What Is the Stroud Pound?

The Stroud pound is a local, private currency that was introduced in the British town of Stroud, Gloucestershire in September of 2009. It was launched in support of an initiative to stimulate the local economy by encouraging consumers to buy local produce and other goods and services, thereby encouraging the development of local businesses and jobs.

Key Takeaways

  • The Stroud pound is a local complementary currency for the community of Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.
  • First issued in 2009, the goal is promote local economic activity and community businesses.
  • Proponents hope that by using Stroud pounds, the community can help decrease carbon emissions by cutting down on the amount of goods that are transported long distances.
  • Each Stroud pound is backed by a British pound sterling, where they exchange for par.

Understanding the Stroud Pound

The Stroud pound was inspired by and modeled after the chiemgauer, a community currency used in Germany’s Bavaria region. The Stroud is administered by the Stroud Pound Co-op Ltd., a non-profit enterprise run by volunteers.

The Stroud pound is a private currency, issued by a private firm or group to act as an alternative to a national currency. Private currencies are often backed by physical commodities, such as gold or silver, to increase the security of the currency, while limiting the effects of inflation on its value, since commodities often move closely in line with inflation. Every Stroud pound is recorded and backed by a British pound sterling (GBP) held in a dedicated bank account where it exchanges for par.

The Stroud pound is not intended to replace the United Kingdom's official currency. Rather, it is designed to be a complementary currency, and not alternative currency altogether. It is issued in four denominations: £1; £2; £5; and £10. The banknotes are printed on special paper and incorporate multiple security features to discourage forgers, similar to official currencies.

To encourage the currency’s circulation, the Stroud pound system incorporates a number of features such as having a limited life of two years, losing value after six months and having a 5 percent redemption fee for traders. As of 2017, however, the Stroud pound appeared to no longer be trading.

The Stroud Pound as an Example of Fiscal Localism and Bioregionalism

Broadly, fiscal localism is the practice of buying locally. Supporters of fiscal localism believe that it helps communities to grow organically and more efficiently, allowing consumers and local businesses to better their local economy and keeping wealth inside of the community. By using a local currency such as the Stroud pound, a community may be able to better gauge its true economic performance.

In addition the Stroud pound can be an example of a complementary currency that exemplifies the concept and adoption of bioregionalism. Bioregionalism encourages citizens to become more intimately familiar with and dependent on local food, materials, and resources as a way to become more self-sufficient.

An example of bioregionalism in action would be an individual who establishes a local farm or garden at home, rather than buying vegetables at a big grocery store, because store-bought produce is dependent on petroleum, natural gas, and chemicals used in pesticides, fertilizers, large-scale food production, and shipping. Stroud pounds help stimulate bioregionalism because local currency emphasizes local products over those that were grown or created thousands of miles away.