Doughnut economics: from radical idea to transformative action

Bayes Global Women’s Leadership Programme hosts webinar about doughnut economics

How can economic structures be reimagined to offer a vision of human prosperity that respects the planet?

For its first event of the academic year, the Global Women’s Leadership Programme (GWLP) at Bayes Business School welcomed Carlota Sanz, Co-founder of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL) for a webinar about the revolutionary concept of doughnut economics. Doughnut economics is an economic model designed as a response to humanity’s major challenge: eradicating global poverty within the means of the planet’s limited natural resources.

Hosted by GWLP Executive Board Member Stephanie Wong, Executive MBA (2017) the event explored DEAL’s drive for regenerative and distributive economies for the 21st century and what this could mean for women across the world.
Ms Sanz leads the development of DEAL’s emerging strategy and its engagement with business and enterprise. With a background is in financial consulting for KPMG, Deloitte, Santander and Metro Bank, she is a member of the Economy for the Common Good UK’s Knowledge Hub.

The need for a new economic vision

The concept of doughnut economics was borne of the desire to create a new economic model that considers the planet and centres the needs of all its inhabitants.

Ms Sanz said in the 21st century, we are witnessing the death of the environmental world. We have seen crisis after crisis: the 2008 financial crash, climate disasters and today’s pandemic. These crises have highlighted global inequalities of wealth, power, race and gender.

“Last century’s economic models focus on supply and demand, price and the continual growth of GDP above a thriving planet. This framework is outdated for our current times and has brought us to the crises we are experiencing today,” Ms Sanz said.

Doughnut economics

The concept of doughnut economics was developed by DEAL Co-founder Kate Raworth and was co-sourced using the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

The model reimagines the concept of human prosperity as one in which no-one falls short of the essentials that we need to live without overshooting the planet’s ecological needs. DEAL aims to create economies that are regenerative, in which resources are used more creatively and collectively, and economies that distribute value and opportunity much more equitably with all who co-created.

Doughnut Economics compass

“The planet has limits. The world is our home; we are deeply interconnected with each other. We must create new economic models that ensure a planet that is safe for ourselves and for other species,” Ms Sanz said.

Doughnut economics includes a social foundation in its definition of basic needs. Basic needs are not just defined as food, housing, work, and education but also include community networks, peace, justice and social equity.

“Mainstream economics puts supply and demand at its heart, thereby categorising people as consumers or workers. But of course we are far more than that: we are public servants, residents, voters, protesters, all of which are crucial roles in relation to the state,” Ms Sanz said.

“In our households we are parents, partners, children, relatives. As humans we are social beings that thrive in communities and play many different roles that aren’t calculated in a country’s GDP.”

Ms Sanz quoted multiple cities that have implemented the regenerative economic model in various ways: Seattle raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour, Medellin has created new river parks throughout the city to reintroduce its natural environment, Amsterdam has committed to a circular construction strategy in which it will reduce its reliance on new raw materials by half by 2030. For Ms Sanz, one example of implementing regenerative economies within cities is to create lasting commitments and partnerships between investors and businesses.

Watch a recording of the event.

Find out more about the Global Women’s Leadership Programme.

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