Ellen MacArthur Foundation launches circular economy business tool

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) has launched a free digital tool to help businesses measure their progress towards the circular economy.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation logo

Announced yesterday (14 January), the ‘Circulytics’ tool uses company-level data to assess the extent to which a company has achieved circularity across its entire operations, providing feedback that highlights where the business should focus its efforts. Progress is tracked against EMF’s three principles of the circular economy: designing out waste and pollution; keeping products and materials in use; and regenerating natural systems.

Circulytics requires companies to submit their qualitative and quantitative data via an online survey, after which they will receive a bespoke scorecard with a breakdown of their results and an overall circularity score.

Whilst EMF will not publish any individual results, the Foundation states that companies may wish to share their circularity score to provide transparency to investors and customers, and companies that score highly could be offered the opportunity to be promoted by EMF as a case study.

Jarkko Havas, Circulytics lead at EMF said: "We designed Circulytics so that it could be used by any business, big or small, operating in any sector. We already have more than 100 companies register their interest to take part; from sectors spanning energy, food, fashion, consumer goods and electronics.

"We will provide clear insights and analysis in the report that will give businesses a comprehensive picture of their current circular economy performance and areas they could make improvements or benefit further. Additionally, large companies will be provided with a bespoke analyst commentary. Over time we will build up benchmark data that will allow companies to compare themselves to the rest of their industry."

The tool has been developed with the support of EMF’s Circular Economy 100 (CE100) network – a group of businesses collaborating to share knowledge and expertise on the circular economy. Over 30 companies participated in the pilot phase of Circulytics, including DS Smith, Ikea and Unilever.

Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, commented: “Moving to a circular economy requires businesses to rethink everything they do. As we are making this transition, Circulytics will help us to pinpoint where we have more to do.”

Miles Roberts, CEO of DS Smith, said that Circulytics “holds the mirror up to us and enables us to evaluate our business model in more detail than we’ve done before.”

Janez Potocnik, Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel and former EU Commissioner for the Environment, added: “Circulytics has the potential to become an important enabler for organisational circular economy transitions. Measuring the effectiveness of the underlying sustainability initiatives is essential to inform respective management practices, coordinate more seamlessly across circular value chains, and provide strongly required benchmarking, transparency and incentives within industries.”

EMF is currently accepting applications for its From Linear to Circular programme, which aims to support postgraduate students and professionals in engaging with circular economy practitioners, such as the Foundation’s CE100 network. The programme involves a six-week online phase followed by a workshop in Atlanta, USA from 18-21 May.

You can find more information about Circulytics on the EMF website.

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