Interview by guest writer Tessa Weber

As a world-renowned sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur made an interesting career choice several years ago. She decided to head for a fully circular economy worldwide and founded the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, growing from 4 to 35 employees in only four years. As determined as she was setting a new world record for solo sailing around the globe, she is now in reaching her new goal.


After the Award Ceremony, we talk about her first Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, where she gave an inspiring keynote speech about how she got to this point and why a circular economy is so important.

How hard was it to choose a winner?
“Hard,” she says with a sad smile. “There is so much passion that we were instantly engaged: they all deserve to win. And we are only seeing the five out of the more than three hundred contenders that didn’t make it to the finale. It is a big responsibility to choose the winners and have this big an impact on their futures.”

Do you think they will all succeed?
“Yes, I do.The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is a springboard that allows them to fly. Even the ones that didn’t win the prize money will benefit greatly from being in the competition.”

Will you help them yourself?
“Oh yes. My brain is ticking over: there are so many possibilities. There definitely are some interesting connections to be made, to build momentum. We love seeing people having a good idea and running with it: that pulls out all the energy and inspiration.”

Can you relate to them?
“I feel for them, I know how hard fundraising is. To have come this far is such an achievement! They are, in fact, all winners.”

Will you be here next year?
“I’d love to, if you’ll have me!”

Ellen MacArthur also gave a very inspiring keynote speech at the finale of the 2014 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, have a look!

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation focuses on the hard economics of the circular economy. One of its instruments is the Circular Economy 100, a group of companies, regions, emerging innovators and pioneers universities that are willing to go the extra mile to make it happen. There are still a few seats left…