Doughnut economics for cities, companies, households, products, individuals


I have been very lucky to come across Kate’s presentations about doughnut economics and I have thought that the model could have the potential to serve as an advisory tool for microeconomics. For instance, it could be used to assess the environmental sustainability and social performance of cities, companies, households, products, or individuals. And I would like to ask if any of you (or if you are in contact with someone that) could bring this idea to life. It could potentially be tested with a small-scale business in Cambridge.

Please, find more information regarding this idea in the following post. I will also send an email to the University of Leeds to see if they have the capacity to do any research in those lines.


For instance, let’s take as an example an agri-business that wants to start a new crop plantation in the south of Spain.

The agri-business is considering to plant tomatoes or avocados, plus it is not sure which type of machinery to put into place. From a purely old-fashioned economic point of view, growing avocados would be great, as the market of those is growing, however from the lenses of doughnut economics growing tomatoes might be the best option, as it requires far less water.

Doughnut economics have the potential to be used as a tool to visualize the social and environmental impacts of the different options that businesses have. A “doughnut” could be made for each option, thus helping the business take the best decision.

In some cases, clear impacts will not be possible to quantify, but they could be classed as “potential” impacts. For instance, if minerals used to build a machinery are coming from a place where potential child labour, rapes and other serious human right abuses happen, that machinery would be classed as with high “potential” of not filling the social boundaries. In other cases, the impacts might not be possible to quantify due to lack of supply chain information or transparency (in most of the cases), those technologies would also be classed as with high “potential” of not filling the social boundaries.


Do we want to send a market signal (i.e., levy a fee) to discourage destructive behavior and reward restorative behavior? I suspect businesses already know their environmental impact.