Ahead of COP26, Dame Ellen MacArthur calls for a circular economy to tackle climate change

With the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) starting in less than a week, it’s vital we demonstrate that the transition to a circular economy is key to tackling climate change. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has therefore republished its report — Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change — with a new foreword by Dame Ellen MacArthur.

Renewable energy is only half the story — we need a circular economy to complete the picture

“As the global economy is gradually getting back on track, we’re entering another round of climate negotiations with current emissions pledges still falling short of the objectives laid out in the Paris Agreement. The scope of the discussion has nevertheless evolved, and the message that we sent by releasing the initial version of Completing the Picture in 2019 has gained significant momentum: if we want to fix the climate, we have to transform the economy — and not only the way it’s powered.”

- Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder and Chair of Trustees, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Although the transition to renewable energy remains a central pillar of the pathway to a low-carbon system, it’s only half the story. As this report shows, 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the way we make and use products and food. In order to address these emissions, a systemic approach to redefining value creation has to be adopted. One that relies on the three fundamental circular economy principles of eliminating waste, circulating materials and products, and regenerating nature.


“As a nature-positive solutions framework, the circular economy brings answers to the interconnected biodiversity and climate emergencies: leading companies are starting to harness the opportunities it offers, and scaling up circular innovations is now a priority. Mobilising finance and raising the ambition level of national commitments are essential steps on the journey, and this report highlights the contribution that a circular regenerative system can make to opening a new era of prosperity.” 

- Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder and Chair of Trustees, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Read the report

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