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The LoREco project wants to support the development and strengthening of local, regenerative economies.
Hence, LoREco will provide an economic system that wants to maximise the following elements, on a local
- augment financial security
- provide space for personal development
- (re)active the local social connects
- aid ecological recovery
- add additional meaning to ‘value’
In order to achieve these elements, LoREco developed a currency-ecosystem that is parallel and
complementary to the euro. This currency-ecosystem is built around a digital complementary currency.
With this currency, goods and services can be bought from actors that are part of the ecosystem. The
euro is regarded as a reference to enable the ‘correct’ pricing of the goods and services in the
complementary currency. One coin in this currency can, for instance, be equal to one euro. In the
currency ecosystem, it will not be possible to directly exchange complementary currency for euro and
vice versa, it is thus a unit of account, not an exchange rate.
LoREco developed a digital tool for interaction that enables two main functions. On the one hand, the
tool is a platform where providers of goods and/or services can easily be matched with potential buyers
and vice versa. On the other hand, this tool enables the currency transactions and logs the current
accounts of each participant in a transparent and simple way.
Each month, every person that is part of the currency-ecosystem will receive a fixed and unconditional
amount (i.e. guaranteed income) of complementary currency in their account which can be spend within the
ecosystem as they see fit. The size of this guaranteed income will depend on the size and financial base
of the ecosystem. In other words, when only few actors participate within the system, the guaranteed
income will be rather small. As soon as several different buyers and providers are active, the amount
can go up.
The limits of the currency-ecosystem are determined by the network of actors within it. The LoREco
project envisions an ecosystem on the city/village level, where each actor within the city or village
(e.g. citizens, shops, businesses, NGO’s, municipal services, etc.) can participate in the
currency-ecosystem. However, such systems can also be developed on a smaller scale (e.g. a network of
actors working on a specific common goal) or on a larger scale ((bio)regional).
Sustainability and regeneration are at the centre of the LoREco currency-ecosystem. Sustainability is
defined broad and holistically, ranging from sustainability on natural capital, financial capital,
intellectual capital to human and social capital. Actors active in the ecosystem will not only gear
their organisations to treat these multi-capitals responsibly, it is preferred that their activities are
of a regenerative nature. In other words, actions are taken to positively affect one or more of the five
capitals. Thus, although everyone within the ecosystem can provide goods and services in the
complementary currency, they will be strongly stimulated to organise their activities as sustainably as
Each provider in the ecosystem will be able to show and prove their sustainability efforts. This is made
possible by, on the one hand, achieving the standards of a number of existing labels that fit the
multi-capitalframework (e.g. BCorp, Fairfin label, …) and, on the other hand, by drafting and commiting
to a personalized charter in which the organisation puts forward a number of goals regarding the
positive and sustainable handling of one or several of the different capitals. The progress on these
goals is monitored by a specialized organisation. Moreover, a peer-review ratingsysteem is installed to
enable the participants to develop a sustainability score for each provider.
Based on these sustainability assessments, each provider will be categorized in the corresponding
sustainability level or tier. These sustainability tiers can range from ‘intention to become more
sustainable’ over ‘capital neutral’ to ‘regenerative provider’. Additional efforts to better the
sustainability of their activities allows providers to rise between the tiers.
These sustainability tiers are linked to a reward system with bonus coins for the buyers. Those who
spend their complementary currency on more sustainable goods and/or services, will receive a certain
amount of bonus coins. To check if one has a right to the bonus, the ratio of ‘sustainably spend coins’
versus the total amount spend that month, will be calculated every month. Spending with providers in
higher sustainability tiers, will have a higher weight in the calculations. As soon as the ratio is high
enough, bonus coins will be added to the participant’s account.
It is possible to save complementary currency in your account. However, to prevent excessive
accumulation of coins, a percentage of negative interest (demurrage) will be owed as soon as a certain
threshold is reached. The demurrage system is a progressive system; a fair amount of savings is always
demurrage-free, but as soon as the threshold is reached, the percentage of demurrage will increase at
certain levels of saved coins.
The amount of coins collected by the demurrage will, to a certain extent, be reinvested in the local
economy through projects of providers in high sustainability tiers or in projects of providers from
lower tiers aimed at progressing into a higher tier. The digital tool for interaction can be used by
each participant in the currency ecosystem to indicate which projects for the common goods they want to
support, should demurrage be applied to their saved amount of coins.