In an effort to promote the circular economy in the US and eliminate waste, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched a US chapter of its Circular Economy 100 (CE100) program.
The international CE100, established in 2013, includes corporations, universities, city and government authorities, and include brands such as Google, Cisco, Coca-Cola, eBay, Apple, Novelis, IBM and others. Last week Arizona State University and the Phoenix Public Works Department — which have partnered to provide an incubator for emerging businesses and technologies that will act as catalysts in the transition to a circular economy — joined the international CE100.
In contrast to the linear “take, make, dispose” model, the puts emphasis on keeping products and materials at their highest value and utility at all times.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation says the circular economy concept is gaining traction in the US because of the opportunities it offers businesses willing to capture new value from existing operations and resources, for example by redesigning products and business models, building new relationships with customers, harnessing technology to increase the utilization of assets, and switching to renewable energy.
The US CE100 program launch follows a new study by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation that says the 5,589 largest publicly traded companies in the US sent 342 million metric tons of waste to landfills and incinerators in 2014. And on average, companies generate 7.81 metric tons of waste for every million dollars in revenue.
It also finds that if these same companies reduced their paper waste by a mere 1 percent, it would save them nearly $1 billion in total.
By joining the US CE100, North America-based and focused organizations have access to collaboration, capacity building, networking as well as research and insight opportunities, to help them achieve their circular economy ambitions quicker, the Foundation says.
“The circular economy offers many quantified benefits, and provides a positive way forward for businesses wishing to hedge themselves from market volatility,” said the Foundation’s founder Dame Ellen MacArthur in a statement. “Our 2013 report Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 2, featuring analysis by McKinsey & Co, highlighted the $700 billion opportunity in global consumer goods material savings from adopting circular economy practices. For organizations that embrace the opportunities offered by the circular economy, there are first-mover advantages available. The CE100 USA program provides key insight to support organizations in their transition, and to help accelerate their rate of circular economy innovation.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Arizona State University and the Phoenix Public Works Department were members of the US CE100 program; they are members of the international CE100.