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Our currently accepted economic model, and the structures, behaviours, and governance processes accompanying it, were developed over a 100 years ago - with a focus on GDP and a faith that growth would continue with infinite natural resources.

This faith was misplaced. The impact of climate change and pollution is well documented. We have also witnessed the harmful impacts on society of widening inequality. These impacts can be environmental as well as human - and reducing inequality can be a powerful driver of carbon reduction. Recent research shows that educating girls is more effective in the climate emergency than many green technologies. The UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, recognises the importance of equity, and the inter-relationship between the two.

Economist Kate Raworth’s concept of the doughnut economy helps us to visualise these challenges, recognising that the earth’s resources are finite, and that we need to balance our use of available resources. If we use too much, we endanger the survival of our planet, if we use resources unfairly (some receiving too little) we create human suffering and instability. The challenge is to keep within the ring of the doughnut.

Understanding and accepting this reality presents businesses with a framework to expand its thinking and focus beyond short term profit.

Sallie Bridgen, Ruby Star Associates
(Delivery Partner for the ‘Sustainable Growth Bootcamp: Big Impact, Small Footprint’)