label. The kids were very interested in the topic and asked a lot of questions, which the D&S team was happy to answer.

The Practice

After getting over the theory, the more exciting practical part started. With the help of the teachers and the D&S team colleagues, the kids planted their chosen flowers into their pots and attached the C2C ranking label of the pot material to it. The collection of finished flowerpots added to the colour and vibrance on the campus!

At this event, Drees & Sommer taught the kids that thinking and acting green does not only mean minimization and avoidance, i.e. a less negative footprint:  instead, a clever design according to C2C  enables us to implement the circular economy by leaving a positive footprint. If the enthusiasm of the participating kids is something to go by, looks like this sustainable principle will be etched in their memories!