Implementation funding and resources wanted

Parties wishing to assist in establishing an alternative source of liquidity to sustain their business are invited to register their interest with Dr. Shann Turnbull In 2012 our name was changed to the SUSTAINABLE MONEY WORKING GROUP (SMWG).


The objectives of the Sustainable Money Working Group (SMWG) are to:

  1. Sustain small and intermediate sized businesses (SMEs) by providing alternative sources of liquidity in the event that a financial crisis deters banks from providing finance;
  2. Establish a basis to develop a crisis and inflation resisting financial system that can also protect and nurture the environment to sustain humanity on the planet.

The first objective can be achieved by introducing a cost carrying type of money that was used very successful during the Great Depression. It was called “Stamp scrip” as each week a stamp worth 2% of its face value had to be affixed to the notes to keep them valid. Revenues from the sale of stamps over a year amounted to 104%. This is more than enough to allow the money to be given away to a SME or individual as the issuer recovers 4% more than the value provided. A local business association or government body typically issued stamp scrip.

Cell phone technology now makes it practical to re-introduce cost carrying money. Cell phones are widely used in developing countries to store and transfer money independently of the banking system. Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) of cell phones can store and send stored value to other cell phones. Cell phone can act as swipe cards or transmit values to other phones in various units of value. This makes it practical for the issuers of money to collect a fee for its use. Cell phones represent a disruptive banking technology.

The second objective can be achieved by using local renewable energy to establish the value of money. All economic values, prices and market forces would then be determined by the local endowment of renewable energy.

Electrical energy is measured in kilo-Watt-hours (kWr). Money values pegged to renewable kWh would produce sustainalbe $kWh. Sustainable Energy Dollars (SEDs=$Z) could become a global unit of account with a local unit of value. As the productivity of technology for converting renewable energy into electricity improves the value of $Z would be enhanced to reverse inflation. Central banks or their governments would no longer be required to protect the value of money.

Beside resisting inflation, $Z would also be crisis resisting as it would be created on a decentralized basis according local renewable energy endowments. Decentralization creates resiliency. These factors should provide an incentive for traders and investors to write contracts in $RE rather than in current forms of unanchored fiat money. Centralized fiat money is subject to government manipulation and subject to unpredictable financial shocks and unknown external influences.

Individuals and businesses commonly create credit. However, its creditability might not be sufficient to be accepted as a median of exchange. The decentralized creation of credit by individuals and investors who create value would require credit insurance to allow local credits to take on a monetary role. If we accept that those who wish to use money need to pay the cost of getting it established then the cost of credit insurance would be attached to the money. This would make $RE a form of cost carrying money.

Cost carrying money removes the ability of money to be: (a) a store of value; (b) create inequality from moneymaking money; (c) increasing in value without any relationship to the real economy or well-being of society; (d) create financial asset bubbles, and/or (d) lead to the “financialization” of the economy (Palley 2007).

There are five other reasons for using sustainable kWhs as a monetary unit of value as:

1.   It increases the viability of renewable energy to reduce the need and/or extent of carbon taxing or trading (Turnbull 2010c);

2.   It connects the value of money to the quality of life and/or standard of living as these closely correlate with energy consumption;

3.   It is democratic as the value of local money can be independently determined any where on the planet as renewable energy is available in some form everywhere;

4.   It creates a market mechanism for distributing humanity on the planet to those regions that are most richly endowed with renewable energy;

5. It creates a feedback mechanism for nature to inhibit excessive ecological impact of humanity.


Sustainable Money ($Z) development involves three stages:

  1. Digitization to allow money to be transacted through cell phones;
  2. Introduction of a “rusting”, “depreciating” cost carrying feature;
  3. Anchoring monetary values in a renewable local service of nature such as electricity from renewable sources (kWhs).

