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

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was established in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the 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:


Inspiring learners to re-think the future through the circular economy framework

The Foundation has created global teaching, learning and training platforms built around the circular economy framework, encompassing both formal and informal education. With an emphasis on online learning, the Foundation provides cutting edge insights and content to support circular economy education, and the systems thinking required to accelerate a transition.

Our formal education work includes Higher Education programmes with partners in Europe, the U.S., India, China and South America, international curriculum development with schools and colleges, and corporate capacity building. Our informal education work includes the global, online Disruptive Innovation Festival.

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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.

The Circular Economy 100 programme brings together industry leading corporations, emerging innovators, affiliate networks, government authorities, regions and cities, to build circular capacity, address common barriers to progress, understand the necessary enabling conditions, and pilot circular practices, in a collaborative, pre-competitive environment.

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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.

The circular economy is an evolving framework, and the Foundation continues to widen its understanding by working with international experts, key thinkers and leading academics

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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.

Plastics was identified through initial work by the Foundation with the World Economic Forum and McKinsey & Company as one of the value chains most representative of the current linear model, and is therefore the focus of the Foundation’s first Systemic Initiative. Applying the principles of the circular economy, the New Plastics Economy initiative, launched in May 2016, brings together key stakeholders to re-think and re-design the future of plastics, starting with packaging. Building on the success of this first Systemic Initiative, textile fibres became the Foundation's second material stream focus, with the launch in May 2017 of the Circular Fibres Initiative

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Engaging a global audience around the circular economy

The Foundation communicates cutting edge ideas and insight through its circular economy research reports, case studies and books. It uses relevant digital media to reach audiences who can accelerate the transition, globally. The Foundation aggregates, curates, and makes knowledge accessible through Circulate, an online information source dedicated to providing the latest news and unique insight on the circular economy and related subjects.