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Jon Snow challenges Ellen MacArthur on the circular economy

November 14, 2011

Jon Snow, Channel 4 Newscaster talks to Dame Ellen MacArthur about the circular economy and rethinking the future, in a short film looking back on the first year of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Challenging Ellen on the fundamental principles of the Foundation’s mission – to inspire a generation to re-think and re-design for a positive future – Jon investigates the circular economy as a framework for change and questions the actual implementation and impact of such a model on business. With over 5 years of research and a full year of the Foundation under her belt, Dame Ellen is well placed to handle these testing questions and to make a strong case for the circular economy framework. The circular economy is a different business model. It’s a different way of looking at the system as a whole. We know our future doesn’t work long term, but within a circular economy it does. In a circular economy, by-products become food for another cycle thus eliminating the notion of waste. Instead of a take-make-dispose economy powered by fossil fuel energy products are designed by intention to fit within a materials flow powered by renewables. With the focus clearly on engaging with its key audiences – business and education – the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has accomplished a considerable amount in its first year. Over 800 16-18 year olds participated in Project ReDesign, a series of 5 hands-on workshops on the circular economy, around the UK, hosted by Ellen, and 24 students took part in week-long internship programmes in business with the Founding Partners – B&Q, BT Cisco, National Grid and Renault. The beginning of September saw the start of the first Post Graduate course on the circular economy, run in collaboration with the University of Bradford. Going forward education remains at the heart of the Foundation’s aspirations that include developing resources, supporting their dissemination and building links with universities and academic institutions. The ultimate aim is to ensure that young people leaving education have the necessary skills and perspective to realise the opportunities of re-designing their futures. Watch the film below, and inspire others to re-think the future by sharing through Twitter and Facebook.