The initiative is part of the Transition Towns concept, of which Totnes is a pioneer. It is "a community in a process of imagining and creating a future that addresses the twin challenges of diminishing oil and gas supplies and climate change, and creates the kind of community that we would all want to be part of".
The Totnes Pound was launched as an initiative of Transition Town Totnes Economics and Livelihoods group in March 2007.The group argues that "Economic localisation is considered to be a key aspect of the transition process, and local currency systems provide the opportunity to strengthen the local economy whilst preventing money from leaking out"
The benefits of the Totnes Pound are:
- To build resilience in the local economy by keeping money circulating in the community and building new relationships
- To get people thinking and talking about how they spend their money
- To encourage more local trade and thus reduce food and trade miles
- To encourage tourists to use
The paper Totnes Pounds are printed on plasticised paper and have a number of security features.