This tool is an introduction to the concept at the heart of Doughnut Economics. It's been designed as both a document that can be shared and a presentation that can be given in a classroom, a workshop or a meeting. Either download it as a pdf (below), open it within Google drive (links below) or scroll down to read on this page.
Think of it as a compass for human prosperity in the 21st century, whose goal is to meet the needs of all people within the means of the planet.
It consists of two concentric rings:
A social foundation – to ensure that no one is left falling short on life’s essentials.
An ecological ceiling – to ensure that humanity does not collectively overshoot planetary boundaries.
Between these two boundaries lies a doughnut-shaped space that is both ecologically safe and socially just – a space in which humanity can thrive.
The essence of the Doughnut
1. The social foundation – below which lies critical human deprivation
2. The ecological ceiling – beyond which lies critical planetary degradation
These two boundaries are foundational in the sense that humanity should always seek to avoid critical human deprivation and critical planetary degradation. But how best to define their specific dimensions and measure their current status relative to desired outcomes will keep evolving over time.
The Doughnut’s dimensions
(as of 2017)
The Social Foundation
The 12 dimensions of the social foundation are derived from the social priorities agreed in the Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2015).
The Ecological Ceiling
The 9 dimensions of the ecological ceilingare the nine planetary boundaries defined by Earth-system scientists (Steffen et al., 2015).
Quantifying the Doughnut
The image below reveals the current state of humanity and our planetary home: think of it as humanity’s ‘selfie’ in the early days of the 21st century.
Each dimension is measured, where possible, with 1 or 2 indicators, and the red wedges show the extent of shortfall and overshoot of the Doughnut’s social and planetary boundaries.
It shows us that millions of people still fall short on all 12 of the social dimensions, and that humanity has already overshot at least four planetary boundaries (air pollution and chemical pollution are currently unquantified).
To achieve the 21st century goal of meeting the needs of all within the means of the living planet means eliminating all of the red from the Doughnut diagram, and this must be done from both sides at the same time.