The Doughnut will guide us


The Doughnut will guide us to meet the needs of all, within the means of the living planet

In the landscape of sustainability, which more recently has been elevated to the concept of “regeneration”, we are striving to create a world that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Brundtland report, 1987)


While this goal and ambition is crystal clear, the way to get there isn’t. And even more so because the sustainability landscape is painted by so many different frameworks and definitions. Rather than trying to simplify, align, and amplify efforts, we feel the overload of possible answers is making it ever more complicated.


To us, one of those frameworks that try to capture the great work of others and build upon it, is called the Doughnut Economy. That’s why we call it one of those Goldilocks frameworks that everyone should know about.

What if the Doughnut would become the shared North Star for everyone working in sustainability?

Kate Raworth, a British economist, combined several frameworks to define a new economic model called the Doughnut Economy. This is a new compass for human prosperity in the 21st-century whose goal is to reframe our current economic model to build a new one that makes sure we can meet the needs of all people within the means of the planet.

The hole in the middle of the doughnut represents a space of deprivation; we want people to get out of it and into the doughnut. It is based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the foundation to redefine a more socially just and environmentally healthy future for all.

And we should meet the needs of all in a way that respects the planetary boundaries of the planet, which means staying within the outer crust of the doughnut. When not respecting those boundaries, we are putting too much pressure on our planet and are in a stage of ecological overshoot. Today, we’ve already crossed 6 boundaries of the 9.

Kate Raworth’s talk last month for Stockholm’s Impact Week sums it all up so powerfully. No country nor company today lives within the Doughnut. The framework allows us to find patterns in what causes the over/under-shoot. This, then, can lead to shared accountability and strive for more appropriate and context-dependent solutions.

Since 2020, pioneering city Amsterdam has been adopting a Doughnut Economy approach and set forward their North Star to be 100% circular by 2050. Read more on their strategy, progress, and insights in this hands-on report. They’ll be celebrating Global Donut Day on November 13th.

One question, many answers

The reason we’re adopting the Doughnut Economy as our North Star, and hope for it to become the shared North Star for all is that this framework urges us to ask fundamental questions. Rather than promising that one approach will solve all our urgent issues, it acknowledges that the solution area is interconnected, complicated, and multi-faceted. By focusing on identifying the holes in the Doughnut, it addresses the most urgent aspect: What are the root causes of the current imbalance?


In need of some good news? There are many different ways to solve those imbalances. It’s a sum game!

A while ago, we interviewed Erinch Sahan, Business & Enterprise Lead at Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL), to hear his take on how the Doughnut can align with Net Positive outcomes. This 7-min highlight of the conversation dives into how the framework supports transformational change by evoking a mindset shift for business leaders in their journey to creating positive, regenerative impact.

Your role in the Doughnut

Another reason why we believe in adopting the Doughnut framework as one unifying concept and shared North Star is that it shows how everything is interconnected. It would align all sustainability efforts in contribution toward this vision of a future that meets the needs of all, within the means of the living planet. 


The problem is too hairy to tackle with one solution. Therefore, understanding which role you have to play within the solution space can be empowering. It might relieve some of the anxieties related to the feeling of “Is this enough?”. If you see it being one piece of the puzzle, and you know that other efforts are being made to solve the other pieces, then all efforts amplify each other. What you do really does matter, especially in the bigger scheme of the picture.


So we hope that this can encourage your role, your contribution, and your motivation to keep doing what you’re doing. It matters. Find allies that are solving other areas and start tackling the problems together.

Enjoy our content? Help spread the word!
Get notified when we publish new content.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter and be the first one to receive Rewired’s latest insights straight into your inbox.