This project was researched in 2005 by a team of experts commissioned by CIPRA as part of the Future in the Alps Project. The contents are not being updated.
Regional value added, Policies and instruments
Regional ecological economy, promotion and support for the local availability of products and services, promotion of the skills of the individual, involvement of people who are not in conventional gainful employment (jobless, senior citizens, etc.), organised neighbourhood help, support for the older generation, improved quality of life in the region, support for “unprofitable” ideas with the help of a local complementary currency (as also found in commercial applications, e.g. bonus miles).
Talente-Tauschkreis Vorarlberg (TTKV). The Talent Barter Circle, with its current total of 7 regional groups, is registered in Austria as an association for the promotion of fair exchange and ecological economy. It publishes a monthly members’ magazine and has created an Internet platform for regional use and supra-regional networking. Its activities also include talks, publications, events, discussions, media work and meetings.
Weidenweg 2, 6850, Dornbirn, Österreich
Registered association with the following structure (name, address, office, function): Gernot Jochum-Müller, Weidenweg 2, 6850 Dornbirn, Chairman, project manager; Gertraud Gächter, Fischerweg 1, 6845 Hohenems, Deputy Chairwoman, regional contact; Erika Schmidt, Sebastianweg 10b, 6800 Feldkirch, Treasurer, regional contact; Monika Dintner, Steinbruchweg 10, 6900 Bregenz, Secretary, reservation centre; also: Leiblachtal social care unit.
TTKV operates the biggest regional complementary economic system in Austria. It is considered a model project in Europe and is described as such in the current English and German literature. The organisation receives numerous requests for speakers at conferences and talks. The basic objectives as defined in the statutes: (1) organisation of a central barter facility in the context of neighbourhood help to promote the quality of life; (2) self-help for people who are offered few opportunities in our economic system to activate unused potential that cannot be exploited at the level of the market economy; (3) utilisation of local products and services so as to reduce transportation distances; (4) awareness- and knowledge-building in the field of business finance; (5) promotion of contacts between private individuals, associations, companies, federations and institutions with an interest in eco- and human-friendly economy.
The association operates as a platform for various projects in the field of regional economy. In addition to its communications work, it provides members with a non-cash, interest-free system of payment (talents). In the case of a single mother, say, wishing to use the system to finance furniture for her child’s room, the talent cycle might look like this: The mother joins the Barter Circle, does a lot of shopping there and saves her talents. With the talents she has collected – and she can overspend her talent account on application – she finances solid wood furniture from a regional joiner. The joiner handles one or two orders on a talent basis per year. At the regional education and training centre, seminars can be paid for in talents. The centre in turn uses regional produce from farmers who are also members of the Barter Circle. In 2006 the aim is to persuade local authorities, companies and organisations to put some of their business relations on a barter footing and to create new trends.
no specific methods were used
To date over 11 million talents or 110,000 hours have been swapped among the membership, included 2 million talents last year alone. Region-wide the system now comprises over 560 accounts (families, companies, groups, individuals), which are used by some 1400 people. 12% of members’ accounts are held by companies and institutions. Some families generate over 10% of household income with the talents. Following the first successful projects involving local authorities and welfare institutions, e.g. Leiblachtal social care unit, Bildungshaus Arbogast (education), Katholisches Bildungswerk (education), SOS Children’s Villages Vorarlberg, the objective for 2006 is to have the talents become a second currency in Vorarlberg, and negotiations have already begun with the Leiblachtal regional authority and a Vorarlberg municipal authority. The Barter Circle currently has enquiries about its activities and the opportunities the platform offers from 18 local authorities or their welfare institutions.
Besides the promotion and support of regional economy and environment, the availability of products and services on local level the project targets at the improvement of the skills of the individuals, the integration of people who are disposed to be put at the social margin like jobless, handicapped and senior citizens by the implementation of organised neighbourhood and relief services. The creation of a local complementary currency as an non-commercial exchange means can be regarded as an innovative attempt to realize this objective. This project encompasses various recommendations form QT2 particularly those aiming at social inclusion, common identity and local economy.
Persons from so-called marginalized groups are only partly accepted by the community. Working together with such persons is difficult (particularly with those unable to handle money), anyhow every experience is strengthening the network on the whole. Until now there was never a need to address the court of arbitration which has been installed by the association in order to avoid conflicts which is a good proof for strong inner cohesion and conflict ability. Constructive dialogs have been sufficient so far.
32000 per year (Euro)
Self-financing project through membership fees (plus sponsoring) (20 Euro + 350 talents/year per account); As regards the budget: Euro + Talents (Tt) together account to about 32000 Euro in 2005