News & Views

Author name: Hector Steenbergen

Bristol Pay and the
One City Plan:
Reasons to be Cheerful

In such uncertain times, not least with the Covid pandemic, it can be hard to find reasons to be cheerful – but Bristol Pay is one of them. 

If local economies want to ‘build back better’ on the other side of this pandemic, they have to have a constructive and optimistic plan for the future. In Bristol, we are lucky to have this in the One City Plan. The plan runs to 2050, and is full of ambitious goals and targets that paint a picture of a socially just, sustainable Bristol. What it isn’t so clear on, is how we get to each goal? That’s why the launch of Bristol pay is so exciting.

Bristol Pay has a vision for a greener, fairer, stronger Bristol. An accessible, non-profit, digital payment platform for everyone, which puts money back into the community. A token scheme will be included in the platform, which will work a bit like nectar points, but instead of rewarding people for being good consumers, Bristol Pay points will reward and enabe sustainable, community-focused activity.

Bristol Pay has the potential to be an important part of Bristol’s digital infrastructure. Bristol Pay’s non-profit operation means that the surplus from transaction charges (that is, income that exceeds the running costs) is invested in local charity and community projects. We’re talking a truly accessible non-profit payment platform, with the added benefit of tokens to engage people in working together towards shared goals for the city – in other words an excellent tool to achieve much of what is in the One City vision. The One City Plan’s success rests on far reaching, city-wide culture change – change that Bristol Pay can help to deliver. 

Many of the 546 goals in the Plan could be addressed by Bristol Pay, in each of the six categories, from connectivity to communities – here are just a few: 

Goal 20 identifies modal shift targets for bus travel. The planned expansion of Bristol’s public transport network can only be complemented by an inclusive payment system. But more than that, our tokens would be a great way to incentivise public transport use, and, as businesses adapt to be more flexible in a world with Covid, to reward more off-peak travel, keeping buses safer and helping to quash the temptation to revert to car travel. 

Goal 181 makes a target of Bristol becoming the UK’s most digitally connected city, featuring in the Top 20 ‘Digital Innovation Centres’ globally. The Bristol Pound was part of the ensemble that helped Bristol achieve Green Capital of Europe in 2015, and Bristol Pay can do the same for our city’s drive to become a global ‘digital innovation centre’. With Smart City technology linked to tokens and payments, we can develop some truly joined-up solutions.

Goal 76 is to encourage all Bristol businesses with 30+ employees to commit to achieving a local expression of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Bristol Pay’s plans for a sustainable business toolkit would be perfect to help Bristol’s businesses improve their performance against the UN’s SDGs – and not just those with more than 30 employees – even micro businesses will be catered for.

Access to a digital payment account is much easier through Bristol Pay than through a highstreet bank. The Plan seeks to be truly inclusive – for example of refugees and other vulnerable groups – in Bristol’s development (Goal 104). At the moment we fall well short as a city. The Firstbus app needs to be linked to a bank account – with cash payments being more expensive, giving people who can’t get bank accounts a raw deal. Bristol Pay would allow everyone access to a digital way to pay.

Goal 223 aims for 20% of businesses to have committed to sustainable procurement practices. On the whole, the shorter the supply chain, the more chance there is that procurement is transparent, involves less transport related carbon emissions, and is ecologically sustainable. Local supply chains have long been a central tenet of Bristol Pound. Bristol Pay will continue to promote local, independent business, and is actively looking at tokens as a way to encourage the development of a local circular economy.

These are just a few examples, but there are many more. 

With the disruptions of the pandemic, and more on the way as climate change produces bigger and more destructive impacts, creating connected, resilient, caring communities in sustainable, socially just cities is only becoming more necessary. That’s why a clear plan for the future, and a way to get there, is so important, 

The ethics and values of Bristol Pay align with the objectives of the One City Plan. Bristol Pay has the potential to be an excellent tool for achieving a fairer, more sustainable future for our city. The launch of Bristol Pay is, in such an uncertain time, a great way to start building a community-focused and just economy – first here in Bristol, and in due course, across the UK. And so, potentially, a reason to be cheerful. 

