The Women’s Equality Party (WE) has voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting an economic model created by the Oxford economist Kate Raworth.

The Doughnut Economics model has gained increasing prominence in recent months, featuring in David Attenborough’s book, ‘A Life On Our Planet’.

WE held its conference online from 15 to 18 October, with the party’s deputy leader, Tabitha Morton, proposing a motion entitled ‘Reimagining the UK Economic and Political System’. Part of the motion includes using the doughnut model “to assess every budget and initiative at all level of UK government, from Westminster through to Parish Councils.”

In an article explaining why the party had adopted her motion, Morton wrote: “Doughnut economics will be at the heart of our policies from now on and we hope that other parties follow our lead. But this doesn’t have to come from the top down.”

The party, which was founded in 2015 by journalist Catherine Mayer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, won two local council seats in 2019, and stood survivors of male violence as candidates in the 2019 General Election.

Morton’s motion also called on UK governments at local and national level to “Stop using GDP as the primary measure of economic success or progress, instead measuring the wellbeing of citizens and the environment.”

The party is the first in the UK to fully embrace Raworth’s Doughnut model, so-called as it aims for society to stay within the central ring of the doughnut, by ensuring it meets the needs of all people whilst living within the means of our planetary boundaries.

Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics model

In response to WE’s adoption of her model, Raworth told The Oxford Blue, “The Women’s Equality Party is the first political party to make Doughnut Economics their official party policy. Their leadership is to be celebrated. But it’s equally important that Doughnut Economics has been gaining traction with political parties across the spectrum in the UK.”

Doughnut economics, Raworth added, “has also been engaged with by the Green Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and some senior Conservatives.”

“This matters because the vision of an economy that aims to meet the needs of all within the means of the living planet is neither left nor right: it’s a 21st century vision that makes sense for humanity.”

She stated: “The fact that we must aim now to create an economy that delivers wellbeing and thriving for people and planet should be a common sense starting point for all politics.”

Last month, the Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL) launched its online community platform, where it hopes to help communities, the education sector, cities, businesses and governments to turn the ideas of the Doughnut into “transformative action,” and to “create systemic change.”

A statement on the DEAL website adds: “DEAL is very intentionally an Action Lab: we are focused on turning ideas into action, and on learning with and from others through experiments in co-creating a new economy.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing global movement advocating a ‘green recovery’ from the crisis, which has been closely linked to human destruction and interference with the natural world.

Sir David Attenborough’s new book and film of the same name, ‘A Life On Our Planet’, not only discuss the link between COVID and human destruction of nature, but also includes the Doughnut Model as part of the solution to biodiversity loss and the climate crisis.

Attenborough writes: “We have a plan. We know what to do. There is a path to sustainability. It is a path that could lead to a better future for all life on Earth.”

Whilst world leaders grapple with the political, economic and social consequences of COVID-19, there appears to be a growing political recognition of the need to place the natural world at the centre of the post-pandemic recovery.

Max Spokes

Max (he/him) was formerly Environment News Editor and Climate Columnist at The Blue. He is in his final year studying History and Politics at Balliol.