Unilever joins the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a Global Partner

Unilever has joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a Global Partner to pilot and test circular economy practices within the FMCG industry.

Circular economy model can drive business development

Around $2.6 trillion of material value is estimated to be lost each year through the traditional linear economy in which products are made, used and thrown away.

However, the circular economy, in which products are reused to extract their maximum value before being recycled or safely and productively returned to the biosphere, offers an opportunity to save $700 billion in consumer goods material alone, according to the second report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation titled Towards the Circular Economy Vol.2: opportunities for the consumer goods sector.

Unilever CEO, Paul Polman has long viewed the circular economy model as a key opportunity for business development.

He says: “The concept of a circular economy promises a way out. Most importantly for business leaders, such an economy can deliver growth. Innovative product designers and business leaders are already venturing into this space.”

Testing the concepts at scale

The FMCG industry accounts for 60% of total consumer spending, 35% of material inputs into the economy, and 75% of municipal waste. Furthermore, the consumer goods sector absorbs more than 90% of agricultural output.

With 2 billion consumers across the world using Unilever products each day, the company has the ability to test the concept at scale, the report adds.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has also partnered with IT group Cisco, retailer Kingfisher, healthcare, consumer products and lighting group Philips and carmaker Renault.

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