In designing and launching DEAL we have embraced openness by making the core concepts of Doughnut Economics available to changemakers for using and adapting in their own work in many areas, including education, town and cities, community organising, business, and government.
At the same time, it is essential to balance that openness with ensuring integrity in how the concepts of Doughnut Economics are put into practice. This is especially critical in the field of business, defined here as all profit-making organisations, from social enterprises to consultants and multinational corporations - where the concept is most at risk of getting greenwashed or co-opted. If that were to happen, Doughnut Economics would be devalued and discredited for all changemakers, thus undermining its transformative potential.
For this reason, we are carefully designing our strategic approach to engaging with business and we will soon publish DEAL’s Business Policy describing the conditions under which businesses can engage with the Doughnut. We will also be recruiting a Business & Enterprise Lead in the coming months to lead and further develop this work.
Until we are ready to publish DEAL’s Business Policy and engage with the interest that it creates, here is DEAL’s holding position regarding business (all profit-making organisations) engaging with the Doughnut and Doughnut Economics:
- The Doughnut currently cannot be used publicly by businesses (including consultants), whether for branding, on a website, in presentations, or in publicly available materials.
- The Doughnut can only be used by businesses, and business consultants, as an internal (rather than public-facing) tool for deep reflection into the organisational design of the business and into the systemic changes needed if it is to become regenerative and distributive by design, and so help bring humanity into the Doughnut.
- If a business chooses to engage with the Doughnut and Doughnut Economics in an internal reflection of this kind, its reflection must include all of the essential elements of Doughnut Economics for Enterprise, including:
- Embracing the Doughnut as the 21st century goal
- Creating a business that aims to be regenerative and distributive by design
- Aligning the design traits of the business itself, through its Purpose, Networks, Governance, Ownership and Finance.
- To facilitate this reflection and analysis, DEAL has developed an introductory video, When Business Meets the Doughnut v.1 which covers the essential elements to guide a business through this analysis and reflection.
We will be developing new versions of this tool over the coming year, and adding further workshop guidelines.
- Only not-for-profit organisations (such as local governments, community groups, universities, NGOs, foundations, unions, think tanks) can initiate or host public-facing events and processes related to the Doughnut and Doughnut Economics - however we currently ask that they do not host events related to business and the Doughnut, until DEAL's policy on this is revised.
- Until DEAL has the capacity to engage actively with businesses, we are not able to accept new tools and stories related to business on our platform. In future, we will welcome tools and stories created by DEAL community members that are consistent with the ambition and conceptual framework set out in the tool When Business Meets the Doughnut v1.0.
We realise these conditions may cause some frustration in the business-related community, especially amongst those companies that are pioneers in transforming business, but we hope it is clear that we have created them in order to safeguard the integrity of how the Doughnut is applied in the context of business, and to ensure that it can achieve its long-term potential as a tool for transformative action.