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News & Views

Author name: Hector Steenbergen

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Bristol Pay and the One City Plan: Reasons to be Cheerful

In such uncertain times, not least with the Covid pandemic, it can be hard to find reasons to be cheerful – but Bristol Pay is one of them. 

If local economies want to ‘build back better’ on the other side of this pandemic, they have to have a constructive and optimistic plan for the future. In Bristol, we are lucky to have this in the One City Plan. The plan runs to 2050, and is full of ambitious goals and targets that paint a picture of a socially just, sustainable Bristol. What it isn’t so clear on, is how we get to each goal? That’s why the launch of Bristol pay is so exciting.

Bristol Pay has a vision for a greener, fairer, stronger Bristol. An accessible, non-profit, digital payment platform for everyone, which puts money back into the community. A token scheme will be included in the platform, which will work a bit like nectar points, but instead of rewarding people for being good consumers, Bristol Pay points will reward and enabe sustainable, community-focused activity.

Bristol Pay has the potential to be an important part of Bristol’s digital infrastructure. Bristol Pay’s non-profit operation means that the surplus from transaction charges (that is, income that exceeds the running costs) is invested in local charity and community projects. We’re talking a truly accessible non-profit payment platform, with the added benefit of tokens to engage people in working together towards shared goals for the city – in other words an excellent tool to achieve much of what is in the One City vision. The One City Plan’s success rests on far reaching, city-wide culture change – change that Bristol Pay can help to deliver. 

Many of the 546 goals in the Plan could be addressed by Bristol Pay, in each of the six categories, from connectivity to communities – here are just a few: 

Goal 20 identifies modal shift targets for bus travel. The planned expansion of Bristol’s public transport network can only be complemented by an inclusive payment system. But more than that, our tokens would be a great way to incentivise public transport use, and, as businesses adapt to be more flexible in a world with Covid, to reward more off-peak travel, keeping buses safer and helping to quash the temptation to revert to car travel. 

Goal 181 makes a target of Bristol becoming the UK’s most digitally connected city, featuring in the Top 20 ‘Digital Innovation Centres’ globally. The Bristol Pound was part of the ensemble that helped Bristol achieve Green Capital of Europe in 2015, and Bristol Pay can do the same for our city’s drive to become a global ‘digital innovation centre’. With Smart City technology linked to tokens and payments, we can develop some truly joined-up solutions.

Goal 76 is to encourage all Bristol businesses with 30+ employees to commit to achieving a local expression of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Bristol Pay’s plans for a sustainable business toolkit would be perfect to help Bristol’s businesses improve their performance against the UN’s SDGs – and not just those with more than 30 employees – even micro businesses will be catered for.

Access to a digital payment account is much easier through Bristol Pay than through a highstreet bank. The Plan seeks to be truly inclusive – for example of refugees and other vulnerable groups – in Bristol’s development (Goal 104). At the moment we fall well short as a city. The Firstbus app needs to be linked to a bank account – with cash payments being more expensive, giving people who can’t get bank accounts a raw deal. Bristol Pay would allow everyone access to a digital way to pay.

Goal 223 aims for 20% of businesses to have committed to sustainable procurement practices. On the whole, the shorter the supply chain, the more chance there is that procurement is transparent, involves less transport related carbon emissions, and is ecologically sustainable. Local supply chains have long been a central tenet of Bristol Pound. Bristol Pay will continue to promote local, independent business, and is actively looking at tokens as a way to encourage the development of a local circular economy.

These are just a few examples, but there are many more. 

With the disruptions of the pandemic, and more on the way as climate change produces bigger and more destructive impacts, creating connected, resilient, caring communities in sustainable, socially just cities is only becoming more necessary. That’s why a clear plan for the future, and a way to get there, is so important, 

The ethics and values of Bristol Pay align with the objectives of the One City Plan. Bristol Pay has the potential to be an excellent tool for achieving a fairer, more sustainable future for our city. The launch of Bristol Pay is, in such an uncertain time, a great way to start building a community-focused and just economy – first here in Bristol, and in due course, across the UK. And so, potentially, a reason to be cheerful. 

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