Five ‘universal’ circular economy goals launched for policy development

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has published a set of Universal circular economy policy goals to create a common direction of travel in policy development for a faster transition to a circular economy.

As governments and businesses pursue a resilient recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, the circular economy policy goals detailed in the paper can offer solutions to key global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, whilst delivering economic development. 

The Foundation worked with an extensive group of representatives from across its global network of businesses and policymakers to create five Universal circular economy policy goals :

  • Stimulate design for the circular economy
  • Manage resources to preserve value
  • Make the economics work 
  • Invest in innovation, infrastructure, and skills
  • Collaborate for system change

Work by the Foundation has shown that moving to a circular economy – in which waste is eliminated, products and materials are kept in use, and natural systems are regenerated – can play a pivotal role in tackling climate change, while delivering new opportunities for better growth.

However, for this to happen, there is a need for greater alignment between industry and government, and the Foundation therefore calls on businesses and policymakers at all levels to work together and align with these five goals as the basis for a society-wide transition to a circular economy. Global adoption could catalyse private sector innovation and the development of solutions that can be deployed and scaled rapidly around the world.


Jocelyn Blériot, Executive Lead Institutions, Governments, and Cities at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said: “We have seen rapidly growing recognition around the world that the circular economy is critical to meeting the SDGs, tackling climate change, and delivering better growth.

“To seize those opportunities and reach scale quickly, it is now crucial to foster far greater policy alignment. The universal circular economy policy goals have been created to support that alignment, setting a clear direction that can help governments as well as the private sector build healthier economic recoveries.”

Contributing their thoughts and best practice on how to align on using the circular economy as a solution, the World Bank and Inter IKEA Group will participate as panellists during the paper’s online launch, via The Circular Economy Show, 15:00 GMT, 2nd February.

The universal circular economy policy goals have been created to support that alignment, setting a clear direction that can help governments as well as the private sector build healthier economic recoveries.

Steven N. Schonberger, Director for Sustainable Development Europe and Central Asia Region, The World Bank, commented: “The new policy goals publication from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation provides exactly what is needed by governments to take the circular economy from concept to practice. I have already found these goals extremely useful in discussions with a range of countries and stakeholders who want to put the circular economy at the centre of their Covid recovery and longer term sustainability agenda.”

Roberta Dessì, Public affairs, Inter IKEA Group, said: “Adoption of circular business models calls for a contribution of many players together creating systemic change. For IKEA, it means transforming the complete value chain; how and where we meet our customers, how and what products and services we develop, how we source materials, and develop the IKEA supply chain.

“This is not something we can accomplish alone. The Universal circular economy policy goals as described by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and its partners pave the way for our business and other businesses, governments, and NGO’s alike, to jointly address the great opportunity circularity presents. This is one of the key steps in finding a common starting point and alignment in advancing this exciting agenda.”

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