The donut business model and its application in Malta


The second day of the Malta Sustainability Forum, hosted by APS Bank, offered another selection of modules featuring top international local and foreign experts in their fields.

The first module on yesterday’s agenda was “Food for Planetary Well-being”. With speakers from all over the world, the panel discussed in detail aspects of food sustainability – how human behavior in terms of the food we eat and how it is sourced and produced is linked to climate change, biodiversity. and food security. The discussion also highlighted the basic human right to food, as society moves towards the 2030 goal of the UN’s second sustainability goal – zero hunger.

The second module on the agenda dealt with “Urban planning and the donut economic model”. Designed by British economist Kate Raworth, the model is a visual framework for sustainable development, which combines the concept of planetary boundaries with that of social boundaries.

With a keynote address by Joeri Oltheten, a strategic member of the Curacao Donut Economy Taskforce, which launched an initiative to implement the donut model in Curacao, panelists examined how other cities, such as Portland and Philadelphia, have been analyzed in terms of donut pattern. Next, Juan-Carlos Goilo, from the CTO Innovation Amsterdam team, shared examples of how Amsterdam is taking action when it comes to providing sustainable social housing to its citizens.

Highlighting the similarities between Curacao and Malta, Oltheten said the first step in applying the model here would be to: “Changing our outlook on society and trying to balance social needs with ecological needs instead of just looking at the economic growth “.

The ensuing roundtable started with the short film, Malta in the mirror. The film highlighted the long-term sustainability challenges facing Malta which may affect economic competitiveness in the future, as well as the social well-being of our residents. A number of panelists insisted that quality of life and well-being cannot be replaced. Related to this, the lack of green and social spaces weighs on people’s mental health, and this has been further exacerbated by recent lockdowns caused by COVID-19.

Upon further examination of the donut model, it became clear that sustainable urban design and planning could help eliminate social alienation. “We must put people back at the center of our thinking and review the quality of the urban development that surrounds us”, explained Maria Attard, head of geography and director of the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development of the University of Malta. .

“We need a revolution! We need to stop construction and rethink the way we manage urban development. When the module came to its conclusion, there was mutual agreement that long-term political support is needed to successfully adopt the donut model, with strong social, political and economic institutions providing the right framework for governance. As David Felice, executive director of AP Valletta, said, Valletta is a good metaphor. It is a city that has reinvented itself recently, adding a dimension of social interaction that has been lacking for many years. The prospect of applying the Donut model in Malta is therefore not an impossibility.

The last module of the second day of the forum was titled “Pitching for Good”. Speakers and panelists discussed how a number of organizations and companies are promoting sustainability through their services and products.

The Malta Sustainability Forum 2021 runs until Friday 29 January. To sign up and keep up with the latest updates, visit

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