IGN learnings

Measuring green and inclusive growth

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Circle Economy

Ilektra Kouloumpi, Senior Strategist and Thriving Cities Lead

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Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics Model proposes a social foundation that we cannot fall below and an ecological ceiling that should not be exceeded if we are going to create an ecologically safe and socially just space for healthy people and a healthy planet. The model has been taken up by places around the world looking to deliver sustainable economic development.

With expert input from Circle Economy, we came together to discuss how the Doughnut Model and other frameworks can be used to measure progress towards inclusive economic growth and environmental sustainability. This workshop was the first in the IGN’s Green Growth series.

Applying the Doughnut model to Amsterdam

  • Co-creation. Amsterdam brought multi-disciplinary change makers together across sectors, departments and specialisms to break down siloes and design a holistic strategy combining social, economic and environmental targets. It mapped all existing city targets against the doughnut framework to understand where the city was as a whole.
  • A shared vision. City planners across departments and sectors were able to find synergies - "How can a strategy about housing have positive impacts on health, education, climate, air pollution or even gender equality?". City stakeholders were brought into a conversation about how they could contribute to the shared vision: "How does your organisation contribute towards the vision of a circular Amsterdam within the Doughnut?".
  • A holistic strategy. Three key value chains with 200 aligning citywide projects: (1) Food & Biomass ‘promoting short food chains’; (2) Consumer Goods  ‘reducing consumption of goods'; and (3) Construction  developing ‘circular and socially responsible criteria for construction'.

Key learnings

  • Understand the trade-offs. Any trade-offs made between economic, social and environmental objectives will need to be determined at the local level based on how the model fits with short and long-term agendas.
  • Use the doughnut to show impact. It can be used for both internal monitoring and external communication of a place’s goals.
  • Develop a monitoring framework based on how the model will be used. Metrics should underpin each section of the doughnut, but these should be tailored depending on the use. Potential applications of the doughnut model include an internal tracker with frequent data releases, a decision-making tool for all council decisions, and/or a communication tool to the public to communicate priorities.
  • Delivery requires collaboration and partnership working. Most local or combined authorities will not have many of the levers to deliver the objectives of the doughnut, but it is important to put the agenda on the table, inspire action by demonstrating the challenges, and demonstrate responsiveness and ambition in place leadership to tackle the big issues. This kind of call to action can inspire other stakeholders to get onboard.

Ilektra Kouloumpi, Senior Strategist and Thriving Cities Lead at Circle Economy, explored the merits and local applications of the doughnut economy model.