e-Portemonnee

logo e-portemonnee

Introduction

E-portemonnee is a complementary currency that operates in order to promote environmentally conscious behaviour in 10 municipalities in the Province of Limburg, Belgium. The scheme is an electronic savings and reward card through which one can earn credits by conducting specific environmentally friendly actions. Credits can be used as currency to buy sustainable products or access services such as local swimming pools and public transportation.

The initiative was launched in November 2005 by Limburg.net, a publicly owned waste disposal company, in partnership with FairFin, an NGO promoting environmentally and socially responsible approaches to money. In 2011 it became part of the CCIA project.

According to 2012 figures, between 1-16% of households in each of the particpating munipalities were actively participating in the scheme 1.

Purpose

E-portemonnee aims at engaging citizens to take direct responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts of their daily behaviour and therefore contribute to a more sustainable world.

Community Overview

The scheme operates in 10 of the 44 Belgian municipalities that make up the area covered by Limburg.net. These municpalities are Diepenbeek, Hechtel-Eksel, Houthalen-Helchteren, Leopoldsburg, Lommel, Neerpelt, Overpelt, Riemst, Tongeren, and Zonhoven. In total the population of the area covered by Limburg.net is 850.000.

Organisation and History

E-portemonnee was initially launched as “Zet milieu op de kaart”  (literally “Put the Environment on the Map”) in the municipality of Overpelt in Limburg, Belgium. It works through two different lists, as described by Joachain and Klopfert (2012). The “Earning list” contains the environmentally friendly behaviour that participants can perform in order to gain credits (e.g. attending composting courses, attaching a no-junk mail sign on to the mailbox or switching to a green energy provider). The “Silver list” contains all the locations where credits can be spent on rewards (public transports tickets, discounts on energy saving light bulbs, entrance at the local swimming pool etc.). Every municipality creates its own lists. Citizens enrolled in the scheme that follow the actions in the Earning list may use the credits on goods and services included in the Silver list.

E-portemonnee was granted the support from the Flemish Government on top of the resources provided by the organisations behind the scheme, Limburg.net and FairFin (Joachain and Klopfert, 2012). The operations of the scheme are managed locally within the municipal authorities.

Currency Details

The E-portemonnee in numbers

No data is currently disclosed.

Function and Unit of Account

The scheme functions primarily as a savings and reward system to stimulate sustainable behaviour. There is no loyalty scheme attached to the E-portemonnee and the earned credits can only be exchanged for public services or for environmentally friendly products thus cannot be transferred to other users. Its function is therefore purely as a medium of exchange.

Issuance – Backing

E-portemonnee acts exclusively as an electronic currency that takes the form of a card. Credits are issued whenever the proscribed environmentally firendly behavious contained in the Earning list is performed.

How it works?

The E-portemonnee is essentially an electronic card, which is scanned during every transaction. A central database keeps track of the points in every card, and users may check their points balance on a website.

Each participating Municipality determines a list of ‘activities’ through which users can earn and spend points. Although this list may vary, typical activities include switching to a green energy provider, donating old clothes to a local thrift shop and bringing domestic waste to the local recycling centre. The points earned can be spent to buy entrance tickets at the local swimming pool, power-efficient light bulbs, composters or even rechargeable batteries.

References

  1. CCIA http://www.ccia.eu 
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