A complementary currency taking into account the planetary boundaries

EBM is an idea from QG Enviro, a no profit focusing on environmental awareness. This idea was already finalist in“Printing Real Lives” 2017, a contest from Saxoprint GmbH.



We are consumers and producers: what we buy and sell in this economic paradigm have a huge impact on our biosphere. Why? Because money doesn't take into account natural resources and classifies them as "externalities". What if we try to create a complementary money, that take into account them? Maybe we can make consumers and producers more aware about their impact, because they get benefit from it!



EarthBoundMoney is a community bonus that can be added to national currencies. It takes into account the physical limitations of the Planet and gives value to every product and service, depending on how much these have impacts on the environment and society. It can be developed at a national level, under the vigilance of the Ministry of Economic Development.

The ministry creates a group of experts that develops an EBM, linked to the current currency with a ratio of 1 to 1.

But how do they can calculate this "earthbound" currency? Similarly to an LCA study, in this case simplified.
Indeed, the percentage of discount depends on the score the products obtain (1 to 10) for each of these 7 factors:

- Distance (Where do the product come from?, in km);

- Process (There's a label for the process, for example organic/fairtrade?);

- Materials and natural resources (it's better wood than plastic, but is better local wood than wood from endangered species);

- Circularity (is this product easy to reuse or at least recycle?)

- Direct climate impacts (calculating CO2 production from cradle to grave)

- Social Impacts (Are there positive or negative impacts on local communities?)

- Cultural "biodiversity" in the community (Is it the product coming from ancient heritage or tradition?)

A similar group of index could be made for services too.

Depending on the type of p / s, each of these factors varies a lot in terms of relative importance. The system is an improvement: the subject providing the p / s, in order to obtain greater bonuses in EBM, tends to modify the production supply in order to be always competitive on its territory.

At the end, the product receive a percentage of discount, that retailers joining the EBM can use in their shops. Customers will benefit of the discount using their EBM.

Let's make a simple example: one box of pasta is made with wheat from USA in North Italy and sold in South Italy. It costs 0.50 euro/kg.

Another one is made in South Italy, from a local mill. It costs 1,00 euro/kg. The first one will have no/a little EBM value, the other one will have a score of 30%. The consumer can buy this one with 0.70 euro and 0.30 EBM.



The registration of shops and consumers involves a credit of 1000 EBM per year, which will be loaded on a personal electronic card. Every retailer can ask  directly the experts group to assess the social and environmental sustainability of a particular p / s. The more p / s is positive for the environment and the community, the higher the EBM value that can be obtained, up to a maximum of 50% of the total value.

In this way, starting from one product/service, the group of experts can slowly grow a database of assessed p/s and amend or slightly change the values on the run.

We think that the best way to make EBM works, is to build local circuits built on the needs of the commercial activities and of the individual citizens who registers in it. So every town, village or neighborhood in a city should have a centre for EBM, that can be used for information, advertisment and help for citizens. The goal is to build a national framework, but with strong local roots. What we want to highlight is that only a widespread network can make a big change in consumers habits.



Why EBM can be so important for biodiverstiy? Consumers tend to buy cheaper p/s, even if they are harmful for the biosphere. Adding an "environmental" discount,  we can make people understand that what is cheap for the modern economic paradigm can be very costly for biosphere. We are losing biodiversity because we are destroying habitats, polluting air, water and soil, overexploiting resources.

This factors must be considered in the "economy" of the planet: the word economy in ancient greek means literally "management of the house". What makes the management of our house moving is money. Change that, and we can hack a better present and future for us.