Local Business Prospectus

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LOCAL ECONOMICS: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? Benefits for Brixton Businesses

An invitation to be part of Transition Town Brixton



Imagine Brixton’s economy as a bucket. A full bucket means local people have enough money for a good quality of life. But if there are too many holes in the bucket, money that comes into the area flows straight out again. There are two strategies for keeping it full: pour the money in faster than it is pouring out; or slow down the leakage by plugging some of the leaks.

Money flowing in from outside includes inward investment, external sales, benefits, and money spent by visitors to the area. But money also leaks out – including taxes, purchases of goods, services and utilities from outside the area, and profits made by companies that are not locally owned.

Suppose you paint a pound coin red and watch where it goes. Each time it changes hands within a community, it means income for a local person – so the more times it changes hands, the better for that community. This is known as the “local multiplier effect”. For example, a study in Cornwall found that when £10 was spent with a local vegetable delivery scheme, the company re-spent most of it with other local businesses or to pay staff, who also re-spent most of it locally. After three “rounds” of spending, that £10 generated £25 of income to local people – compared with only £14 when the same was spent in a supermarket.

The local economy can be strengthened by building more local linkages – for example, by businesses recruiting more staff locally, sourcing goods and services locally, and being able to access and utilise local surplus or under-used resources. Transition Town Brixton’s proposed local currency – the Brick – and other projects like the Local Business Exchange (piloted in Totnes) are designed to help create these linkages. Read more about these projects inside…


A Transition Town is a community of people working together to design our local action plan to get us from oil dependency to a low energy, low carbon future.

Transition Town Brixton aims to: • Increase resilience to the effects of Peak Oil by strengthening the local economy and making better use of local resources • Minimise Brixton’s carbon footprint to mitigate the effects of Climate Change


The two toughest challenges facing humankind at the start of the 21st century are Climate Change and Peak Oil.

Peak Oil means the end of cheap and plentiful oil. Up to now we could extract as much oil as we wanted – but now global reserves are nearly half gone. Oil exploitation will peak very soon and start to decline at about 2-3% per year – while global demand is rising – leading to soaring prices, economic instability and increased potential for conflict as countries compete for oil.

Even if Peak Oil was not happening, Climate Change still means we need to minimise fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. If global temperatures rise 2°C or more, natural feedbacks are predicted to push temperatures into “runaway” warming, transforming the natural systems we depend on beyond recognition. Emissions cuts of 90% by 2030 are needed to avoid that 2°C rise.


Many of the solutions and mitigations for Climate Change will also address the threats from Peak Oil – and vice versa.

Given the likely disruptions ahead resulting from Peak Oil and Climate Change, a resilient community – one that is self-reliant for the greatest possible number of its needs – will be far better prepared than one which is heavily dependent on national and global systems for food, energy, transportation, health and housing.

A Transition Town aims to relocalise the essential elements that a community needs to sustain itself and thrive. It builds local resilience while dramatically reducing the community’s carbon footprint. In this way, it addresses both Peak Oil and Climate Change. The thinking behind Transition Towns is that a community using much less energy and resources than currently consumed could, if well planned and designed, be economically stronger and offer a higher quality of life. Transition Town Brixton is a community-led initiative which is part of a growing national and global network, begun in Kinsale (Ireland) in 2004. The Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan was the first attempt anywhere in the world to design a pathway down from the oil peak, at a local level. Transition Town Totnes (Devon) began in 2006, and since then 40 more communities across the UK have become Transition Towns.


These projects are in development and we welcome your input on how they can best meet your needs. Find out more at the Local Business Evening, 19 June (see overleaf) or contact info@transitiontownbrixton.org

OIL VULNERABILITY AUDITING The Oil Vulnerability Auditing service takes a detailed look at how rising oil prices could impact your business, examining costs and availability of raw materials, energy costs of key processes, and transportation costs involved in selling and marketing. Once a costed model is built up, scenarios can be run with varying oil prices. With the inevitable and dramatic price rises ahead for oil and all types of energy, certain areas of a business may not be viable. In that case, mitigation plans can be put in place, perhaps looking at alternative raw materials sourced more locally, and opening up markets that will be less affected by high transportation costs.

LOCAL CURRENCY: THE BRIXTON BRICK The Brixton Brick – exchangeable for pounds – will be developed and piloted over the coming year. A local currency can only be spent locally, so it encourages money to circulate within the community, rather than “leaking” out to the wider economy. We will be carrying out currency system design workshops over the next few months with local people and businesses to ensure that the Brick helps you meet your needs locally.

BRIXTON BUSINESS EXCHANGE A project that takes a different look at waste – aiming to match up companies where one business’s waste is a raw material for another.

SKILLING UP FOR POWERDOWN A low energy, more localised future will require a “Great Reskilling” – learning to meet needs locally through core skills such as growing and cooking food, building repairs and maintenance, home energy efficiency, and making clothes. Brixton’s “Skilling Up for Powerdown” courses are coming soon…

UPCOMING EVENTS Hosted by Transition Town Brixton’s Economics and Business Group

MONEY AS DEBT Film Screening Monday 12 May, from 7pm, Myth Bar, The Hope and Anchor, Acre Lane Come and find out more about how money is created and why the national and international economy aren’t designed to provide for local needs.

LOCAL BUSINESS EVENING Thursday 19 June, 6-9pm, Lambeth Town Hall


NETWORKING Meet and connect with other local businesses

INFORMATION Learn more about what Transition Town Brixton can offer local businesses and let us know what you’d like to see more of.


“Plugging the Leaks” with New Economics Foundation Linking up the local economy to prevent money leaking out

“Growing the Local Economy” with local currency designer John Rogers Matching needs and problems up with skills and solutions

“It’s going to be different – how could that be good?” Scenario planning to meet the challenges of Peak Oil and Climate Change


Wedge Card

Made In Brixton Directory

Local social enterprises and “Transition businesses”

If you are interested in exhibiting, please contact info@transitiontownbrixton.org

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