3. Toward sustainable local development

3.2. Effects of complementary currencies

3.2.5. Reduction of environmental impact

A healthy environment is also critical to people’s well-being. Complementary currencies play an important role in endeavours to value the planet’s finite resources, overcome the doctrine of infinite economic growth and incentivize more sustainable behaviours.

  • Incentivization of sustainable behaviour. Complementary currencies can be designed with ecological objectives in mind and drive changes in patterns of consumption and behaviour that save energy, reduce waste, promote green food products or stimulate investment in renewable energy initiatives.
  • Valuing natural resources. Complementary currencies, which reflect the planet’s natural capacities, can promote more sustainable consumption and generate funds to invest in renewable energy projects.
  • Support for sustainable business practices. Complementary currencies encourage businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. These can be based on incentive and reward systems: consumers buying more sustainable products are rewarded with discounts on future purchases, and businesses are incentivized to sell to each other with the promise of increased sales. Alternatively, they can be based on the traceability of chains of production and distribution, encouraging local providers to join the programme, offering new opportunities to businesses and consumers to spend their money locally, and so reducing the carbon emissions generated by goods transportation.