In the short term, $Z could provide an emergency alternative medium of exchange in the event that:

  1. Access to money and credit becomes limited as it did in 2008 and/or
  2. A reference unit of value is required to
    1. settle/mediate contracts denominated in Euros and/or
    2. anchor local currencies;
  3. Economies require stimulation without recourse to taxes or debt;

One or more of these reasons may become compelling for governments to facilitate, if not introduce themselves, a supplementary self-liquidating currency. Yale Professor Irving Fisher (1933) has already prepared draft legislation in the Appendix of his book on “Stamp Scrip” written in the Great Depression. Keynes (1936) supported Stamp Scrip in Chapter 23, part VI of his General Theory.

The issue of self-liquidating money that could be given away by the government would provide a highly attractive basis for stimulating an economy without the use of debt or taxes. It was reported by The Economist (2011)[1] that the UK government was proposing “Quantitative Easing” (printing non self-liquidating money) to finance securitized loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The use of self-financing Sustainable Money would avoid the need for governments to be exposed to loan losses. A 2% weekly usage fee attached to the money would on average be much less than credit card charges but allow the money to be self-liquidating within a year. It would avoid inflationary pressures of “Quantitative Easing” or the need for governments to stimulate the economy by either using tax payers money or going into debt.

Steering members:

Ed Mayo
Secretary General, Coops Limited UK
Hares Youssef
Founder, The 40 Foundation
John Longworth
Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
Prof. Dr Margrit Kennedy
Author and promoter of local currencies
Hazel Henderson
D.Sc.Hon.,author, futurist, president - Ethical Markets Media, LLC
Dr Richard Spencer
Head of Sustainability, (ICAEW)
Sargon Nissan
Manager Sustainability, (ICAEW)
David Boyle
New Economics Foundation (nef), Fellow, author on local currencies
Dr Robin Murray
Senior Visiting Fellow - London School of Economics

Working members: 9

Pat Conaty
nef Fellow, sponsored by Coops UK Limited
Dr Shann Turnbull
Principal IISG, sponsored by The 40 Foundation
Yurij Riphyak
Secretary, The 40 Foundation
Maksym Putiy 
Economic Advisor, The 40 Foundation
Tony Greenham 
Head of finance and business, New Economics Foundation
Josh Ryan-Collins 
Senior reseacher, monetary reform, New Economics Foundation

Jem Bendell
Professor of Sustainability and Leadership, Cumbria University, UK

Ludwig Schuster
Member of the Scientic Committee of the German Regiogeld Association

Christtian Arnsperger
Professor, Catholic University of Louvain and Master of Research at FNRS

Contingent working members and supporters:

  • Lycamobile:
    Milind Kangle
    Mohand Kumar
    Chief Technical Officer
    Amitabh Sharma
    International Business Development Manager

Resources of group:

  • Coops UK has 10 million members who are contingent users of green money.
  • Members of the UK Chambers of Commerce employ 5.5 million workers in 104,000 enterprises who are contingent users of green money.
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) have 130,000 members serving a majority of English businesses,
  • Lycamobile money can be obtained from 115,000 UK stores including post offices and from 30 million other locations around the world and 1.5 million ATMs.
  • The New Economics Foundation has facilitated a number of local “shadow” currencies and time money systems in the UK with software that allows the Brixton Pound to be operated by text messages from cell phones.
  • Dr Shann Turnbull conceived and has researched green money since 1977 as set out in selected references cited below.

Analytical framework for designing sustainable money

There are two contexts to consider:

  1. Emergency supplementary currency to either stimulate the economy and/or provide liquidity if the existing system freezes up as it did in 2008;
  2. An ecologically sustainable system to replace, over time, the existing system.

In context A, the precedents established in the 1930’s that spread quickly used a weekly carrying cost of 2% that allowed the money to be self-liquidating over 52 weeks.

In context B, the precedents established in the 1920’s could be instructive when carrying costs were around 0.1% per week, or 5.4% p.a. as suggested by Gesell (1916). However, Keynes (1936) thought it “would be too high in existing conditions, but the correct figure, which would have to be changed from time to time, could only be reached by trial and error”.

