Tuesday, June 6, 2023

500 Startups Spotlighted In The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Index


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is expanding its Circular Startup Index with the addition of Neiman Marcus, Tapestry, and Chloé, alongside seamstresses, tailors, and resale platform Vestiaire Collective, among others.

The new additions expand the database to 500 entities, representing a holistic snapshot of the Foundation’s current circular startup database. This comprehensive index, the most extensive of its kind, offers businesses valuable leads to aid in their transition toward a circular economy.

“Designing a circular future requires radical innovation to rethink how our economy works. Thousands of circular startups are already on the case,” Ella Hedley, Project Manager, Startups at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said in a statement. “But they need more support and investment. So, we created the Circular Startup Index to create visibility of the breadth of circular startups on the market and help businesses discover suitable circular solutions.”

The Foundation’s Fashion Initiative is aimed at driving the transition towards a circular economy for fashion in order to create a resilient industry. Fashion is responsible for at least ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Index will help the industry reimagine how materials are sourced, produced, and consumed, with a focus on reducing waste and circulating products and materials to keep them in use.

Coachtopia bag
Coachtopia, the sustainable spin-off from Coach is aiming to be fully built by upcycled or sustainable materials. | Courtesy

“Circularity is critical to building a more sustainable and resilient fashion industry. At Tapestry, our brands are contributing to a future that is both beautiful and responsible, and we look forward to collaborating with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Network and Fashion Initiative Advisory Board to continue to tackle pressing climate challenges and generate even more momentum behind the circular economy,” Logan Duran, Vice President, ESG and Sustainability at Tapestry, said in a statement.

The parent company to Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman says it recognizes the importance of transitioning to a circular economy based on three key principles, all driven by design: eliminating waste and pollution, circulating products and materials, and regenerating nature. Coach demonstrated that commitment recently with the launch of its circular spin-off Gen-Z-focused brand, Coachtopia.

“A circular economy for fashion creates better products and services for customers, contributes to a resilient and thriving fashion industry, and regenerates the environment. Together we can make fashion circular and help tackle the root causes of global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. We are pleased to welcome Tapestry as a Network Partner and look forward to facilitating collaboration opportunities with other Network organizations and supporting the company on its circular economy journey,” said Joe Murphy, Executive Lead, Network, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Mara Hoffman Climate Neutral
Courtesy Mara Hoffman

The database features innovative textile startups such as Sojo, a London-based app that connects users with seamstresses and tailors; By Rotation, a wardrobe lending platform; and Recurate, a resale-as-a-service platform. The latter already has secondhand sales partnerships with brands including Tommy Hilfiger, 7 For All Mankind, Michael Kors, and Mara Hoffman.

Another company, the U.K.-based multinational packaging business D.S. Smith, has successfully found a partner through the database. Hugh McCann, the company’s senior circular growth manager, said, “We have already started working with one of the businesses we found on the Index and are inspired by the ongoing opportunity to engage some of the most forward-thinking businesses in the circularity space.”

James Repenning, CEO of Denver-based Again & Again, credits the Foundation with exposing him to business-related aspects he’d never encountered in his recycling career. He shared, “We found a very major textiles supplier that had a circularity idea with no one to pilot it.”

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