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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an international charity, was launched in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economyA systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. It is based on three principles, driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature.. We develop and promote the circular economy in order to tackle some of the biggest challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. We work with our network of private and public sector decision-makers, as well as academia, to build capacity, explore collaborative opportunities, and design and develop circular economy initiatives and solutions. Increasingly based on renewable energyEnergy derived from resources that are not depleted on timescales relevant to the economy, i.e. not geological timescales., a circular economy is driven by design to eliminate waste, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature, to create resilience and prosperity for business, the environment, and society.
What is the circular economy?
Looking beyond the current take-make-waste extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is built on three principles, driven by design:
Eliminate waste and pollution
Circulate products and materials (at their highest value)
Watch the circular economy animation
Read more about the circular economy concept
View the circular economy diagram
What examples exist of the circular economy in practice?
Circular economy initiatives are already being implemented by very different organisations around the world. View our circular examples to see the circular economy in action.
Why did Ellen set up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation?
Learn what triggered Ellen's exploration of the circular economy and led to the launch of her Foundation in 2010, by watching Ellen MacArthur's TED conference talk.
Where can I find Ellen MacArthur’s biography?
Ellen MacArthur’s short biography below is suitable for media articles. If you need additional details, please contact us.
Dame Ellen MacArthur made yachting history in 2005, when she became the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe. She remains the UK’s most successful offshore racer ever, having won the Ostar, the Route du Rhum, and finished second in the Vendée Globe. She received the French Legion of Honour from President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, three years after having been knighted by HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Having become acutely aware of the finite nature of the resources on which our linear economy relies, she retired from professional sailing to launch the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2010. The Foundation works to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, and has helped establish the subject on the agenda of decision makers around the world. Since the publication of its first economic report in 2012, the Foundation has launched global initiatives on plastics, fashion and food, developed innovation networks with educators, businesses, and governments, and released more than 20 reports and books. Dame Ellen is a World Economic Forum Global Agenda Trustee for Environment and Natural Resource Security, and she sat on the European Commission’s Resource Efficiency Platform between 2012 and 2014.
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You can use our content if you follow these guidelines: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is providing its content on the basis you will respect its rights under copyright and other intellectual property law. You may use; adapt; copy; and/or translate the Ellen MacArthur Foundation content provided on its/our website only for educational or personal use, to further the Foundation’s charitable objectives i.e. to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. You must acknowledge that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is the source of the original content by ensuring the correct form of the copyright notice is marked on any use, adaptations, copies or translations of all, or part, of that content. We also ask that you make it clear in your accreditation that it is an unofficial translation by yourselves and you do not suggest or imply that the content has been endorsed or approved by us.
General website content: Copyright © Ellen MacArthur Foundation (YEAR), www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org Publications: Copyright © Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Title in italics, page reference, (YEAR) You must not use the content provided to you by EMF in any commercial way or commercially exploit it in any way; use that content for any purpose other than to pursue a fair understanding of the circular economy; interpret or adapt the content in a way which contradicts or perverts its original intent; use that content for any illegal purpose; licence that content; sell that content; rent that content; lease that content; and/or assign or transfer your rights in that content.