Advanced

Local currencies: a tool for sustainability? : a: transitions perspective on the impacts of local currencies for sustainability : the case of the Bristol Pound

Toste, Thiago Henrique LU (2018) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20181
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
This research investigates the contribution of local currencies to sustainability. I look at a specific local currency scheme (the Bristol Pound, in Bristol, United Kingdom) through a transitions perspective, employing a Transitions Evaluation Framework, Multi-Level and Multi-Phase Perspectives to conduct my analysis. I use a qualitative triangulation approach to collect data, namely semi-structured interviews in combination with participant observation and document review, and analyze this data through inductive and deductive coding. My findings reveal that the Bristol Pound’s contribution to sustainability is diffusive, that is, concerns the experiment's capacity to influence mainstream regimes. As of now, the Bristol Pound does not... (More)
This research investigates the contribution of local currencies to sustainability. I look at a specific local currency scheme (the Bristol Pound, in Bristol, United Kingdom) through a transitions perspective, employing a Transitions Evaluation Framework, Multi-Level and Multi-Phase Perspectives to conduct my analysis. I use a qualitative triangulation approach to collect data, namely semi-structured interviews in combination with participant observation and document review, and analyze this data through inductive and deductive coding. My findings reveal that the Bristol Pound’s contribution to sustainability is diffusive, that is, concerns the experiment's capacity to influence mainstream regimes. As of now, the Bristol Pound does not provide intrinsic contributions to sustainability. The currency contributes to increasing people's sense of socio-ecological stewardship and democratic governance, but does not increase resource maintenance and efficiency, intra- and intergenerational equity and livelihood sufficiency and opportunity, despite its intention. The scheme lacks mechanisms to stimulate the localization of supply chains, relying on the assumption that when it achieves a higher volume of trade in the local currency, localization will naturally occur. I show how this assumption is misguided. Moreover, the transition experiment is confined to a very homogeneous group of users, not engaging with the demographics of Bristol. Indicators to track its social and environmental performance are also lacking; the scheme relies on the assumption that local businesses naturally perform better than international businesses on those grounds. This lack of performance tracking makes the community of users and businesses unsure about the benefits the local currency delivers to the city. The City Council is also unsure about these benefits, and therefore cannot justify funding the local currency scheme. These factors limit the sustainability contribution of the scheme and require the development of accountability and stimulation mechanisms to drive local procurement, performance indicators to track its environmental and social performance, and initiatives to engage the city’s demographics. I discuss how the transition experiment could follow either successful or unsuccessful transition pathways in light of these limitations, and then suggest possible strategies to follow a successful pathway, taking inspiration from another local currency scheme. I conclude reflecting on the implications of this research for the field of sustainability science. (Less)
Popular Abstract
This research investigates the contribution of local currencies to sustainability. I look at a specific local currency scheme (the Bristol Pound, in Bristol, United Kingdom) through a transitions perspective, employing a Transitions Evaluation Framework, Multi-Level and Multi-Phase Perspectives to conduct my analysis. I use a qualitative triangulation approach to collect data, namely semi-structured interviews in combination with participant observation and document review, and analyze this data through inductive and deductive coding. My findings reveal that the Bristol Pound’s contribution to sustainability is diffusive, that is, concerns the experiment's capacity to influence mainstream regimes. As of now, the Bristol Pound does not... (More)
This research investigates the contribution of local currencies to sustainability. I look at a specific local currency scheme (the Bristol Pound, in Bristol, United Kingdom) through a transitions perspective, employing a Transitions Evaluation Framework, Multi-Level and Multi-Phase Perspectives to conduct my analysis. I use a qualitative triangulation approach to collect data, namely semi-structured interviews in combination with participant observation and document review, and analyze this data through inductive and deductive coding. My findings reveal that the Bristol Pound’s contribution to sustainability is diffusive, that is, concerns the experiment's capacity to influence mainstream regimes. As of now, the Bristol Pound does not provide intrinsic contributions to sustainability. The currency contributes to increasing people's sense of socio-ecological stewardship and democratic governance, but does not increase resource maintenance and efficiency, intra- and intergenerational equity and livelihood sufficiency and opportunity, despite its intention. The scheme lacks mechanisms to stimulate the localization of supply chains, relying on the assumption that when it achieves a higher volume of trade in the local currency, localization will naturally occur. I show how this assumption is misguided. Moreover, the transition experiment is confined to a very homogeneous group of users, not engaging with the demographics of Bristol. Indicators to track its social and environmental performance are also lacking; the scheme relies on the assumption that local businesses naturally perform better than international businesses on those grounds. This lack of performance tracking makes the community of users and businesses unsure about the benefits the local currency delivers to the city. The City Council is also unsure about these benefits, and therefore cannot justify funding the local currency scheme. These factors limit the sustainability contribution of the scheme and require the development of accountability and stimulation mechanisms to drive local procurement, performance indicators to track its environmental and social performance, and initiatives to engage the city’s demographics. I discuss how the transition experiment could follow either successful or unsuccessful transition pathways in light of these limitations, and then suggest possible strategies to follow a successful pathway, taking inspiration from another local currency scheme. I conclude reflecting on the implications of this research for the field of sustainability science. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Toste, Thiago Henrique LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
local currencies, sustainability assessment, sustainability science, sustainability transitions, Bristol Pound
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2018:006
language
English
id
8948671
date added to LUP
2018-06-16 11:54:06
date last changed
2018-06-16 11:54:06
@misc{8948671,
  abstract     = {This research investigates the contribution of local currencies to sustainability. I look at a specific local currency scheme (the Bristol Pound, in Bristol, United Kingdom) through a transitions perspective, employing a Transitions Evaluation Framework, Multi-Level and Multi-Phase Perspectives to conduct my analysis. I use a qualitative triangulation approach to collect data, namely semi-structured interviews in combination with participant observation and document review, and analyze this data through inductive and deductive coding. My findings reveal that the Bristol Pound’s contribution to sustainability is diffusive, that is, concerns the experiment's capacity to influence mainstream regimes. As of now, the Bristol Pound does not provide intrinsic contributions to sustainability. The currency contributes to increasing people's sense of socio-ecological stewardship and democratic governance, but does not increase resource maintenance and efficiency, intra- and intergenerational equity and livelihood sufficiency and opportunity, despite its intention. The scheme lacks mechanisms to stimulate the localization of supply chains, relying on the assumption that when it achieves a higher volume of trade in the local currency, localization will naturally occur. I show how this assumption is misguided. Moreover, the transition experiment is confined to a very homogeneous group of users, not engaging with the demographics of Bristol. Indicators to track its social and environmental performance are also lacking; the scheme relies on the assumption that local businesses naturally perform better than international businesses on those grounds. This lack of performance tracking makes the community of users and businesses unsure about the benefits the local currency delivers to the city. The City Council is also unsure about these benefits, and therefore cannot justify funding the local currency scheme. These factors limit the sustainability contribution of the scheme and require the development of accountability and stimulation mechanisms to drive local procurement, performance indicators to track its environmental and social performance, and initiatives to engage the city’s demographics. I discuss how the transition experiment could follow either successful or unsuccessful transition pathways in light of these limitations, and then suggest possible strategies to follow a successful pathway, taking inspiration from another local currency scheme. I conclude reflecting on the implications of this research for the field of sustainability science.},
  author       = {Toste, Thiago Henrique},
  keyword      = {local currencies,sustainability assessment,sustainability science,sustainability transitions,Bristol Pound},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Local currencies: a tool for sustainability? : a: transitions perspective on the impacts of local currencies for sustainability : the case of the Bristol Pound},
  year         = {2018},
}