The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has developed its new Circulytics platform to help businesses transition to a circular economy


The circular economy is a system in which items are produced with the intention of being reused (Credit: Pexels)

Circular economy charity the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched a digital measuring platform allowing businesses to track the circularity of their manufacturing operations.

The organisation says Circulytics highlights and inspires opportunities for innovation within businesses, while allowing firms to track their progress.

Using the software will help companies find ways to design out waste and pollution throughout their manufacturing processes, according to the foundation.

The platform has been developed and tested by 30 companies partnered with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, including Unilever, DS Smith and Ikea.

Unilever CEO Alan Jope said: “Moving to a circular economy requires businesses to rethink everything they do.

“As we are making this transition, Circulytics will help us to pinpoint where we have more to do.”


How does the Ellen MacArthur Foundation circular economy software work?

Circulytics — developed by the foundation’s in-house data and metrics team — has been designed to drive the adoption of circular economy working practices within businesses.

The circular economy is a system in which items are produced with the express intention of being reused.

To track a firm’s success rate, the Circulytics software splits company strategy into two categories.

Firstly, it looks at how a firm has enabled the shift towards a circular economy — examining areas such as infrastructure, innovation and external engagement.

The software then investigates the outcomes of the changes made — including the impact they’re having on the manufacturer’s material and energy consumption.

Finally, the platform delivers a circularity score, which is graded between A* to E.

World Resources Institute president and CEO Dr Andrew Steer believes the new Circulytics platform will help companies improve their working practices.

He said: “It is now clear that moving towards a circular economy is essential if we are to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“But to date, there has been a confusing lack of clarity and consistency as to how circularity should be measured.

ellen macarthur circular economy
The Circulytics software reveals the extent to which a company has achieved circularity across its entire operations (Credit: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

“The Ellen McArthur Foundation, as a premier voice in this area, has done us all a great favour with this initiative to create a measurement standard to help companies improve the impact of their circular economy activities.

“I look forward to continued collaboration across all sectors as we accelerate bringing circularity into the mainstream.”

Janez Potočnik, co-chair of the International Resource Panel and the EU’s former commissioner on the environment, believes the software will allow businesses to effectively transition to a circular economy.

He said: “Circulytics has the potential to become an important enabler for organisational circular economy transitions.

“Measuring the effectiveness of the underlying sustainability initiatives is essential to inform respective management practices, coordinate more seamlessly across circular value chains, and provide strongly required benchmarking, transparency, and incentives within industries.”

It’s not the first time the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has developed a circular economy measuring platform, launching the Material Circularity Indicator in 2015, which tracks how restorable a material is once it has gone through a company’s supply chain.