We are delighted to see a diverse range of change-makers emerging in the DEAL community playing various roles in putting Doughnut Economics into practice - from conveners, educators, facilitators to those supporting other organisations and institutions through consultancy services.
We celebrate and welcome this interest and, at the same time, we continue to balance DEAL’s open approach with ensuring integrity in how the concepts of Doughnut Economics are put into practice.
Finding this balance is particularly important where consultancies and NGOs seek to use DEAL’s concepts and tools as part of their professional advisory services to other organisations, as we want to ensure that when applied in such contexts the concepts and tools are used for transformative innovation and action, not for branding or greenwashing.
For this reason, over the past several months, the DEAL Team has been exploring how to best design our relationship with consultants and professional advisors so that the work continues to spread wide and well.
As a result of a collaborative process with existing allies and collaborators, the DEAL Team has created a policy to set out clear boundaries on how consultancies and NGOs can engage with the concepts and tools of Doughnut Economics when offering professional advisory services.
Four key and distinct features of this policy are:
- Every organisation intending to provide professional advisory services must first affirm that their vision, values, and ways of working are aligned with those of Doughnut Economics by completing a public declaration that will remain publicly accessible on DEAL’s platform.
- In keeping with DEAL’s principle of reciprocity, we ask that any innovation created and learning gained by using the ideas of Doughnut Economics through these services are shared back as stories on the DEAL Community Platform and within peer-to-peer exchange sessions.
- Organisations cannot use the words ‘Doughnut’, ‘Donut’, ‘Doughnut Economics’ or ‘Donut Economics’ in their name and they cannot refer to themselves as 'DEAL-endorsed' consultancies or professional advisors.
- Organisations with annual revenue exceeding €50m must additionally demonstrate that they have mission primacy through their legal form, such as being a registered non-profit, or a Community Interest Company in the UK, or a L3C in the US. This additional requirement aims to ensure the integrity of DEAL’s concepts and tools particularly when used by very large organisations or consultancies.
We recognise that this may be seen as an unusual approach - compared to the more common approach of a certification scheme - however we are experimenting with a new form of organising, rooted in the spirit of trust, peer-to-peer learning, stewardship, and reciprocity.
This approach is a starting point, with space for improvement and iteration. We look forward to putting it into practice together and learning with you all as we go. We invite any suggestions for improvement at any point via the survey included in the policy