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Design Innovation Medal Winner 2020 Dame Ellen MacArthur

The Design Innovation Medal, celebrates entrepreneurship in all its forms, both locally and internationally. It honours an individual for whom design lies at the core of their development and success.


Dame Ellen MacArthur made yachting history in 2005, when she became the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe. Having become acutely aware of the finite nature of the resources on which our linear economy relies, she retired from professional sailing to launch the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2010. 

The Foundation works to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, one that is restorative and regenerative, by design. Since the publication of its first economic report in 2012, the Foundation has established the concept on the agenda of decision makers around the world. It has launched global initiatives on plastics, fashion, and food, developed innovation networks with educators, ibusinesses, cities and governments, and published more than 20 reports and books. 

Dame Ellen is a World Economic Forum Global Agenda Trustee for Environment and Natural Resource Security and memberof its Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, and sat on the European Commission’s Resource Efficiency Platform between 2012 and 2014. 


Dame Ellen MacArthur says, I am honoured to have been awarded this year’s Design Innovation Medal. When we started working to accelerate the transition to a circular economy ten years ago, we knew that a new approach to design would be critical: it’s about deciding from the outset to design in a way whereby products, components, and materials stay in the system. Since then thousands of innovators from startups, academia, government and business have seized the opportunity to think about how they can deliver benefits beyond one product, looking at how that product can fit in a much broader, regenerative system. 2020 has been a year of unprecedented disruption, but seeing people in the creative sector using their skills and talent to build a more circular economy gives me hope that we can build back better.”