Cities and the circular economy
This topic area looks at the role cities play in the transition to a circular economy.
All three cities have been working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to drive solutions over the last three years. The partnerships will focus on supporting key city priorities that can accelerate their circular transitions and unlock valuable economic, environmental and community benefits.
"We are very happy to welcome Glasgow, Porto and Phoenix to the Foundation’s Network. The circular economy presents a clear framework to tackle the root causes of global challenges like climate change, material consumption and waste. Cities are critical levers in driving system change way beyond their boundaries. As future-facing cities with rich industrial heritage, Glasgow, Porto, and Phoenix can be a leading light in reimagining how we produce and consume resources and ensure our urban centres are more inclusive, resilient and thriving.”
- Jocelyn Blériot, Executive Lead for Cities, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
As part of its legacy as host of COP 26, Glasgow set the goal of becoming a circular city by 2045. Glasgow City Council worked alongside the Foundation to develop its Circular Economy Route Map which sets out a framework and action plan for Glasgow’s circular future. The partnership will enable Glasgow to support activities on circular construction, textiles, and neighbourhood renewal and regeneration. Circular Glasgow, an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, will also be part of the city’s partnership with the Foundation.
”Being invited to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a fantastic opportunity for the city. The charity will work with us in different ways including continuing to help us promote the idea of a circular economy in Glasgow and developing research for the council and stakeholders to use in decision making. They will also convene key urban decision-makers towards action and demonstration projects, for the city to be involved in. The Foundation will support us by providing access to circular economy experts, other network members and access to best practice, from all around the world. This partnership is a progressive move towards our ambition to become a circular economy by 2045.”
- Councillor Angus Millar, Climate Convenor, Glasgow
The circular economy is a key strand of Porto’s long term municipal environment strategy. Its roadmap to a circular city 2030, published in 2017, set out ambitious activities to build a more regenerative and resilient local food system, while also empowering Porto entrepreneurs to seize circular business opportunities. The partnership will focus on supporting the city’s pioneering food work, developing a network of repair hubs, as well as circular buildings and construction.
“In 2019, Porto was one of the focus cities on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's study “Cities and Circular Economy for Food”. From that moment, the cooperation with EMF has been an important landmark in our work, providing inspiring examples and giving access to specific knowledge related to the Food system, Construction and Demolition Waste and regenerative businesses. The renewal of this partnership is a recognition from both sides that working in a circular economy is fundamental if we want to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, as stated in the Porto Climate Pact. It is also an opportunity to integrate more citizens in the decision making process, transfer tools and projects to the society in general and cooperate with internal and external stakeholders in order to create a regenerative, just and distributed economy aligned with the ecological capacity of the region.”
- Filipe Araújo, Vice Mayor of Porto
The circular economy has been central to the City of Phoenix’s environmental and sustainability goals since as early as 2013, when the city’s Reimagine Phoenix initiative set a goal of 40% diversion by 2020 and "zero waste" by 2050. By establishing innovative partnerships, providing business training, and doubling down on citizen engagement, Phoenix is on track to reach its zero waste goal by 2050.
By partnering with Arizona State University under the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network (RISN), the city was instrumental in helping to launch the first circular economy business incubator in the United States (known as the RISN Incubator). To date, the companies that have gone through the incubator program have raised more than $3.7 million, generated revenues in excess of $4.1 million and created more than 68 jobs and 55 student internships.
The Foundation’s partnership with Phoenix will be centred around the city’s procurement, food and construction work as well as the ongoing collaborations with Arizona State University.
“As the first municipality in the United States to partner with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), Phoenix has experienced first-hand the benefits of connecting and collaborating with other emerging innovators, government agencies, academic institutions and corporations across the globe. As Phoenix develops a Zero Waste Plan to chart the steps to its goal of zero waste by 2050, this access to global expertise will ensure we’re equipped to capitalize on economic development opportunities and creative solutions for a circular economy. We are excited to continue this partnership and build upon the great work we’ve accomplished.”
- Kate Gallego, Mayor of Phoenix