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Trending: New Curricula to Teach on Circular Economy, Sustainable Fashion and Building Design

The Schmidt MacArthur Fellow at the 2016 Summer School hosted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, through a separate academic outreach initiative. Applications for the 2017 fellowship program opened on October 31. | Image credit: Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Apparel company Kering has launched a new curriculum to help fashion students understand the environmental impacts of their designs, just days after the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) partnered to embed systems thinking and circular economy into the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum across Europe.

Kering has introduced a new aspect to its long-standing partnership with New York’s The New School’s Parsons School of Design, which will add new modules to the school’s fashion programme tailored to developing sustainability within the fashion sector. The partnership will see student analyse the impact that fashion has on the environment, using a smartphone app and Kering’s Environmental Profit and Loss methodology – which quantifies and measures footprints in the company’s supply chain.

“My EP&L illustrates the power of an Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) analysis and will assist fashion designers to easily calculate better options in real time in order to embed sustainability into their products at the very beginning of the design phase,” Kering’s head of international institutional affairs Marie-Claire Daveu said. “As part of our ongoing commitment to advocate the importance of sustainability with the next generation entering our industry, we are excited to expand our Parsons collaboration with a view to sharing My EP&L with further educational institutions following the pilot.”

By using the app, students can compare how material choice, sourcing and manufacturing techniques can impact the footprint of jackets, shoes, handbags and rings. The leading 10 students that use these decisions to create sustainable fashion products will have their designs displayed at upcoming exhibitions.

The modules with be offered to students in three senior Systems & Society Thesis sections and two Materiality Thesis sections.


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) is looking to reach students even earlier. Typically taught at the high school level, IB curriculums are currently being studied by 1.3 million people across the globe. Under the new partnership with the EMF, IB will provide teachers and students with resources that educate on circular economy. From 2017, the new Diploma Programme in geography course will feature aspects on closed-loop models.

“The link with education is clear. We need an entire generation of young people and adults alike thinking differently, thinking in circular ways. At the moment our economy is predominantly linear: we take a material out of the ground, we make something out of it and ultimately that product, in the most part, gets thrown away,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur. “Circular thinking means considering from the beginning of the process of designing a product, how to design it to fit within a system, and how the materials it contains will be recovered after use. So it’s an entirely different approach, and in order to apply this at scale across the global economy we need to think differently.”


Meanwhile, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute will be hosting a series of workshops this month to educate leaders in the built environment on design methodologies, material health programs, product and systems innovations, and a new definition of waste.

Five workshops – one in each of Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco – will be hosted between November 7 and 16, 2016 as part of the “Built Positive Workshop Series.” According to the C2C Institute, each 3-hour interactive workshop is designed to help participants identify new opportunities to add value to their projects while bringing project values to life. Participants will investigate and develop concepts for design, use, disassembly, and reuse that are fundamental to creating positive material flows and realizing positive outcomes for people, planet, and business.

Each workshop will also feature real-world examples from companies and will be followed by a reception. Workshop participants will receive AIA, IDCEC, and GBCI continuing education credits.


Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]


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