In either context A of B there are three basic design considerations:

  1. Technical restraints and opportunities of cell phone money:
    1. Anonymous or traceable transactions
    2. Security
    3. Issuer protection and fee collections
    4. Swipe or text transfers
    5. Size and accumulative totals
  2. Economic considerations:
    1. Nature of issuers
    2. Method of issuing
    3. Allocation of seigniorage
    4. Level of negative interest rate;
    5. Period of cost remittances;
    6. Liquidity intermediation for commodity backed currency
    7. Credit insurance and solvency issues (Turnbull 1983c)
    8. Exchange/redemption arrangements
    9. Market acceptance
  3. Legal constraints and opportunities:
    1. Current regulatory regimes for local currencies
    2. Comparison between shadow and commodity currencies

Design criteria suggested by:

Bernard Lietaer (2001)

  1. Allow a country or region to unilaterally establish an internationally recognized convertible currency;
  2. Promote economic activity without inflation, and
  3. Support ecologically sound development.

Bob Swann (1997: 178–183)

  1. Simple to understand;
  2. Use redeemable currency;
  3. Organized and controlled at the local level.

Shann Turnbull

  1. Selecting a local currency (1983b)
  2. Autonomous Banking (1983c)

Expected early adopters and lead-users.

(In context B described above for use as an emergency supplementary crisis currency)

Supplementary sources of finance for:

  • Coops requiring working capital whether or not banks stop lending again from another crisis
  • Members of chambers of commerce for a similar reason as for coops
  • Member of Community Development Associations seeking to refinance bad loans
  • Small and medium sized businesses generally.
  • Funding renewable energy generating projects
  • Funding energy saving projects

Reference unit of value for:

  • Time banks
  • Local currencies tied to fiat money
  • Settling Euro contracts if the Euro disintegrates

The government as a means of stimulating the economy without handouts financed by taxes, debt and/or printing fiat money

German Central Bank commissioned critique of cost carrying money

A view that cost carrying money is "highly flawed" and "sub-optimal in term of welfare theory" is presented in a working paper prepared for the German Central Bank by Gerhard Rosl (2006). The analysis made five years ago is not made in the context of any break down of the Euro. Nor does the analysis consider the use of cost carrying money to supplement money markets in the event bank lending freezing up as is now concerning some commentators and governments.

The analysis is important however because it assumes all money in an economy is cost bearing and it is used in a period of normal market conditions. For this reason the analysis is based on an "intentional depreciating rate" of between 8% and 12 % p.a. as was the practice for cost carrying money existing in Germany five years ago. In referring to a cost of 5.4% p.a. as used in Germany during the late 1920's Keynes (1936) thought that this “would be too high in existing conditions, but the correct figure, which would have to be changed from time to time, could only be reached by trial and error”.

However, the Rosl analysis ignores the success of privately issued cost carrying money during the Great Depression. At that time a 2% a week cost was commonly used to provide revenues for the issuer of 104% over a year when the money would be cancelled to provide the issuer with 4% profit!

So successful was cost carrying money in Germany, Austria and the US that is was banned in each country. The analysis and conclusions of Rosl cannot be accepted without this success being considered and explained when the intentional depreciation rate of money was an order of magnitude greater. The theoretical arguments of Rosl is not supported by historical evidence.

Another vital practical point not raised in the Rosl analysis was the transaction costs introduced by banks and credit cards. At a retail level these costs could be say around 2% per transaction making them much more expensive than even an emergency issue of 2% per week cost for a medium of exchange that could circulate many times in one one week. In addition there are a number of assumptions in the Rosl analysis that do not apply to the structure proposed for Green Money. The Rosl analysis assumes a fiat national currency not anchored in any goods or services while Green Money would be anchored in regionally produced renewable energy The Rosl analysis is based on the need for growth rather than sustainable prosperity without growth in consuming non-renewable resources.

Some subsequent studies on cost carying money are referenced below for: Buiter (2007, 2009, 2010), Ilgamnn (2009), Ilgmann and Menner (2011), Mankiw (2009) and Menner (2011).

