5 things we can learn from Ellen MacArthur about the circular economy

On our journey towards a more sustainable future, visionary individuals have played a crucial role in shaping our understanding and commitment to the principles of the circular economy. One such notable figure is Ellen MacArthur, a world-renowned sailor turned circular economy advocate.

Through his passion for sailing and his commitment to preserving the environment, MacArthur has become a leading voice in promoting circularity. Let’s explore the valuable lessons we can learn from Ellen MacArthur’s journey and her contribution to the circular economy.

Embrace the power of circularity

Ellen MacArthur’s sailing career exposed her not only to the awe-inspiring beauty of our oceans, but also the profound impact waste and pollution have on these delicate ecosystems.

Inspired by her experiences at sea, she recognized the urgent need to transition from a linear economy, characterized by the take-make-throw principle of the linear economy, to a circular economy that aims to eliminate waste and prioritize resource renewal.

Through his work, MacArthur emphasizes that circularity is not just a theoretical concept; it is a tangible path to a more sustainable future.

Understand the limits of finite resources

MacArthur’s passion for sailing and spending extended periods at sea taught her an important lesson about finite resources. In the great ocean, it becomes clear that our planet’s resources are not unlimited.

Through the circular economy, she advocates to reconsider our production and consumption patterns in order to minimize resource depletion and reduce the negative impact on the environment.

Ellen MacArthur’s message serves as a stark reminder that our current linear methods are simply not sustainable in the long run.

Promote collaboration and innovation

Ellen MacArthur recognizes the complexity of the challenges posed by waste and pollution, and emphasizes the importance of cooperation between governments, businesses and individuals.

She founded the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2010, which serves as a platform for dialogue and innovation to drive the circular economy agenda.

By encouraging stakeholders to work together, she highlights the potential for breakthrough solutions that can help us move to a circular model.

Redefining economic growth

One of the most important aspects of Ellen MacArthur’s advocacy is the need to rethink the traditional understanding of economic growth. While the linear economy focuses on continuous consumption and increased production, it often overlooks environmental costs. In contrast, the circular economy model promotes a regenerative approach, where materials are reused, repaired and recycled.

By adopting this circular mindset, we can reduce waste, save resources and create new economic opportunities.

Inspire individuals to take action

Ellen MacArthur’s journey from a sailor to a global advocate for the circular economy serves as a powerful inspiration for individuals to act. Her story shows that anyone, regardless of background, can make a significant difference in promoting sustainability.

Whether it’s making conscious consumption choices, supporting circular businesses or getting involved in local initiatives, MacArthur shows that collective action is the key to creating positive change.


Ellen MacArthur’s dedication to sailing and her commitment to sustainability have turned her into an influential advocate for the circular economy. By embracing the principles of circularity and inspiring individuals to take action, MacArthur gives us invaluable insights into our journey towards a more sustainable future.

As we sail forward, let us heed her wisdom and work together to create a world that nurtures and preserves our precious planet.

Read about the Ellen MacArthur Foundation