The circular economy: from consumer to user

With the price of resources and energy becoming increasingly volatile, can today's linear economy work in the long term?

What if we didn't buy the goods we use, but instead favoured access and performance over ownership? This short animation from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation introduced the idea, and suggests how it could work for businesses, users, and the wider economy.

A performance model is part of the solution when making the transition to a regenerative circular economy.

Watch an introduction to the circular economy:

Find out more about the circular economy at and and follow us on Twitter!/circulareconomy

Animation produced by Beakus
Director Mr Binns

Views: 149377
Runtime: 3:12
Comments: 34

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Author Diy Life ( ago)
Sounds like a form of communism, this is the model most companies are aiming for as its more profitable and would be extremely expensive long term to the consumer as running costs rather than upfront costs meaning first of the month you earn 2000, 1000 of that goes out on running costs phone, washing machine car etc. Making savings impossible. Then at end of the year u get taxed based on an earning of 2k per month

Rather than 'paying back for a service continually' why don't the companies just buy back the goods at the end of their life span when u get a new one

Author Prettycurtis Curtis ( ago)
Excellent thought, should materialize for sustainability..

Author Carole Lees ( ago)
Very interesting concept. Well produced. Good for group debate.

Author Mystogan Edolas ( ago)
If there was profit in this companies would offer to buy back their dammaged products.

Author Moyo Mongoose ( ago)
That Idea of not owning your own things sounds like communism.
How do you handle telling a church that their church house is not God's house? Do you tell the congregation, "This is Corporate's house. Your God only leases it from us". I'm sure THAT will go over well.

Author Jaiissica ( ago)
The idea that moving to a leasing model would somehow drive what is essentially just recycling is nearly as absurd as the idea of a "local person to person car sharing network". Does the car drive itself back to my place after you drive it to work, or are you going to beam it up, Scotty? Idiots.

Author David ( ago)
This video presents an interesting proposition. However, it takes away from the concept of ownership entirely which could cause problems for motivational factors within social responsibility initiatives. I appreciate the process that the Global Reporting Initiative which recommends working with stakeholder groups to create a balance between social, environmental, and economic needs. If one pillar of sustainability is stronger than the rest sustainability will not occur.

Author rompamescatole ( ago)
I enjoyed the video and was glad to see there was an aspect devoted to the automobile industry. That said, I wanted to share this business case with you:


Its been received by various auto companies with little interest, so since then it's sort of just been sitting there. I thought it would be nice to share with people who actually want things to be C2C ;-)

Sorry for the weird URL, BTW :-\

Author Anne Finnane ( ago)
Not a new idea - but an idea whose time has come. The opportunities for innovation, jobs and growth are there for those companies with vision. Anne Finnane, Global to Local

Author Tom Jakcons ( ago)
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The lift substitutes the government.
When does the guide submit the belligerent invention?
When does the graceful side minimize the education?

Author Kevin Chandler ( ago)
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The hungry punishment recruits the paste.

The reading diversifys the lumpy year.

Author elaine ossipov ( ago)
I have grave reservations concerning this. Conceptually, this is an idiology which has been around for centuries. Star Trek, Back to the Future, all were set in a circular economy.

But human nature has evolved two-fold, with 1/2 of the populations believing and working toward just such a utopian society. The other half is just the opposite and are driven solely by greed. This chasim grows ever wider between the two factions in our society daily. This is a recipe for complete disaster.

Author Hunter Lang ( ago)
I believe this "circular economy" can only go so far before people desire ownership once again. I've toiled with this concept for some time now and I believe there are other ways for businesses to retain ownership of materials while still granting consumers ownership of their products. I'm familiar with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and I hope this novel idea doesn't turn out to be an effort to be paid large sums to redefine the modus operandi of any given company.

Author Hunter Lang ( ago)
I think you make some good points here ragdollrustybeds, but unfortunately this is not a perfect closed loop. It will merely delay our running out of resources.

Author b war ( ago)
How do we avoid being a renters economy. I am totally in agreement with the treatment of resources as finite as they are, but how do we avoid a society that must pay a monthly fee for everything and becoming more dependent on lease terms and permanent payment schemes. We are nostalgic for paying for durable value once, are we going to exchange it for contracts and consumption thats on the business terms that could trigger fees, lower credit scores if I forget to pay for my microwave?

Author Esme Salamone (577 years ago)
This is very misleading.

Under this system, the consumer likely enters into a contract in order to use these products. The price of that contract is relative to the treatment of that product by the mass majority of consumers-- there is no way that such a contract would reflect reasonable pricing for services.

This idea is in opposition to the idea of having any sort of property at all-- I can't believe that this is a good idea in the manner in which it is presented.

Author Mister Physics ( ago)
Closed loop, this is excellent. The "elite" are destroying our planet & our ppl, hoarding their piles of paper money, there won't be any planet left in a mere few generations if we don't Make Change, we're running out of finite resources like phosphorus (NPK Soil balance). Shaft them by becoming a non-consumer, consider what you need rather than what you want. Undermine capitalism from the ground up. There's more of us than there is of them.

Author 24almonde ( ago)

There is growing evidence that ever-increasing economic growth in wealthy countries is neither environmentally sustainable nor socially beneficial, yet the pursuit of ever-escalating production and consumption remains the mantra of our age.A Steady State Economy,maintaining a stable level of production rather than maximising output, has been proposed as an alternative; but the external constraints to achieving this are formidable, and the knock-on effects for global poverty could be devastating

Author 24almonde ( ago)
Ellen McArthur Foundation...What do they get out of it?A Circular Economy,the solution to a dwindling resource of stored solar energy in the form of (mainly)fossil fuels,eh?Trying to maintain the current level of energy usage,with a currency value attached to the energy.Where the currency in turn are attached to an economy,based on financial instruments reliant on growth for its function/validity...It would be wise to look into this and what they are promising...It may go deeper than this...

Author 24almonde ( ago)
Haha,apply the 5 W's on this clip!And follow the trail of money.Wonder who financed it,and for what reason?They selling you a solution...For continued slavery to consumption...

Author Michael Totten ( ago)
Outstanding! A perfect "AH HAH!" illumination. This remarkable animation accomplishes with exceptional clarity in little more than 3 minutes the distillation of a library full of books and journals on this important concept. It deserves widespread viewing, motivating viewers to delve deeper into the case studies and opportunities.

Author forestberghs ( ago)
Great animation! The more this gets round, the quicker the seeds are sown.

Author cc10121492 ( ago)
Trying to force this on me will start WW3.

Author qed qubit ( ago)
the things we own, end up owning us !

Author Tobias Jansson ( ago)
Really nice new material from EMF!

Author jesper Kisum ( ago)
Animation produced by Beakus
Director Mr Binns

Author Jim Le Fevre ( ago)
Obviously a fantastic ideology and one we must make happen but also, what a great film.

Very nicely made! Who made it?!

Author Simon Goldsmith ( ago)
If we are to live in a sustainable world this will be at the heart of how we use materials and access services. There's a great Masters program (Master's Program in Sustainable Product-Service System Innovation at BTH in Sweden (Google it) that explores this fully (applications for 2013 intake close 15th Jan!)

Author Darren Dawson ( ago)
I wish you all the best in bringing companies together and making your dream a reality. A Circular economy is the only way forward in the 21st century.

Author Alastair Carr ( ago)
Bob the Builder - Can We Fix It? (Yes we can).

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