Conference on “Energy Currency”

Details of The First International Social Transformation conference being held on “Energy currency” in Split, Croatia, July 10-12, 2012 are posted at



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31. (2009a) ‘Economic life-boats from locally created legal tender’, posted 11 March by How to live in the 21st Century competition,

32. (2009b) ‘Electronic Money: Its Economic, Social, Political, and Environmental Impact’, presented to the 9th International Conference of Socio-cybernetics, Modernity 2.0: Emerging Social Media Technologies and Their Impacts, Urbino, July 25, available at:

33. (2009c) ‘How might the invisible hand handle electronic money?’ in Lynne Chester, Michael Johnson & Peter Kriesler, eds, Heterodox Economics’ Visions. Proceedings of refereed papers, Eighth Australian Society for Heterodox Economists conference (SHE) The University of New South Wales, Sydney, December 7-8 and to the 22nd Annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio Economics, Temple University, Philadelphia, 28 June 2010, available at:

34. (2009d) ‘Inflation resisting money’, posted by Henry Thornton21 January, and Australian Fabian News, November, 49(2): 26-27, available at:

35. (2009e) ‘Mysteries of a failed financial system and how failure can be avoided’, posted 19 April by Ethical Markets at:, access from

36. (2009f) ‘Options for rebuilding the economy and the financial system’, presented to: the 18th Annual Meeting of the European Financial Management Association, Milan, June 24–27; 11th Conference of the Association for Heterodox Economics, Kingston University, London July 9-12th 2009, 21st Annual conference of The Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, Science Po, Paris, July 16-18th, Oxford Economics and Business Conference, St. Hughes College, 29 June 2010, available at:

37. (2009g) ‘Remaking the economy’, posted: 24 February, Centre for Policy Development, and 18 March, Online Opinion, available at:, also in Australian Fabian News, Edition 1, pp. 7-8.

38. (2009h) ‘Renewable energy money to reduce climate change’, posted 16 March by “How to live in the 21st Century” competition at:

39. (2009i) ‘Shann Turnbull on remaking the economy’, posted 10 March by “How to live in the 21st Century” competition at:

40. (2010a) ‘How might cell phone money change the financial system?’ presented to 22nd Annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio Economics, Temple University, Philadelphia, 28 June published by The Capco InstituteJournal of Financial Transformation, November, 30:33-42, available at:

41. (2010b) ‘Money, Renewable Energy and Climate Change’, Financiële Studievereniging Rotterdam, (FSR Forum), February 12:2, pp.1417, 19-22, 24, 25, 28-29, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, available at:

42. (2010c) ‘Self-financing Urban Development’ presented to 21st Annual Conference of the Chinese Economics Association (UK) and second Annual Conference CEA Europe, 13 July Oxford University Chinese Centre, Oxford.

43. (2011a) ‘Achieving environmental sustainable prosperity’ presented to 13th Conference of the Association of Heterodox Economist, Nottingham Trent University, UK, July 69, July, available at:

44. (2011b) ‘Could the 2008 US Financial Crisis been avoided with Network Governance?’ with Michael Pirson presented to the Multinational Finance Society, LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome, Italy, June 26 -29; 9th International Conference on Corporate Governance, 30 June Birmingham University Business School, and to the 10th Annual Society of Economists Conference, 5 December, University of New South Wales, available at:, published 2012 in International Journal of Disclosure and Regulation, Special issue on the financial crisis, 9(1): 1-27, posted at

45. (2011c) ‘How to cope with the next financial crisis’, Australian Broadcasting Commission: The Drum, 25 August, available at

46. (2011d) ‘Inefficiencies and inequities of capitalism: And how they can be reduced’, conference on Justice and Economics: Ancient doctrines and modern theories,University of Toulouse 1 – Capitole, June 16-17th; and to the 10th Annual Society of Economists Conference, 5 December, University of New South Wales available at:

47. (2011e) ‘Options for reforming the financial system’ presented to the 40th Australian Conference of Economists, Australian National University, Canberra, July 11-13, available at: Published in The IUP Journal of Governance and Public Policy, September 6(3): 1-28.

