THE DONUT THEORY IN THE NETHERLANDS
14 from November 2020
listen to audiocase
This is Pedro. You probably already know me from our podcast, Prototipando.
Or not either. It may be the first time we are talking here if you are a reader or reader of Passeio.
Anyway, in the text I wrote in this issue I commented on the Donut model. It may sound a little funny or ironic but the Donut model was a form that Kate Raworth consolidated and organized as an alternative to the existing economic models based on slightly different criteria.
Well, as you have already read the previous texts of this edition, you must be a little anxious or anxious to know: after all, which model is this Donut?
My idea is to explain a little bit what the bases of this model are and mainly how it has already been implemented and is being worked on, so that we don't just stay in a theoretical conversation or very guided by thought and be able to talk about the practice of this model.
So my idea is to explain to you a little bit about what kind of economic model can take us forward. Since we know that what we have today is already here, right?
Good. The Donut model was consolidated and organized in a book called " Donut Economics: An Alternative to Growth at Any Cost " by Kate Raworth. Basically, the Donut mode seeks to make an inversion of the mental model: instead of always looking to increase GDP, or in the business scenario, we could say that instead of always looking to increase our EBTIDA or net profit margin, in fact we get the Donut model really. That seeks to bring a more integrated economy, that is, economic inputs generate outputs that can move the market and the State, add to our society and mainly positively impact our Earth system.
This model also seeks to transform the way of thinking so that the human being is not considered economic and rational, but that our species is seen as social and adaptable, which can positively impact our ecosystem.
The Donut model also seeks to invert the Supply and Demand logic. In what normally we understand that this logic balances our consumption models mechanically, but lead us to a model of dynamic complexity: in which everything we generate can positively impact our system.
This would lead us not only to grow at any cost, but to have a distributive model by conception, which can lead us to grow economically or sustain our economic model based on a regeneration of the Earth system and the ways in which we dialogue in the day by day.
In other words, this way, we do not need to grow at any cost, but we can maintain a sustainable Earth system in which everyone can benefit, reducing the unequal models we have, generating a more sustainable way of consolidating our future.
The donut basically seeks to reduce the excesses we have. For example: excess air pollution, depletion of the ozone layer, climate change, ocean acidification, chemical pollution of the ecosystem, etc.
At the same time, we are deficient in the social foundation. In other words, most people do not have water, energy, food, health, education, income, peace and justice, political voice, social and gender equality, housing and networks that can sustain our existence.
Basically, the Donut model shows us the following: there is an ecological ceiling and a social foundation that we must respect. And in that space, we form the donut:
We must support the minimum of this social foundation and we must have an ecological roof, that is, we created the Donut layer, which is a safe and fair space for society to regenerate and distribute itself in terms of revenue, income and sustainability.
My idea is to show you a little bit how this actually happens in the city of Amsterdam.
On April 8, 2020, Kate Raworth wrote on her own blog introducing the Donut model that Amsterdam implemented as a city. It was on that very day, in the middle of the pandemic, that Kate and the Amsterdam plan made it official that this would be the model they would look for from now on.
So, from 2012 when the book was published to 2020, Kate Raworth went through a series of experiments in cities, systems, companies, until reaching the current year and, after a year of work with a multidisciplinary and very diverse team with participation from business, the public sector, the third sector and civil society, they managed to consolidate a new and holistic model that could move the Donut model from theory to practice.
Kate started a process of assimilating biomimicry with an amazing person named Janine Benyus, where they basically created the Amsterdam Donut Model Coalition and thus began to nurture holistic ways to nurture the Amsterdam model.
The main question that this team began to ask themselves was: how could we deliver a prosperous city to its citizens, an ecosystem, that respects the health of people and Planet Earth as a whole.
This question started to aspire this team to think about 4 main frames:
- The place
- The Global
- The Social
- The Ecological
From this first question, we can make an analogy with the Design Thinking process, these people empathized with this challenge and arrived at a new point of view, which are actually 4 new questions.
- From a local and social perspective, the question turned to: how could the city of Amsterdam be prosperous for its people?
- From a local and ecological perspective: how could the city be prosperous in relation to its natural habitat?
- From an ecological and global perspective: how could the city respect the health of the Earth system?
- From a social and global perspective: what would Amsterdam mean when respecting the social well-being of the people of the world?
So, under these 4 lenses, this team started an ideation process by answering these questions.
Thus, these 4 teams arrived at a public policy model together with a business and social pressure model that could answer these questions
Here I leave the link where Kate explains in great detail what kind of public policies and business and social models would support this plan to transform Amsterdam into a Donut economic model.
4 very complex models were made tangible and my idea is not necessarily to describe them here, but the main point is: this multidisciplinary team, this collision, managed to arrive at a practical model, with points of attention and a very well-defined plan of how would be the city of Amsterdam in the Donut model.
The main points that we want to bring here to explore Amsterdam as an entry point in the Donut model are a few:
- The first is to show that it is possible for us to get out of a profit-seeking frame at any cost, which is not so rich and does not respect some important limits; and show that there is a possible alternative already implemented in the year 2020;
- Another point I want to bring here is that when exploring the Donut model in the city of Amsterdam as a case, for us to be inspired by how we can put this model in our daily lives, in our companies, in our homes, in our governments?
I understand that this is not an easy task. Shall we combine? We are starting to provide the necessary depth in recent years. So, it is essential that we go deeper into these models and seek to adapt them to our scenarios.
In fact, that's what I've been doing at Rehearsal for the last few months. Seeking to apply this model in our ecosystem, however small and very artisanal, with the high impact necessary for us to start swimming together in this ocean like Amsterdam and other initiatives that are being made.
See if it makes sense to join this movement with us!
I am sure that this model must and will be very mature over time that we implement together with all the other local and global initiatives that have been worked on for a long time.
I hope that this audiocase can serve as an inspiration for us to embrace and start to apply, in practice, everything we talk about, which is very beautiful in theory. Also because, there is no longer enough time for us to go against this movement that we need to enter.
I usually say that the next 30 years will be the years in which we are either going to make the path easier or more difficult for the next generations to come to apply all that we have been talking about.
After all, there is no turning back.