Following yesterday’s post on the MD of Accenture’s statement of the urgent need to reduce carbon intensity and the need for systems thinking to achieve this, it seems appropriate to ask ourselves “What would it take to create a sustainable system, for business and the economy?”
The first step to that is having a life-supporting planet to live on.
So what are the critical earth system processes that we need to provide a life-supporting planet?
Johan Rockström of the Stockholm Resilience Centre answered that question and found there are nine key elements essential to a liveable environment. They include climate, water, the ozone layer, biodiversity and so on…
For each one there is an ‘outer’ limit, beyond which (if we go there) the continued ability of the planet to remain stable and support life (and an economy) falls.
For each one there is also an ‘inner limit’ — a lower level, which if we drop below it then we are not supporting as many people (or as much economy) as we might do.
Between these lower and upper limits, then, there is potential for the “doughnut economy” — a way of describing a set of ground rules for what it takes to create a sustainable economy, or at least the first step.
Peter Lacy last night called this model “The most comprehensive innovation map for the next forty years that anyone will ever draw you.”
Because moving our global economy to within these limits is what it will take to give us a habitable planet, optimised to support the maximum possible human population.
Kate Raworth explains it further, here: