The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is an independent charity with the purpose of inspiring people to re-think, to re-design and build a sustainable future.

Key objectives:

– To provide a framework for change through inspirational content, education programmes and communication.

– To help seed the future economy with people with the knowledge and skills to build the sustainable future.

– To engage with industry and showcase what is already happening in this area and challenge the status quo.

The Foundation puts much emphasis on “systems thinking”, the understanding of a phenomenon within the context of a larger whole; to understand things systemically literally means to put them into a context, to establish the nature of their relationships.

Like The Open University in their primer on systems thinking, the Foundation agrees that it “is the key literacy that we need for the future.”

We offer a contemporary framework for thinking* based on taking insights from living systems and applying them to energy and resource flows in the economy to produce restorative cycles of development.

The Foundation shares and promotes discussion and debate around a simple and coherent approach which brings together contemporary understanding in science (non-linear systems), participatory teaching and learning and the development of a circular or closed loop economy based on insights from living systems.

(* variously described as a design philosophy around quality, a ‘cradle to cradle’ approach, or a ‘circular’ or ‘closed loop’ economy)

Who the Foundation works with:

1   Educators, students and other key stakeholders
Schools and FE colleges (14-19 age range) and Higher Education. Our focus is primarily design and technology, business, economics and enterprise; the work related curriculum and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), but also other subjects that have a direct link to business sustainability and promoting creative and critical thinking skills.

2   Businesses in sectors key to the UK’s future ability to operate sustainably.

3   Media and creative communications individuals and organisations who help articulate and share understanding of the framework more widely in society