The Digital Doughnut: A holistic way of exploring tech's impact on global sustainability

Alistair Alexander, Emilio Velis

In this workshop we’ll explore a deeper, more holistic approach to sustainabilty and technology with the help of a simple doughnut - or more specificallly the transformative Doughnut Economics Model.
Hands On

When sustainability is discussed in tech, we often focus on renewable energy for data centres, or recycled materials in devices. This is a great start, but the sector is in danger of overlooking the big, more difficult questions.

Questions like: what exactly are those paradigms, systems and root causes that have got us into a rapidly warming climate? And how is this industry culpable? What do we need to change? In this workshop we’ll use the “Doughnut Economic Model” ( to explore in depth what our technology would could look like to be truly sustainable.

Imagine a simple doughnut drawn on a piece of paper - with a whole in the middle, an inner ring and then an outer ring.

The Doughnut Model asks what do we need to change, not just to survive, but for us to thrive on this planet, all 8 billion of us: the inner ring is the minimum quality of life all humans should reach, as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the outer ring is the planetary boundaries which we must not exceed for life to continue, including climate change, but also resource depletion, deforesation and bio-diversity.

The space between the rings is the sweet spot, and the aim of this workshop is to map out the changes we need in the technology sectors and the technologies we use to get us there.

Through structured group exercises we’ll work and dream across three different aspects of the Doughnut Model as it applies to the digital world:
• What would it mean for the digital tech workforce to thrive?
• What would it mean for the digital tech industry to respect the wellbeing of people worldwide?
• What would it mean for the digital tech industry to respect the health of the whole planet? And we’ll build our own unique portrait of a sustainable - and possible - digital world.

Find out about our previous Doughnut workshops here:

Emilio Velis's participation at re:publica 23 is kindly made possible by the Robert Bosch Foundation