Ellen MacArthur Foundation

What is a circular economy?

Looking beyond the current “take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital.

Our mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Since its creation the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, establishing the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers across business, government and academia. With the support of its Core Philanthropic Partners SUN, MAVA and People’s Postcode Lottery and Knowledge Partners Arup, IDEO, McKinsey & Company and SYSTEMIQ.

The Foundation’s work focuses on five interlinking areas:

Developing the vision, skills and mindsets needed to transition to a circular economy

The Foundation emphasises interdisciplinary, project-based and participatory approaches, encompassing both formal education and informal learning. With a focus on online platforms, the Foundation provides insights and resources to support circular economy learning, and the systems thinking required to accelerate a transition.

Business and Government
Catalysing circular innovation and creating the conditions for it to reach scale

Since its launch, the Foundation has emphasised the real-world relevance of the circular economy framework, recognising that business innovation sits at the heart of economic transitions. The Foundation works with its Global Partners (Danone, Google, H&M, Intesa Sanpaolo, NIKE Inc., Philips, Renault, Solvay and Unilever) to develop scalable circular business initiatives and to address challenges to implementing them.

Insight and Analysis
Providing robust evidence about the benefits and implications of the transition

The Foundation works to quantify the economic potential of the circular model and develop approaches for capturing this value. Our insight and analysis feeds into a growing body of economic reports highlighting the rationale for an accelerated transition towards the circular economy, and exploring the potential benefits across stakeholders and sectors.


Systemic Initiatives
Transforming key material flows to scale the circular economy globally

Taking a global, cross-sectoral approach to material flows, the Foundation is bringing together organisations from across value chains to tackle systemic stalemates that organisations cannot overcome in isolation.

Engaging a global audience around the circular economy

The Foundation communicates cutting edge ideas and insight through its circular economy researchreportscase studies and books. Through digital media it reaches audiences who can accelerate the transition, globally. The Foundation aggregates, curates, and makes knowledge accessible through Circulate, an online information source dedicated to providing unique insight on the circular economy and related subjects.


Learn more about their mission to accelerate the transition to a circular economy here:

Ellen MacArthur Foundation Links

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Matthew Luscombe

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