With three billion new middle-class consumers projected to enter the global marketplace in the coming decades, it is now widely acknowledged that the global economy of tomorrow will face material scarcity and supply chain insecurity at an unprecedented scale — an inevitable consequence of an industrial era based on a make/use/dispose model. These new realities have galvanized an international community of academia, NGOs, governments and corporate interests to promote new principles to guide future economic decision-making.
In this recent interview, guest editor Adam Werbach and Pavan Sukhdev — leader of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project and author of Corporation 2020 — discuss the shift in thinking, habits and values necessary for the widespread adoption and success of the circular economy, and the "follower-ship challenge" presented by early adopters.
Let’s start with where we are today. The state of the "economy," like the bible or the U.S. constitution, is granted semi-magical powers by most businesses, as if it were carved out of granite, solid and unmoving, never in flux. Yet we all know that the economy — which we'll define here as the system of production and consumption of goods and services within a given region — is ruled by no one, experiences massive upheavals as industries rise and fall, and serves to enrich some people and impoverish others. The economy requires the functioning of natural systems, from the hydrologic cycle to photosynthesis, to function.
In this Issue in Focus, guest editor Adam Werbach and the SB editorial team explore the broad range of radical economic and business-model innovations emerging, through which both startups and some of the top global brands are rethinking the future of business and creating new economic, environmental and social benefits.Discussion question:What do you think are the biggest challenges to overcome in the shift toward a circular economy?Join the conversation!
To prepare for this year's Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) competition, we're catching up with some of our favorite entrepreneurial ventures from competitions past ...In most of the developed world, few of us give much thought to where our drinking water comes from. When thirsty, we need only to walk to the nearest faucet for an endless supply of fresh, potable water. Studies show the average American household wastes 100,000 to 200,000 gallons of water every year, while 780 million people in developing countries lack access to reliable drinking water — about one in nine people on the planet.
Calling all innovators and implementers! In March 2013, Sustainable Brands will launch a new “Issues in Focus” editorial package, including daily features, interviews and case studies on the circular economy as a driver of business model innovation and social good.The Issue in FocusYou can't get a soy latte these days without hearing the words collaborative consumption, the circular economy, crade-to-cradle or the sharing economy. But how are these quasi-utopian concepts becoming real? What implications could they have for the future of business and the economy?
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation today launched the Circular Economy 100 (CE100), a three-year program aimed at bringing together a network of 100 leading companies globally to facilitate development and commitment to new circular economy projects. The CE100 will provide executive education on key themes and emerging trends, share knowledge and new learnings, and identify and develop solutions to common challenges. The objective is that by 2015 participating companies will have triggered circular initiatives that will result in an aggregated economic benefit of $10bn for the businesses involved.
Is there such a thing as sustainable consumption? A new study by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility finds that a majority of consumers across six international markets are seeking to reconcile their desire for shopping and style with responsibility to the environment and society through their purchases.
A team from Seymourpowell, one of the UK’s most established design and innovation consultancies, were thrilled to spend an evening in the company of a select group of motivated Design & Technology teachers, at the recent Tunbridge Wells Teardown Lab led by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. It proved a fascinating evening of new insight and practical hands-on learning.
This article first appeared on edie.net on January 28, 2013.Industrial systems based on circular economy models will be constrained by end-of-life material availability, limiting future improvements in process efficiency, scientists claim. A wider materials efficiency framework is required, they argue — one which encompasses not just circular resource flow systems but mitigation options for industrial carbon emissions and consumer demand.
The consumer goods industry could save $700 billion in materials alone through the adoption of a circular economy, according to a new report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The report also details how land productivity and supply chain stabilitydesigning products so they can be recycled or reabsorbed into the biosphere without toxic residuals.
The Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) announced Wednesday that Kendall-Jackson and parent company Jackson Family Wines, based in Santa Rosa, CA, have joined Green-e® Marketplace after purchasing 36,000 megawatt-hours of Green‑e Energy-Certified renewable energy certificates from NativeEnergy. The purchase covers 100 percent of the total annual electricity needs for Kendall-Jackson's U.S.-based operations. By participating in Green‑e Marketplace, Kendall-Jackson can now display the Green‑e logo to inform its customers of its commitment to clean, renewable energy.