The Toolkit for policymakers sets out a methodology to shape policies that enable circular economy opportunities. This arena of policymaking is still emerging and there is not yet a canon of established, well-assessed policies. Indeed, some of the policies that serve to enable the circular economy were designed for other purposes. However, pioneering policies in this area do exist and served to inspire the team that wrote the report. You can find below a selection of particularly innovative examples.

Case studies

These case studies are designed to provide both inspiration and practical help to policymakers seeking to shape similar policies in their own jurisdictions. They also provide a wider audience with success stories of policymakers enabling circular economy opportunities.

The case studies have been developed in close collaboration with relevant policymakers. As well as explaining the outline of the policy in detail, and information such as impact versus investment cost, each policy is identified by three frameworks developed in the Toolkit report:

  • the policy type;
  • the barriers it is designed to overcome;
  • the value creating activities it seeks to enable.

Insight is provided by the policymakers on the practicalities and on the ground experience of making and implementing the policy, for instance any unexpected successes or challenges encountered. Contact details of the relevant policymakers are listed for those looking to learn more. Some policy examples appear in the Toolkit for policymakers report report, others have been added since publication and the aim is to expand the collection over time into a collection spanning different policy types, sectors and geographies.

Reader's guide

The case studies are presented in a format that makes use of several analytical frameworks developed in the Toolkit for policymakers report. The full benefit of this structure is gained by a reader familiar with the frameworks or one who reads the case studies in conjunction with the relevant sections of the report:

  • Policy types: Figure 7 and Sections 2.2.5 and 2.3.2
  • Barriers: Section 2.2.4
  • ReSOLVE areas: pp21-23, and pp22-27 in the Growth Within report

These frameworks are also available in the Key Exhibits document available for download.

Part of a growing library

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is working to create a searchable, easy to navigate case library that features both policy and business case studies. The case studies presented here will be part of this library and additional cases will be added over time. When upgraded, it will be possible to search the library by using different filters such as sector or value creation area, as well as linking policy case studies and relevant business cases.

Our current repository of case studies on circular economic opportunities, including business cases as well as some additional policy cases (in a different format), is available here.


These case studies do not represent policy advice on behalf of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation or of any government body mentioned.