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22 June 2020 Comments (0) Environment, Other

Amsterdam and the Doughnut theory

The capital of the Netherlands has adopted an ambitious post-Covid economic programme, inspired by a model named after the famous American doughnut. Its objective: to combine economic prosperity, social progress and ecological transition.

Kate Raworth is an economist and teaches at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. © DR

Doughnut theory

Kate Raworth is an economist who is dedicated to the social and environmental challenges of the 21st century. She described her theory in a book: “Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist”. It aims to rethink the economy so that it meets both basic human needs and the preservation of the environment.

The outer limit of the doughnut is the environmental and ecological ceiling, defined by natural sciences. This is the limit we shouldn’t cross. If we do, planetary balances come to fail.

The inner limit is the social foundation, which defines human rights. At the heart of the doughnut (in the middle and therefore empty), people who do not have access to the twelve basic needs as described by the United Nations (health, education, access to water…).

Between the two (the dough of the doughnut) lies the safe, just space for humankind, an area of comfort both for our planet and for those who inhabit it and in which a just and sustainable economy can thrive.

An ambitious programme: “Product blijft product”.

The City of Amsterdam has recently embarked on a long-term programme which is mostly inspired by this theory. It will be a question of driving forward an economy that is primarily at the service of human needs, but also of transition. Some examples of the measures that will be put in place in the coming months: improved treatment of domestic waste, more sustainable constructions, efforts against food waste, solutions for the reuse of unwanted products, preservation of raw materials…

La theorie du donut © Plon

In addition, the City of Amsterdam announced work on 200 ideas to promote the circular economy. Such as a pilot project to recover unused latex paint (those 45 jars that we all have hidden somewhere) and put it back on the market. Another example: the Betondorp district (concrete village) was designed using only recycled concrete. The city also plans community exchange platforms or the development of thrift stores and repair services. 75% of Amsterdam’s residents agree: they should buy less. In short, a doughnut cooked in Oxford could help Amsterdam out of the crisis.

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