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Circular Economy

Francois Souchet
9:00 am, Apr 22nd (EST) 
Expert Guest

Francois Souchet

Lead - Make Fashion Circular, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Francois leads Make Fashion Circular at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. MFC is a 3-year program that aims to drive collaboration across the fashion industry to create a circular economy for clothes. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation's mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to maintain products at their highest value and in use. Francois leads the Make Fashion Circular Initiative, which brings together key industry stakeholders to create a circular economy for clothing. Francois joined the Foundation in 2016 as a project manager, to support the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Partners in exploring the value creation potential of the circular economy. Prior to joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Francois was a management consultant with Accenture Strategy, where he worked on projects in Europe, North America and Asia. He has a background of Civil Engineering and a Master of Project Management from the University of Melbourne.
Expert Guest


In our video this week, guest Francois Souchet from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation discusses the circular economy and why this economic model poses a powerful alternative to our world’s prevailing linear economic model. Francois presents thoughtful questions for implementation that both businesses and private individuals must ask when considering their own consumption and production. Francois discusses the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's mission and vision in their Make Fashion Circular initiative and shares his hope is for the future of the fashion industry and the promise this change holds for a more sustainable world.

Toward A Circular Economy

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a unique venture whose mission is to promote the model of a circular economy by partnering with businesses, governments and students to create solutions, educate and empower. In a circular economic model, a product's entire life cycle and design is considered and entails, “gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system.” Souchet gives suggested mental models and a line of questioning which can guide a business leader or changemaker. He says: 

“How do you design your product? How do you design the system [around that product]? Is your product going to be something that people only want to wear a short period of time? Or something they want to love for a long time? And based on [your answer], what is the business model that can support [that product]? What.. materials should you use...? And what happens to [the product once you stop using it?” 

Additionally, Souchet discusses the current statistics of clothing production worldwide along with the destruction of underused or unused product. He cites promising companies which are reconsidering fashion’s previous consumption models. Among these new models he mentiones in his interview are: labels such as RE/DONE and Reformation; companies renewing the popularity of vintage and secondhand usage of clothes such as the RealReal; and rental clothing services like Rent the Runway. Souchet and the EMF believe that through their work, they can promote the creation of more conscientious products and services for a more sustainable long-term solution for the planet.

Masterclass Intro

“The production of clothes doubled over the past 15 years, while the average number of times we used the clothes that we wear decreased by close to 40%... Every year, over 70% of the clothes that we have ends up in the landfill or is incinerated. That’s a rate of approximately a truckload going to landfill or incineration every second.”

Key Takeaways

Clothes Made from Safe and Renewable Materials

“If you are dependent on resources that you can grow… you ensure that the way you grow those is done in a regenerative way. So basically you can grow over, and over, and over again.”

Clothes Used More [Frequently]

“Ensure that the products you make… stay in use as long as possible- you [need to] put in a lot of effort to actually manufacture, engineer, and transport those products(using circular economy principles).”

Clothes Never Become Waste

“When you design your product, how does that product fit within a system? You design a waste/end solution by just thinking about your product and the system it fits in.”

Key Takeaways

Ask Yourself

  • Was this the first time you'd heard about the concept of a circular economy?

  • How does the world look differently if every company in fashion where to utilize the concepts of a circular economy? What kind of businesses would exist or be created?

  • What is your vision of a circular economy

Continue Your Learning

Further Learning
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