For any business that is searching for a 21st century compass, try this idea on for size. Let’s call it a ‘Doughnut‘. Its worldwide goal is to ensure that no-one is left in the central hole, falling short on life’s essentials, while simultaneously ensuring that human activity doesn’t overshoot the outer crust by putting too much pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems. In other words, the aim is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet.
It’s an ambitious goal for our times because, as the red wedges show, we are currently transgressing both the Doughnut’s social and planetary boundaries: billions of people fall short on life’s essentials while we have already overshot at least four planetary boundaries. Moving into the Doughnut’s safe and just space is the challenge of our century.
Over the past six years I have introduced this Doughnut diagram to a wide range of companies – from social enterprise startups to brand name multinationals – asking them what they plan to do in response to it. And I’ve been fascinated by the very diverse reactions it elicits.