Ellen MacArthur Foundation members share a common purpose: a more circular economy

The problem of plastic waste is a complex issue with no simple solutions. It will take multitudes of stakeholders — governmental institutions, NGOs, industry, the public — to bring about lasting and impactful change. That is why the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is so significant and why Eastman became a member of the Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 Network (CE100). This influential organization is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

“The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 is a mix of the public and private sector coming together all for the same purpose,” said Holli Alexander, manager of sustainability strategic initiatives for Eastman. “It includes the whole gamut of stakeholders and thought leaders who are committed to a circular economy: people who represent cities; governmental agencies; universities; nonprofits; corporations, large and small; and brands that have ambitious sustainability goals they are eager to meet. “In this collaborative environment, we can all share the challenges we’re experiencing, share ideas and collaborate to create solutions. This way, we’re leveraging thoughts and ideas through the entire value chain to develop and create those solutions more quickly.”

Renowned globally for her work on the circular economy, Ellen MacArthur made her name on the water. She was a successful long-distance yachtswoman and broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe back in 2005 — the same year she became “Dame” Ellen MacArthur when her native England made her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 2010, after MacArthur had retired from sailing, she formed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation — a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the transition to a circular economy. In 2015, MacArthur delivered a TED talk that helps to provide clarity on the powerful transformation that led to her retiring from sailing and starting the Foundation.

Watch MacArthur talk about “the surprising thing I learned sailing solo around the world.”

Eastman joined the CE100 earlier in 2019 with five other new members, including McDonald’s and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings.

David A. Golden, Eastman senior vice president, chief legal & sustainability officer and corporate secretary, is one of the Eastman team members who has already had discussions with MacArthur as well as fellow EMF partners, exchanging ideas that could lead to lasting positive impact for the globe.

“The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a lovely framework that is essentially this: We’re all in this together; bring your best solutions to the table; let’s exchange ideas, collaborate on the best ideas and solve this complex problem together,” Golden said.

Golden said that concept of togetherness in solving an issue of such magnitude should not be forgotten.

“This isn’t a problem that only Eastman can solve, but we do have a part. And it’s important to remember that it can’t be solved if we don’t work together,” he said. “That’s where I think the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is doing such a superb job. They’re bringing people together from across the spectrum.”