You may be a food designer, but you might not know it

By Gaëlle Le Gélard, Circular Design Manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

Like every product, food is designed.

Like most French people of my generation, I grew up eating Petit Ecolier biscuits. They are delicious biscuits draped with a layer of chocolate imprinted with the image of a schoolboy wearing a beret and carrying a basket. You start by eating the corner, then the sides and finish with the chocolate layer. Un délice.

It wasn’t until recently that I realised that those biscuits had been designed. They are the result of a number of intentional decisions taken at the development phase. A…


Perspectives from a pioneer in Anhui province

Picture by Sandeep Swarnkar

In May of 2000, Kunsen Ji arrived in the city of Chizhou, in China’s Anhui province, to investigate progress that was being made towards the establishment of a ‘national ecological and economic demonstration’ zone. Just two years into his post as Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the Anhui Province People’s Congress — a post he would hold until 2006 — Ji had begun exploring the concept of circular economy and what positive impacts it could have on the Anhui region.

During his eight days in Chizhou, Ji says that what touched him the most were the “many rural…


By Ditte Lysgaard Vind for The Ellen Macarthur Foundation

Picture by Tim Wright

Luxurious, high-quality, handcrafted design, built to last, and made to be made again — created using scrap from your local landfill. Doesn’t exactly sound like your traditional premium-product description, does it? Yet, in the not-too-distant future, it might be just that.

One of the core goals of a circular economy is to eliminate waste generation and stop materials from ending up in landfill or being incinerated. This is a task carried out in two different ways. In the medium to long term, we need to, and will, design our way out…


Why data and measurement are key to a circular economy transition

By James Woolven, Editor, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Picture by Jon Flobrant

Measuring financial results, customer retention, productivity, and inventory are all commonplace, but these measurements alone are no longer enough to tell a business whether it will stand the test of time. To be successful, it is becoming increasingly clear that businesses need to consider their social and environmental impact — or else be caught out by changing legislation or left behind by customers. What once could be simply written off as a ‘negative externality’ now has financial implications and has to be central to business strategies. …


What is circular design and why is it at the heart of a regenerative future?

By Simon Widmer, Design Network and Creative Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Photo by Anna Sushok on Unsplash

Look around you. Almost everything you see has been designed by someone. Your chair. The building you are in. Your clothes. And not just physical things, but also all of the services you use and the experiences that make up day to day life. How you order and get your food. The mobility and communication systems that connect you with your loved ones.

There are many definitions of and perspectives on design. Many agree that designing is about creating with intent, about addressing needs, and about moving towards preferred…


Why renewable energy and efficiency alone won’t cut it

By James Woolven, Editor, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Photo by Shyam on Unsplash

Five years ago, the world’s nations gathered in Le Bourget, near Paris, to discuss, draft, and adopt what has since become known as the Paris Agreement. The document, which has been signed by 196 countries to date, became the first global consensus on the need to address the devastating impacts of climate change. It commits its signatories to containing global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, a feat that requires tremendous collaboration.

So where are we now, five years down the line?

Some 192 countries around the world, the emitters of 96%…


By Tansy Robertson-Fall, Senior Editor, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

As the renewable energy sector grows, high-capacity long-life battery storage is fundamental to its success. How these batteries are designed and made will define their environmental impact for generations to come. Creating a circular economy for batteries is crucial to prevent one of the solutions to the current environmental crisis becoming the cause of another.

Photo by Lukas Bato on Unsplash

The renewable energy sector is growing at an exponential rate. In 2020, for the first time, renewables have generated more electricity in the UK than fossil fuels and according to the International Energy Agency solar energy is now the “cheapest electricity in history”. Yet while the capacity of the renewable energy sector is strengthening, renewables still only account for 11% of the world’s primary energy. …


It’s about finding solutions through upstream innovation

By James Woolven, Editor, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The problem of plastic pollution is well documented. If you type it into Google, you get about 180 million results in less than a second. This article is not about plastic pollution. It is about solutions.

Photo by Harrison Broadbent on Unsplash

It is obvious now that we are not going to recycle our way out of this problem and we cannot pull plastic out of the ocean at the rate we are putting it in. Burying it in the ground is not a long-term solution and burning it is just plain wasteful — not to mention highly polluting…


Addressing climate change and biodiversity loss while

By Tansy Robertson-Fall, Senior Editor, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Climate, biodiversity, human health. These pressing global challenges are all connected by one vital sector of the economy: food. More than a third of the world’s land is currently dedicated to food production. How we manage that land impacts levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, whether plants, insects, and animals can thrive, and if people have access to a nutritious diet.

Photo by Nitin Bhosale on Unsplash

While the current food system has supported a fast-growing population and fuelled economic development, productivity gains have come at a cost. Deforestation for…


Two sides of the same coin

By Janez Potočnik

The author was European Commissioner for Environment from 2009 until 2014, and during his tenure initiated the European Resource Efficiency Platform, which resulted in the adoption of the first European Circular Economy Package. A former Minister for European Affairs of Slovenia, Potočnik is today co-chair of the International Resource Panel (IRP), and Partner at SYSTEMIQ, he serves as a special advisor on sustainability to European Commissioner for the Environment & Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius.

There is almost complete consensus that we want an economy which better serves people’s needs, creates better resilience and, in so doing…

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

We work to build a framework for a circular economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. Follow @circulatenews for latest insights.

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