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Changing Consumers to Users Key To Success of Circular Economy

In January, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation released a new animation, focusing on the role of new business models in the transition to a regenerative circular economy.

"The Circular Economy: From Consumer to User" (below) is a follow-up to 2011’s "Re-Thinking Progress: The Circular Economy," a short film that offered an introduction to the circular concept and stimulated discussion around what our future economy may look like. The new video looks in more detail at one aspect of this — what if we didn’t buy the goods we use but instead favoured access and performance over ownership?

The Foundation’s report Towards the Circular Economy: an economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition, released in 2012, estimated that moving to a circular economy could be worth up to $630B USD for a subset of EU manufacturing alone. The report identified four building blocks required in making this shift, one of which is the new business models that will enable to principles of the circular economy to be built into working companies. "From Consumer to User" investigates how these new models might work. Many of us already have a contract that enables us to benefit from the performance of a smartphone. Could a contract for a number of washes, miles or hours of use work for other types of products, for both user and manufacturer?

Innovative business models that accelerate the transition to a circular economy have already been adopted by a variety of companies around the world. The Foundation has identified that showcasing the companies leading this shift is key in demonstrating what is possible within this different framework.

To coincide with the release of "From Consumer to User," the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched a new case study library, which aims to showcase the early signs of the transition already taking place. In this library, the Foundation aims to document the best case studies in this area, to inform, inspire and stimulate research. 

SB Issues in Focus For more on the circular economy as a driver of social and business-model innovation, check out our Issue in Focus: The #CircularEconomy.

Joe Iles is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation [Read more about Joe Iles]


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