President and Founder, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute
Bridgett Luther has served as president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute since its inception, in which she played a major part. In her previous job as director of the California Department of Conservation — appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 — Bridgett was keenly aware of the gap between the collection of millions of tons of recycled cans and bottles and their actual reuse. She also gained firsthand knowledge of the colossal expense of monitoring California’s thousands of toxic waste sites. No surprise, then, that she took it upon herself to hand out copies of William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s breakthrough book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things to her colleagues throughout state government. “I saw we were chasing problems at the end of the pipe,” she says. “We wouldn’t have these challenges if we designed products properly at the start. As Bill and Michael say, we have an opportunity to move from a strategy of tragedy to an enduring strategy of hope.
As president of the Institute, Bridgett leads both the administration of the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Products Program and advocacy of its adoption by designers, manufacturers, major brands, and their suppliers worldwide.
During her tenure in Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration, Bridgett oversaw a budget of $1.4 billion and 700 employees in 14 offices around California. She was responsible for a wide variety of programs, including the California beverage container recycling program, the Land Resource Protection program, which protects California’s rich agricultural land and tracks changing land-use patterns, the California Geological Survey, which studies and maps earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes, and the Bureau of Mine Reclamation, which cleans up mines left over from California’s Gold Rush days while ensuring the safety of new mines.
Ms. Luther moved to California from Charlotte, North Carolina, where she helped create a recycling education program. She also led a $220 million bond campaign to acquire land to protect the region’s water quality, and organized campaigns to create neighborhood parks and ball fields. She helped found the Carolinas office of the Trust for Public Land, one of the nation’s largest national land preservation organizations.
Bridgett was appointed by USEPA Director, Gina McCarthy, to the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), and serves on the Advisory Council of the Vancouver Zero Waste Council. She was a 2013 recipient of the Healthy Child, Healthy World’s “Mom on a Mission”, is a Huffington Post contributor, member of the Northern California Chapter of the USGBC, and has taught classes at Presidio Graduate School for Sustainability and University of California- Berkeley Haas School of Business. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University; lives in San Francisco with her husband and has two grown children.