Throughout my life I've become increasingly conscious of the importance of the relationship between the environment, the economy and social and individual well-being. I have written about this in my book Futuregen: Lessons from a Small Country published this year, which builds on the new ways of thinking and working coming forward following Wales’ unique commitment to future generations through its Well-being of Future Generations Act.
I’m delighted to support the work of Circular Economy Wales (CEW) in deploying the assets of the social enterprise sector to achieve environmental, economic, social and cultural goals for the benefit of the people of Wales.
I encourage people to delve into this website and practical programme which includes numerous ways of reducing carbon impacts, of protecting biodiversity and of helping to change the Welsh economy so that it becomes more resilient by tying jobs and lives in Wales more closely to the sustainable use of Wales' natural resources. I applaud the intention to take the concept of reuse enterprises to the next level for societal benefit; with its focus on ending homelessness or helping to educate our school children, for example, always underpinned by repairing and cleaning items for reuse. This fits well with the resource efficiency agenda which I was privileged to promote as the responsible minister from 2007-2011, by introducing statutory recycling, composting and reuse targets.
Just as Wales is now among the best in the world in municipal recycling, I look forward to Wales hosting an ambitious reuse sector to complement Wales' recycling delivery and bring numerous further benefits.
I am especially excited by the prospect of CEW’s initiative in introducing and piloting the CELYN, which can be considered as Wales’s first 'own' currency because it can only be used in Wales. Celyn members use it to acquire the vital goods needed to operate Wales's army of small businesses. The ability to repay for any goods received is done by selling unused stock, within 12 months, back into the circuit. 'Backing' for credit lines offered therefore comes from within Wales's small business community itself – which comprise 99.6% of Wales’s businesses turning over £45billion per annum.
The result? Using Mutual Credit helps the sterling liquidity of small businesses. CEW reports that Mutual Credit in Switzerland - the WIR - has helped Swiss SMEs in this way since 1934. More recently, Sardinia’s SARDEX assisted Sardinia and mainland Italy since the 2010 downturn; helping businesses to stay afloat whilst saving local jobs and vital services.
Mutual Credit is thus a 'complementary' not an ‘alternative’ to conventional currency, each credit being 'equivalent' in value to sterling whilst not being convertible to it. CELYN circuit members helping each other with zero interest finance to ease liquidity challenges is a really fair way of utilising their spare commercial capacity for the benefit of the Welsh economy --- a good buffer against the knocks coming from the current adverse business environment.
I hope that the publication of this brochure leads to greater co-operation between public, private and community sector bodies to deliver on an agenda which will benefit us all. I urge anyone who wants to see a more sustainable Wales to work with CEW to deliver that change now and for the generations to come.
Sincerely Jane Davidson