At our meeting on Weds 10 June, Hilary Cadman gave a brief presentation about an alternative economic model, based on the book Doughnut economics: seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist. The author is Kate Raworth, an Oxford-based economist, who was frustrated by the current models that rely on infinite growth, and fail to take into account equality, quality of life, health and the environment. Her approach can be summed up as needing to replace:
- -the current situation: Economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive
- -a new approach: Economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow.
The doughnut model, shown here, has a safe and just space for us to inhabit. The floor of this space is that everyone’s needs (e.g. for water, food and health) are met, and the ceiling is a healthy environment, where we deal with issues such as climate change and pollution.
One way this model could work is by creating a circular economy. Currently, our economy uses up resources and spits them out as waste. Globally, less than 10% of resources are recycled, with high costs to us and to the environment. A circular economy would recycle everything. This does not need to be expensive. For example, hotels can save $7 for every $1 they invest in reducing food waste. And it can be fun – Copenhagen cut littering by 46% just by painting green footsteps leading up to the bins.
Amsterdam is looking at how to use doughnut economics in its recovery from COVID-19. And towns and communities are putting the idea into practice. The Chamber would love to hear your views on this idea. Is this something that we could build into the Local Strategic Planning Statement (see the next item)?