48. (2011f) ‘The Hayek option’, The Australian Financial Review, Letters 25 August p.60. Posted at

49. (2011g) ‘Two currencies could alleviate two-speed economy’, The Australian, Letters, 25 August p.13 available at:

50. (2012a) ‘Sustaining society with ecological capitalism’ presented to a conference on Designing and Transforming Capitalism, Aarhaus University, Denmark, February 9–10, posted at

51. (2012b) 'Who should create money and credit?'  Public Banking Institute Newsletter, Issue No. 13, May 30, posted at: and by Ethical Markets – Transforming Global Finance, June 4, posted at:

52. (2012c) ‘Regulating digital moneyFirst International Social Transformation Conference, Faculty of Economics, University of Split, Croatia, July 10-12.

53. (2012d) 'Green Money: Why it’s needed, how to get It? - How might an efficient, equitable and resilient finance sector be established?' Presented to seventh annual meeting of the Green Economics Institute, Mansfield College, Oxford, 21st July, 2012, available at:

54. (2012e) ‘Minimizing a “key cause” of the 2008 financial crisis: Governance failure’, with Michael Pirson, Presented to the 11th conference of the Society of Heterodox Economics, University of New South Wales, December 4, and at World Finance and Banking Symposium, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), Shanghai, 18-19th, December,

55. (2012f) ‘Might sustainable energy money have a future?’ Presented as a refereed paper to the 11th conference of the Society of Heterodox Economics, University of New South Wales, December 3, 2012, Chapter 13, pp. 178- 189, available at:

56. (2013a) ‘Can Democratic Money with Environmental Values Reduce Market Failures? Posted on Ethical Markets web page January 14th at

57. (2013b) ‘Sustaining society with economic democracy’, accepted for presentation at the International Conference on Economics and Social Science (ICESS 2013), Melbourne, January 20 available at: 

58. (2013c) 'How should regulators control e-money?’ discussion/debating paper posted at: for a panel session forthcoming at the 2nd International conference on complementary currencies systems at the University of Rotterdam, The Hague, June 21st.

Ulanowicz, R. E , Goerner, S.J., Lietaer, B. and Gomez, R. (2009) ‘Quantifying Sustainability: Resilience, Efficiency and the Return of Information Theory’Ecological Economics, 6(1) 27-36, March, available at:

Yang, C.C.B. (2000) Electronic and relevant legal and regulatory issues, posted at 


Formation meeting of the Monetary Reform Working Group & Green Money Working Group

High Tea in Terrace Cafe at National Portrait Gallery, London, 17 October 2011

Left to right: 
Maksym Putiy:  Economic Advisor - The 40 Foundation
Ed Mayo:  Secretary-General - Coops UK Limited
Pat Conaty:  Research Associate - Coops UK Limited and Fellow - New Economics Foundation
Dr Shann Turnbull:  Research Fellow - The 40 Foundation
Hares Yourseff:  Founder - The 40 Foundation
Yurij Riphyak: Secretary - The 40 Foundation


Working Group first public discussion, London, 13th February, 2012.

Great Hall of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (ICAEW)

Left to right:
Dr Richard Spencer - Head of sustainability, Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales  (Venue host)
Martin Hockly - CEO, Street UK Foundation
Ed Mayo - Secretary-General, Coops UK Limited (Meeting chair)
Steve Hughes - Economist, British Chambers of Commerce

Working Group supper meeting, London February 15, 2012

Bel Canto Restaurant 

Left to right:
Maksym Putij - Economic adviser, The 40 Foundation
John Longworth - Director-General, British Chambers of Commerce
Yurij Riphyak - Secretary, The 40 Foundation
Dr Shann Turnbull - Research Fellow, The 40 Foundation
Josh Ryan-Collins - Senior Researcher, Monetary Reform - New Economics Foundation
Ed Mayo - Secretary-General, Co-ops UK Limited