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Type: Interview

Meet the CCRI stakeholders: Ellen MacArthur Foundation (Associated Partner)

Published on 07.05.2024

As one of the CCRI’s Associated Partners, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation brings invaluable expertise, knowledge and guidance to the initiative in a fruitful collaboration. Supporting cities to transition towards a circular economy and accelerating the transition has been its goal for many years. This month, the Foundation’s Institution Lead, Sarah O’Carroll, explained the context of the partnership and shared the actions the Foundation plans to take as part of the CCRI in 2024.

Countries: EU-27, United States, China, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico

What experience do you have relating to the implementation of Circular Systemic Solutions at regional and local levels?

For several years, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been at the forefront of efforts to support cities in their transition towards a circular economy. Through its global community of cities and collaborations with international institutions and networks like the CCRI, the Foundation aims to accelerate this transition by fostering knowledge-building and knowledge-sharing mechanisms.


The Foundation has cultivated deep expertise in areas critical to urban circularity, such as the built environment, consumer products, and food systems, as showcased in its "Circular economy in cities: Opportunity & benefit factsheets." Complementing this, "Circular economy in Cities: An overview of urban policy levers" offers a strategic approach with 10 policy levers for cities to implement and accelerate their local circular transitions. Additionally, it has explored the role of finance in enabling the circular transition and the connections between the circular economy and pressing political priorities, such as climate change and biodiversity loss

Readers can view the Foundation’s work on cities:

What attracted you to be an Associated Partner of the CCRI and what are you hoping to achieve by engaging in the Initiative?

The CCRI has a unique ability to unite cities and regions across Europe, supporting their transitions towards a circular economy because of its positioning within the European Commission (Directorate General for Research and Innovation). Through partnerships with the EIB's Circle City Centre initiative and the OECD, the CCRI addresses common local government challenges like technical expertise, financing, and enabling governance.


As an Associated Partner, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation contributes expertise, guiding the CCRI's initiatives and knowledge-sharing efforts. This partnership enables sharing Europe's best circular practices globally via the Foundation's cities community while disseminating global learnings back to Europe.


Crucially, the CCRI's institutional connections allow sharing opportunities and challenges with key European Commission services, like the department for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG-GROW) and the department for the Environment (DG-ENV), which interface with national governments. This could facilitate aligning circular economy efforts across governance levels.

What actions and inputs do you plan to take as part of the CCRI in 2024?

The Foundation will focus on leveraging our expertise and resources to support the initiative's goals of accelerating the circular economy transition at the urban and regional levels.


We will continue to:


  • contribute our knowledge and thought leadership through participation in CCRI workshops, events, and knowledge-sharing platforms;
  • share insights, case studies, and best practices from our work with cities and governments worldwide, facilitating cross-pollination of ideas and solutions;
  • provide strategic guidance to the CCRI's initiatives, drawing from our policy frameworks, as well as our experience working with international institutions, national governments, city governments and network organisations; and
  • disseminate the CCRI's resources, tools, and learnings through our global community of cities and policymakers, amplifying their reach. 

CEAP2 key product value chain

built environment, CEAP2 key product value chain

CEAP2 key product value chain

e.g. B2B services

including bio-based economy

Target audience

e.g. B2B services

e.g. chemicals, textile, ceramics, glass, cement, steel, bio-based industries

Type of territories involved

large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

predominantly urban regions, intermediate and predominantly rural regions, refer to TERCET typology NUTS 3 region

large metropolitan area >1.5 million, metropolitan area 1.5 million-500 000