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As part of our 9th year of research on Planetary Limits and Social Thresholds (infographic) – we are showcasing how other organisations are downscaling the limits and thresholds – including

*Wales - Link

*Europe - Link.

Here we share how the City of Amsterdam used doughnut thinking to set out their vision of how Amsterdam can be a home to thriving city? Amsterdam used the inspiring new methodological guide for downscaling the Doughnut to the city from Kate Raworth (Creating City Portraits - Link).

The Amsterdam City Doughnut was developed through Doughnut Workshops held in seven neighbourhoods, and considers the doughnut through four lenses:

*Planetary limits – local and global

*Social thresholds – local and global.

[See here for the full report from Kate Raworth and the Amsterdam team.]

1. PLANETARY LIMITS – LOCAL: What would it mean for Amsterdam to thrive within its natural habitat?

The Amsterdam doughnut starts with the city’s impact on the surrounding local ecosystems including how they provide water, regulate air quality, regulate temperature, support biodiversity, protect against erosion, sequester carbon, and harvest energy and asks, “What if cities were designed to be as generous and resilient as the ecosystems in which they are located?”

2. PLANETARY LIMITS – GLOBAL: What would it mean for Amsterdam to respect the health of the whole planet?

The Amsterdam doughnut also explores the city’s impact on global planetary limits and finds the city of Amsterdam:

*Climate change – exceeds boundary by 1.9 times

*Ocean acidification – exceeds boundary by 1.9 times

*Land use – exceeds boundary by 2.6 times

*Water – is at the threshold of the boundary

*Fertiliser use – exceeds boundary by 1.8 times.

3. SOCIAL THRESHOLDS – LOCAL: What would it mean for the people of Amsterdam to thrive?

At a local level, Amsterdam clustered the social thresholds into four areas:

*Healthy – focusing on food, water, health and housing

*Enabled – considering energy, income, employment, and education

*Connected – around community, digital connectivity, culture and mobility

*Empowered – via social equity, political voice, equality in diversity, peace and justice.

4. SOCIAL THRESHOLDS – GLOBAL: What would it mean for Amsterdam to respect the wellbeing of people worldwide?

At a global level the Amsterdam Doughnut assessed the city’s impacts (positive and negative) on the wellbeing of people worldwide (e.g. through purchases, remittances, investments, innovations, educational opportunities and cultural influence).


What does this mean?

The Amsterdam Doughnut is exciting as it provides proof that an organisation can downscale the doughnut and sets the challenge to business.

“How do you downscale the doughnut to the scale of your organisation?”

Article 13 have been working with companies and brands around the world to integrate planetary limits and social thresholds into their organisation, including using doughnut thinking to:

1.Identify an organisation’s real sustainability priorities

2. Develop meaningful measurement indicators – based on global limits and thresholds

3. Set proper (context-based) targets – to deliver what the world needs

4. Provoke discussion and open up new questions, solutions and innovations.

Does your organisation thrive within planetary boundaries and social thresholds? For countries and business to play its part in the achievement of living within our planetary boundaries, they must address their real impact on the planet’s resources and base reduction targets on what the world needs them to do. For further details, please contact Article 13 or see our website


The Amsterdam City Doughnut. A tool for transformative action:

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