A visualization of sustainability represented by concentric rings (hence the doughnut). At the center are twelve factors necessary to support life that array outward. The first ring closest to the center is the minimum required for society to function, but as it extends outward it reaches the ‘ecological ceiling’ such as climate change, pollution, etc.
The purpose of the model is to use it as a framework for making economic decisions. For example, an economic policy could encourage more oil drilling, but that would cause an overshoot of the energy needs of society causing harmful effects (e.g. greenhouse gases, pollution, and land conversion). Using this framework, one could better make decisions that are grounded in sustainability.