The model was developed by Kate Raworth as a way to assess the performance of an economy and ensuring the needs of people are met without overshooting our planets ecological ceiling.
An adapted model is shown to the right, and is essentially a circle with a hole in the middle – the donut! The central hole represents an area where people lack access to life’s essentials (food, water, housing etc.), while the outer crust represents the ceiling that life depends on and must not be overshot.
An economy, and business, is considered prosperous when all the social foundations are met without overshooting any element of the ecological ceiling. The space between these two zones is described by Raworth as being “the safe and just space for humanity”.
This addresses the twelve basic human needs, as agreed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
The donut economics model suggests that businesses should strive to be in the “goldilocks zone”; the area where foundational social goals are exceeded but the ecological ceiling is not breached.
The concepts of social foundation and ecological ceilings are not new to exploration and mining, although we see more visible efforts in these aspects in larger, well-funding mining operations.
We can address social foundation by working with communities to provide work opportunities, education and training initiatives, promote diversity in the workforce. Through these simple efforts, we can achieve social equity and allow all groups to have a voice.
Exploration does have an impact on the biosphere, but this can be managed so as to not push the limits of the land. Aeonian is working to measure our greenhouse gas emissions to reduce climate change and ocean acidification. We can also take steps to prevent chemical pollution and take steps to stop unnecessary land conversion.
For humanity to continue to prosper, we must not overshoot nine planetary boundaries as defined by the Stockholm Resilience Center: