CIRCULAR ECONOMY WALES
By Vicky Moller, the Rhwydwaith Network's Founding member and editor.
The reasons to consider the Celyn, complementary currency:
· Economic future forecast looking bleak
· Risk of economic power moving further into unrooted (multinational) business
· Government, voluntary sector and business need to join up / work together
· Low carbon transformation agenda needs grabbing
· Social fragmentation risk
What difference should it make?
A currency is only a tool, not an end in itself. Creating an economic tool that can only be used in local businesses will increase local economic activity, ie make the businesses more successful.
It saves sterling for those things we cannot buy locally, reducing debt, and moderating unwanted surpluses.
The local currency has by-products which are ends in themselves: It builds cooperation and relationship between the businesses, voluntary sector, customers, regulators and guests to the area. The relationships share love of locality. Trading becomes a symbol of our relationship to the place and each other. This in turn fosters wellbeing, it attracts guests, it expands economic activity in local community facing businesses.
Why do we think this will work when we know other attempts have not led anywhere?
We are modelling this on forms of currency that do work, eg the sardex and its copy cats.
There are significant differences between the currencies that work and the others with little impact.
We cannot guarantee it will work in Pembrokeshire or Wales. But the risks looming are so significant, it is worth preparing so we are resilient to them, like having a waterproof ready for the storm. The only significant risk is that this does only a little good and fizzles out, that it is a distraction. The potential benefits are so large they justify taking this minor risk.
So what are the conditions for success?
· Great management (in Sardinia by a group of young graduate enthusiasts)
· The right businesses especially to start with (mix, scale, locality, commitment)
· Copy the details that work (eg start business to business, percentage of turnover, IT system for transparency and simplicity, non transferable etc.
How to introduce it into Pembrokeshire?
Start with business and community leaders for different towns in the county, plus county leaders.
Invite them to talk to the man leading the initiative in Wales.
If any area decides to give it a trial then we need the right mix of businesses in that area and the right management team to quickly grow the scheme in response to demand. We need a small stimulus to get it going.