Ellen MacArthur DBE, best known for her yachting achievements, spoke about her passion for the circular economy today at a Prestige Lecture at Cranfield University.

Ellen hit the headlines in 2001 when she sailed non-stop around the world In the Vendée Globe race at 24 years old, and subsequently broke the solo round the world record in 2005.

Ellen spoke of the importance of the circular economy model in offering us an opportunity to harness innovation and creativity to enable a positive, restorative economy. A circular economy is restorative by intention - it aims to rely on renewable energy, eliminate the use of toxic chemicals and eradicate waste, through careful design.

Ellen commented: "Innovative businesses working to scale their circular economy practices are actively looking for new knowledge, research and future leaders equipped with a set of different skills. Cranfield's rapid progress in this area demonstrates that there is a need but also a great opportunity for forward thinking universities to engage with the circular economy, and help provide the solutions to world-changing industrial challenges."

Ellen is at Cranfield University this week for the Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship Summer School. The Fellowship is a joint initiative between the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in the UK and the Schmidt Family Foundation in the US. It offers a unique opportunity for postgraduate students and academics from leading international design, engineering and business schools to support the transition to a circular economy. 

Cranfield University are hosting this year’s Summer School, a key part of the creativity framework for the Fellowship. During the week, Fellows have the opportunity to network with the Foundation’s flagship business programme, CE100, at their annual summit. They then return to their university to focus on a postgraduate, circular economy innovation project as part of their MSc.

View the footage from Ellen MacArthur's Prestige Lecture 

Dame Ellen MacArthur and Wendy Schmidt
Dame Ellen MacArthur and Wendy Schmidt

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.