Ellen MacArthur and The Circular Economy

CIRCULAR ECONOMY ELLEN 3 AND 4 250313m

Gosh, it has been a while since I posted here huh?! Not to say I’ve been idle! Simply a case of ‘too many online platforms and not enough time to update them all’. I’m looking into Social Media Management to solve this. Meanwhile, you can always go to my Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/JennySoepDrawingTheExperience to find out what I’m up to as that’s a pretty regular post for me. You get to see/join all the intriguing/inspirational events I’m either drawing at or know about. Unfortunately there still is only one of me, and lots of things happening in Stockholm, Scotland and everywhere else!

One of the most inspiring projects I’ve been involved with recently was for a presentation by the celebrated world record holder Ellen MacArthur who is renowned for being the fastest person to sail round the globe on her B&Q Trimaran. She retired from competitive sailing back in 2009 to focus on her new challenge – to facilitate society at large to cross-over from a linear economy to a circular economy, in a more responsible and inclusive approach to living on this beautiful planet.

She talked about how her experiences in the challenges of round the world sailing, she learned to exist efficiently, valuing all her resources, and learning that when rations ran out, there was no replacing them. She has applied this knowledge in setting up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in a bid to educate, facilitate and support the turnaround of companies, education and general ways of thinking to a more global friendly practice.

I was involved in the conference by pre-illustrating concept posters for the organisers, drawing on the blackboard behind Ellen moments before she started her talk, and also drawing throughout her talk, along with the panel afterwards. I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity, not to mention excited and inspired at what I learned. I do feel I witnessed something life-changing.

I learned that no goal is too big, and that achieving your ambition can simply be a combination of tiny steps. I learned that there are more and more companies turning to this circular economy, making them more valuable and investable since they will be able to survive the companies that cling to a linear model. So too, I discovered that this isn’t just a hair-brained habit-change – it’s fundamentally going to save on everything – finance, raw materials, energy, jobs, not to mention community engagement.

There are companies that have revolutionised packaging material including plastic bags that melt in warm water, and alternatives to polystyrene moulds.  Ricoh Printers are designing their machines to be recoverable and re-manufacturable, making it cheaper to buy machines that have the same warranty and quality as the initial ones, but have used less energy.

What’s becoming more common is that business are leasing their products so that all you need to be concerned about is the service they provide – lighting companies who pay for the electricity and product, making sure that your work is well lit using energy efficient light-bulbs. Another concept is leasing washing machines so that basically you pay for the washes, not the machine, and the production company will renew your machine when it needs it. See a pretty neat animation on this concept here.

You can see all the docu-drawings and notes I took during those fascinating two hours on my Facebook page ‘ Jenny Soep Drawing The Experience‘, plus please do look at The Ellen MacArthur Foundation for more entertaining animations, visuals and information.

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