the doughnut theory

The inner circle of the Doughnut represents the social foundation. It is formed by the different dimensions of basic human rights (which refer to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations). However, human needs must not be satisfied at the expense of the resources of our planet. The ecological ceiling, the outer circle of the Doughnut, is composed of the various planetary boundaries identified by research in climate sciences. The Doughnut economy defines the viable space in which we must develop: an ecologically safe and socially just space where a balanced prosperity unfolds.

Embracing a regenerative and distributive economy

The first step toward a Doughnut economy is to recognize the interdependencies that the economy nurtures with society and with the Earth

It is underpinned by two major principles: regenerativity and distributivity, which should be embedded by design in the very workings of our economies.

A regenerative economy, first of all, should replace our still largely degenerative economies, based on a linear logic with respect to resources: extract — manufacture — use — discard. The aim would be to restore both biological and technical nutrients in the context of an economy that becomes as circular as possible.


A distributive economy then, in which we do not just redistribute income a posteriori, but in which not only income, but also wealth, power and time are distributed from the outset among the actors. This distribution must be understood in the sense of networks, composed of a diversity of actors, which would make our economies much more resilient.