The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was founded in 2010 by Dame Ellen MacArthur. The Foundation is based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of the United Kingdom and currently employs 175 people covering 23 distinct nationalities. Most employees are based in Cowes, with smaller teams located in Belgium, Brazil, China and the United States of America.
Our charitable objectives are -
To promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment and the prudent use of natural resources; and
To advance the education of the public in the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment and to promote research in such subjects for the public benefit and to disseminate the useful results.
The Foundation is a registered charity in the United Kingdom and EMF USA is a 501(c) (3) incorporated organization in the United States of America.
Our vision is an economic system that delivers better outcomes for people and the environment. Business models, products and materials are designed to increase use and reuseThe repeated use of a product or component for its intended purpose without significant modification., replicating the balance of the natural world, where nothing becomes waste, and everything has value. A 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., increasingly built on renewable energyEnergy derived from resources that are not depleted on timescales relevant to the economy, i.e. not geological timescales. and materials, is distributed, diverse and inclusive.
Transitioning to a circular economy does not only amount to adjustments aimed at reducing the negative impacts of the linear economyAn economy in which finite resources are extracted to make products that are used - generally not to their full potential - and then thrown away ('take-make-waste').. Rather, it represents a systemic shift that builds resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits. It offers a strong innovation and competitiveness strategy fit for the long term.
Mission, Aspiration, Approach and Outcomes
The Foundation’s international mission is ‘to accelerate the transition to a circular economy’.
To achieve this mission in North America, we have set an aspiration to ‘Scale the understanding and adoption of the bigger idea in North America through a focus on innovation across network, policy, and communications’ through 2025. We leverage our reach, access, insights, tools and people in service of this aspiration.
Our approach comprises three complementary and mutually reinforcing areas of activity underpinned by a common mindset:
We develop and promote the idea of the circular economy: We create evidence-based original research on the benefits of a circular economy, and how it can contribute to solving global challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss. We explore the opportunities across stakeholders and sectors and highlight examples of how circular economy principles are being put into practice today. We support organizations and individuals with formal learning opportunities through our circular economy courses and create resources for teachers and academics.
We engage – and inspire – key actors in the system: To achieve the transition to a circular economy, we need to engage all parts of the system. Therefore, we work with businesses, international institutions, governments, cities, universities, non-governmental organizations, innovators, and many others. We create resources that help set effective policies, find new ways to do business and design better products. Our Network brings together leading corporations, emerging innovators, affiliate networks, government authorities, regions, cities and more. The goal is to build circular economy capacity, address common barriers to progress, understand the necessary enabling conditions, and pilot circular economy practices.
We mobilize systems solutions at scale, globally: To tackle some of our biggest global challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss, we’ll need to create a systemic shift in the way we produce and use products and food, across sectors and industries at a large scale. To demonstrate what’s possible, we’ve concentrated our work on areas where shifting to a circular economy can have the biggest impact. We currently focus on: Plastics, Food, Fashion, Finance, Cities
Our mindset: We do things differently. We look at the big picture while tackling the intricacies of the system. We carefully frame, we continually analyze, and we share stories to engage and inspire. We convene the myriad changemakers - from multinationals to emerging innovators - who play a crucial role in redesigning and shifting the system. We promote a new vision, set a new direction, raise the bar and shine a light on the leading examples of what is possible.
Based upon this mission, aspiration and approach, we have established four key outcomes for our work in North America through 2025:
Drive US corporates toward circular economy leadership
Bend the national innovation narrative towards circular economy investment, remanufacturing and emerging innovators
Leverage momentum in Federal and State policy to bring the US to the forefront of the international community on circular economy
Establish EMF USA as the national reference point on the circular economy and refocus the US circular economy narrative towards the bigger idea that the circular economy is built on three principles, driven by design - eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature.
Further information can be found at www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org