DOUGHNUT (economics) FOR ALL

For an economy that better suits everyone's appetite, we call on the EU to:

Refocus from GDP growth to wellbeing

The EU annual green investment gap alone is estimated to be over 520 billion euros, but our outdated fiscal rules are handcuffs. It’s time to put environmental, social and gender justice goals at the heart of EU economic governance and policy and enable the shift towards a wellbeing economy. Check our Beyond GDP briefing, manifesto and our wellbeing economy report.

Set binding material footprint reduction targets

Sets binding material footprint reduction targets

Today, the EU uses 15 tonnes of resources per capita annually,  as if we had almost 3 planets. Recycling is not enough: we need to cut on resource use by wasting less, sharing more, and making daily products last longer. It’s time to set binding targets to reduce material footprint by 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2040 on top of GHG emissions reduction targets. Check our ‘Green mining is a myth’ report and urban mining video.

Choose less and better animal proteins

Choose less and better animal proteins

Our nitrogen and phosphorus overshoot comes from overproduction and overconsumption of animal proteins. We need less and better animal farming, circular and nature-friendly nitrogen and phosphorus management and healthy sustainable diets, with less animal proteins. Learn more here and here.

Doughnut economy: the solution to our growing pain

With a graph shaped like a familiar pastry, the ‘doughnut economics’ model developed by economist Kate Raworth aims to boost the wellbeing of all within planetary boundaries.

Our current economic model has driven societies to extract more resources and produce more products than we need, exploiting labour and nature far beyond their limits.
It is time to end our dependence on endless economic growth and heal the double burnout of our society and planet.
The doughnut economics model can guide us towards a more sustainable and fair economy: it highlights a range of minimum social criteria and maximum ecosystem limits. The sweet spot in between is the ‘doughnut’, a safe space where people and nature can thrive together across generations.
Doughnut (economic Model)

DG DOUGHNUT, for a well-rounded EU economy


The IPCC’s climate scientists and the European Environment Agency have recently upped their language on the urgent need for alternative economic models, both mentioning ‘doughnut economics’ as a viable alternative for sustainable development.

Reducing our demand for materials and fossil fuel energy is even cited as something that will “help achieve well-being for all”. Yet EU and national policies are still focused on GDP growth at any cost.

The EU is so committed to economic growth that its executive body, the European Commission, has a fully dedicated department called DG GROW. But the endless growth model is well past its trend: it is time for a change in focus – and why not for a rebrand from DG GROW to DG DOUGHNUT?

It is, after all, a sweeter deal!

What does reorienting our society entail?


Article: Is GDP taking us beyond our limits?

We are living in an era of “Great Acceleration” which leads to global warming, growing income inequality, water scarcity, and continued deforestation. Here are two key publications that pave the way to a more sustainable development, as well as the path forward.

Article: From growth to doughnut: towards a well-rounded EU economy

What do rising burnout rates and scientists’ alarming reports on climate breakdown have in common? They both point to an economic system that pushes people and the planet beyond the boundaries they can cope with. The doughnut economy offers a sweeter deal than this broken system.

RSS Fresh doughnut news

  • Shifting the Brussels Economy – A Doughnut Story 31 May 2023
    In response to the 2023 Beyond Growth Conference, this piece is the seventh in a weekly series that was published together on 8 May in a special issue magazine, “Imagining Europe Beyond Growth”, developed in partnership with Belgian de-growth think tank Oikos. The magazine, curated by our Senior Policy Officer for Systemic Change Nick Meynen, features 18 […]
  • Eleventh hour climate action: in defence of protest 12 April 2023
    In advance of the highly anticipated 2023 Beyond Growth Conference, this piece is the first in a weekly series to be published together on 8 May in special issue magazine “Imagining Europe Beyond Growth”, developed in partnership with Belgian de-growth think tank Oikos. The magazine, curated by our Senior Policy Officer for Systemic Change Nick […]
  • Austria’s new year’s resolution: wellbeing within planetary boundaries 12 January 2023
    Nothing says “happy new year” like a bold and much-needed resource use reduction target. Following the Finnish and Dutch lead, the Austrian government is setting a new year’s resolution to systemically trim down on material footprint, Bich Dao reports. Overconsumption is so last year. With growing evidence of the close link between environmental degradation and […]
  • Enabling the EU wellbeing economy: we need a new pact, not a rule tweak 9 November 2022
    Today, the European Commission (EC) released an orientation paper which sets out the reform direction for the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), EU fiscal rules, and the wider EU economic governance. The paper covers several long-overdue reforms, yet it fails to induce the paradigm shift needed to enable a just transition towards a wellbeing economy, […]
  • It’s high time to reduce working time 8 November 2022
    What if one political decision could revolutionise climate chaos, energy shortages, job burn-out, accidents, inequality, and ageing? Implementing a four-day work week could just do that. Nick Meynen and Andreas Budiman report. Giving people more freedom from work helps them live lifestyles that support limiting global warming. With extra time, people could go to community […]
Doughnuts (economics) for all
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