From Global To Local

We’ve all been there. You travel to the next city, state or country and walk down a road you’ve never before been down, yet apart from a few street signs and different car plates everything seems somewhat familiar. The same coffee shops staffed by people in the same uniforms, people eating food in the same branded packaging you can get 5 minutes from your place back home. As someone living in the UK the realisation of how global we had become hit me hardest in India, I was buying trainers in the all too familiar surroundings of a Nike store only to look up and see an Elephant walk past the window.

In a world increasingly being viewed through a global lens what are some of the benefits of shopping local and how can we encourage it?

With an ever increasing emphasise being put on “going green” buying local seriously helps reduce your carbon footprint. Local businesses tend to use local suppliers thus reducing the need for nationwide and international shipping. The same applies to food, the field to fork journey is likely to be far shorter meaning fresher produce as well as lower emissions. And let’s be honest, it just feels better eating a piece of fruit knowing it hasn’t travelled half way across the world to get there.

Buying local also helps build community. Often local shops/cafes host events or clubs that encourage people from the community to gather and socialise. A cafe near me has a film club where once a month the local film buffs all gather to watch and discuss that months movie. There’s also an indoor square full of bars and restaurants where every Sunday they open up the floor for local cooks, bakers and artists to display and sell their goods. Conversations and new friendships being made just from simply deciding to buy local.

And then there’s always the perks. The cafe where I’m writing this now is somewhere I frequent most Sundays and they rarely charge me for my second coffee when i’m eating. One time my Apple Pay didn’t work and they told me to just pay it the next time I’m passing. I’ve also been given numerous free samples of new menu items to try. It’s the little things like this that don’t happen at large chains that make your experience that little bit nicer.

Then there’s the obvious boom it brings to the local economy. The New Economics Foundation carried out some research that showed about 85% of any money spent in a chain or large company immediately leaves the area never to return. Whereas spending the same money at a local business can cause a local multiplier effect where the same value is re-spent locally. Additionally these large companies often pay little (if any) tax so going local can also help at a national level.

I try to shop local when I can, but let’s face it internet shopping and large “one stop shops” make it all too easy for us in an increasingly busy and hectic world. With that being said, I think everyone would prefer their money to go to someone local than a faceless corporation. In order to change peoples habits all we need to do is to add a little incentive whilst keeping all the convenience larger companies provide. Luckily we have solutions for both with Intercoin.

The local multiplier effect I mentioned previously can be further enhanced by adding an incentivised local currency where you get discounted rates for using it. Each person receiving the local currency having reason to either hold or spend it rather than exchange for the local FIAT. The convenience and ease of use of local services can also be improved with Intercoin built applications that are tailored for that communities specific needs.

Intercoin can make the transition from global to local not only seamless but preferable, but why wait? If each person started buying just one weekly necessity local it would make such a huge difference, you may even inspire others to do the same…like Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world”.