circular economy design film sustainability

Ellen MacArthur on the ‘circular economy’

Famous for her sailing records, Ellen MacArthur has given up competitive sailing to focus on sustainability. Here’s a video campaign for a ‘circular economy‘, a cradle to cradle ethic that stewards resources as carefully as you would on a solo round the world yacht race.

More information on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website.


  1. The important part is that on the sailing boat all energy is provided by nature. For me a symbol of wastefulness actually is the use of liquid soap in plastic bottles. It leaves me entirely cluess what the consumer’s advantage should be over the classic soap bar. It is more expensive, more artificial stuff in there, it is sticky and gooey, it lasts shorter and costs more. But stisl – around the world plastic soap bottles can be found en masse in every bathroom (wherever people do have bathrooms). But I digress. Circular economy is nothing really new. It strikes me as a merger of recycling and steady state economy. The sailing boat metaphor has one weakness: the sailing boat itself and everything on it was produced using other resources and energy from outside the sailboat-system. This is not comparable to a global economy with a fixed solar energy influx and a fixed amount of resources. The metaphor has an inherent problem with its system borders, so to say.

    1. Yes, it’s not a perfect metaphor, but it was enough to get MacArthur thinking about it, and I guess she’s going to trade on what she’s famous for. The circular economy is nothing new, but progress towards it is very slow and I think this is a good campaign. Their starting point is talking about sustainability in schools, I believe.

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