Last year SEUK’s Social Enterprise Futures event was bought to a close by renowned economist, Kate Raworth who introduced the concept of doughnut economics.

This is a radically new way of looking at the economy reframing what the economy is for from a system based on endless expansion to one based on thriving in balance.

You can watch Kate’s speech here:

The key aim of this new model is to put people and planet over profit. No one should be left falling short on the essentials of life such as having access to food, water, shelter or a voice.  However, we need to meet the needs of all people within the means of the living planet. The goal is to create an economy which allows for both these needs that allows human flourishing within planetary boundaries – a “safe and just space for humanity.” This requires a move from a degenerative to regenerative economy, from divisive businesses motivated by shareholder value and profit to re-distributive ones.

This is why to get to a equitable and sustainable world we need to be in the space between these two boundaries – we need to be within the doughnut.

doughnut economics - social enterprise uk COP 26

Through being businesses set up to address inequalities social enterprises are helping ensure that people are able to access life’s essentials such as stable well-paid employment and the access to vital services this brings. They are also working directly to address issues around access to education, healthcare, food and water. What’s more, as research from the latest State of Social Enterprise Report shows they serious about protecting the planet. Many have a primary environmental mission such as running community-owned energy schemes but the research shows that 67% of all social enterprises have a plan to embed tackling climate into their constitution or articles of association. All businesses should be doing everything they can to reduce their environmental harm and maximise the social value they create so we move away from our extractive, planet destroying model and into the safe and just space within the doughnut. Social enterprises are, on the most part, businesses that are already there. They are already doing the doughnut which is why they are the future of business.

The role of social enterprises in tackling the climate emergency will be a key focus of Social Enterprise Futures – a month long festival from 8 November to 8 December for those who believe that changing how we do business is vital to building a fairer, more sustainable world. We’ll be exploring the links between social and environmental justice and also responding to the fallout from COP26 itself. Find out more and get your tickets here >>