Search the Sustainable Brands Library

The Circular Economy Imperative - Ellen MacArthur

In this 6-minute video, Ellen MacArthur, the Founder of the United Kingdom-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation, discusses the importance of utilizing resources, and the finite nature of the current linear economy. She explains the idea of the circular economy, its benefits, and why we must begin to transition towards it.

“The circular economy is a fundamentally different economic model. It's taking the entire global economy, looking at it through a different lens, and saying, 'how can we valorize our economy to a higher level?'” MacArthur explains. “Never at any point would anything made within a circular economy become waste - everything would be designed so the materials within them can ultimately be valorized, but they can also be kept at their highest utility at all times.”

MacArthur provides a brief overview of the economic rationale for transitioning to a circular economy, by discussing raw material price volatility and corporations' desire to increase efficiency.

“One of the things that really struck me on my journey of learning was just looking at basic resource prices,” she says. “Look at the commodity indexes over the last 100 years: we saw that price come down for a century, and then in just 10 years, those raw material price decreases were just wiped out. The problem is those prices have more volatiliy in them than we've ever seen before in history.”

She also speaks about achieving systemic change, and concludes with recommendations for leaders.

This video was produced as part of a series on the circular economy by the World Economic Forum, which also featured:

For more insights on the shift to circular models, keep an eye out for the registration link for our next Sustainable Brands webinar with McDonough in our series “Upleveling the 'Circular' Conversation - Fireside Chats with William McDonough,” scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, 2016 between 10am and 12pm Pacific Time.

  Sign up for SB Newsletters
Get the latest personalized news, tools, and virtual media on a wide range of sustainable business topics in your inbox.


User login



Click a term to initiate a search.

Media Type