An opportunity to demonstrate the potential of circular design

By Joe Iles, Circular Design Programme Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Photo by Josh Power on Unsplash

Announced by Ursula Von De Leyen in 2020, The New European Bauhaus has the chance to connect two acts of the European story in the 21st Century: the moment we are in, and the future we want to inhabit.

The former sees us grappling with myriad interwoven and complex problems, aware of opportunities for innovation and progress but frustrated by the scale and pace of change. The latter can be characterised by the notion of redefining value creation by adopting a circular economy: a framework for an economy that is…

Five circular design stories from Latin America

By Milena Lumini, Latin America Content Coordinator, and Victoria Almeida, Latin America Communications Manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Photo by Danilo Alvesd on Unsplash

From lush tropical rainforests in Costa Rica, through the savannah-like Brazilian Cerrado, all the way down to the Patagonian glaciers, the Latin America and Caribbean region is rich and diverse in natural landscapes and resources. The region contains 40% of global biodiversity and half of the world’s tropical forests including its largest, the Amazon, home to one out of ten known species.

However, it also presents high rates of deforestation and intense resource exploitation. Driven by demand for commodities, Latin America has positioned…

Large companies are leveraging circular design to transform their businesses. This is how IKEA and DS Smith are doing it.

By Alice Bodreau, Strategic Partners manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Over the past decade, design has been recognised as a force for change by organisations large and small. From creating innovative products to launching disruptive business models or transforming entire companies, design methodologies have been embraced to tackle corporations’ strategic challenges and a user-centric approach has been recognised to deliver results.

But designing for users isn’t enough. Organisations today face mounting expectations. They have to keep delivering excellent user experience and remain relevant and innovative, while also recognising and addressing their role in global challenges, including climate change and biodiversity loss…

Redesigning how we make and use buildings to reach net-zero emissions

Written by Tansy Robertson-Fall, Senior Editor, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and designed by Fanny Breteau, Senior Graphic Designer, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

Bill Gates’ latest contribution to the climate change debate has received mixed reviews. Regardless of your perspective on the multi billionaire’s role in the discussion, however, Gates highlights an important question that should, as he says, be at the heart of every climate conversation: “what’s your plan for cement?”

You might be asking yourself why cement should be a primary concern when such a huge proportion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from energy. …

What makes a good climate change conference?

By Carmen Valache-Altinel, Project and Communications Manager: Climate Change, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash

These days, it seems like not a day goes by without news of yet another country, company, city or another institution committing to ambitious climate targets in a bid to keep the rise in global temperature below 1.5 degrees. A key impetus behind the flurry of climate-focused activity this year is the much-anticipated COP26. Scheduled to take place from 1-12 November, this edition of the Conference of Parties (COP) is expected to deliver a concrete pathway for the world to move from statements to action when it comes…

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…

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.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store