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Sustainable Exchange

Single module
Mode of study:
Single module
Start date:
March 2015
Faculty URL:

This course will be delivered at our London campus from March 18 - 21 2015. Participants are required to have completed an open online course over 3 weeks starting 16 February 2015.

Why study with us?

Economic and environmental crises are often in the news, yet social innovation is growing at pace. 

Collaborative consumption systems like Airbnb, digital currencies like Bitcoin, local currencies like the Bristol Pound, gifting systems like Impossible.com, and sharing systems like TimeBanks UK, suggest that there could be a new paradigm emerging for how we organise our economic lives in ways that could restore community and the environment.  

The aim of this Certificate of Achievement is for you to understand why and how to create, scale and evaluate digitally-enabled systems of 'sustainable exchange'. 

Sustainable exchange includes systems for giving, sharing, renting, exchanging, and funding, with or without official money. 

We understand that this is the world’s first Masters-level course on digital currencies and the sharing economy.

For a short TEDx talk introducing this topic, see Professor Bendell’s The Money Myth:

What can this course lead to?

The course is worth 20 credit points at Masters level, and can be part of our Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership.

Resources and facilities

The course is taught as a four-day block at our London campus on the edge of the London Docklands financial centre, with structured online interaction beforehand, and an assessment to study for and write afterwards. Various online materials are supplied pre and post residential via our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

The course involves walking tours in the Docklands on monetary history, visits to relevant initiatives, and guest lectures from leaders in the field. 

There is an associated free online course on Money and Society that starts a month before.


Indicative module content:

  • The history of exchange and monetary systems, according to anthropology and contrarian economics.
  • The current monetary systems and its implications for sustainable development.
  • The variety of sustainable exchange systems, both new and old, for giving, sharing, renting, exchanging, and funding, with or without official money.
  • The potential and pitfalls of digitally enabled sustainable exchange systems.
  • The key factors for designing, developing and managing successful sustainable exchange systems.
  • Evaluation systems for sustainable exchange initiatives.
  • Communication challenges and techniques for sustainable exchange.
  • Practice-based inquiries into sustainable exchange.

Course summary

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the historical evolution of different exchange systems.
  • Critically analyse the variety of sustainable exchange systems and the potential and pitfalls of digitally-enabled sustainable exchange systems.
  • Effectively communicate the rationale for sustainable exchange systems to a variety of stakeholders, with a critical understanding of claims made about them.
  • Describe and advise on the key factors for designing, developing and managing successful sustainable exchange systems.
  • Critically analyse the potential and current impact of any sustainable exchange initiative for its ability to promote sustainable production and consumption.

The module leader is Professor Jem Bendell (IFLAS) and module tutor is Leander Bindewald (NEF and IFLAS). Guest lecturers include Tom Shakhli (Brixton Pound), Benita Matofska (People who Share), Will Ruddick (Banglapesa), and Matthew Slater (CommunityForge).

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bendell, J and T. Greco (2013) ‘Currencies of Transition’, in McIntosh (2013) The Necessary Transition, Greenleaf Publishing, UK. http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com/content/pdfs/TNT_bendell.pdf
  • Botsman, R and R. Rogers (2010) Beyond Zipcar: Collaborative Consumption, Harvard Business Review, October 2010
  • Gold, L (2004) The sharing economy: solidarity networks transforming globalisation, Ashgate Pub Ltd, UK.
  • Graeber, D (2011) Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Melville House Books.
  • Greco, Jr., Thomas H. (2009) The End of Money and the Future of Civilization. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2009.
  • Eisenstein, C (2012) Sacred Economics. Evolver Editions, USA.
  • Lietaer, B., M. Kennedy and J. Rogers (2012) People Money: The Promise of Regional Currencies, Triarchy Press.
  • Schroeder, R.F.H., Y. Miyazaki1 and M. Fare (2011) “Community Currency Research: An analysis of the literature”, International Journal of Community Currency Research, Volume 15 (2011) Section A 31-41.

Entry requirements

See course specific entry requirements listed below.

More information about levels and credits.

Credit and UCAS requirements

Credit: 20 credits

Selection criteria

If this module is taken stand alone, there are no specific entry requirements but you must demonstrate that you are able to study at the appropriate level.


Course fees are £1,111. This fee is due at the start of the course and may be paid by the student or a sponsor. Find out more about paying your tuition fees.

Pay your course fees with Bitcoin

As well as receiving payments for this course in GBP/Sterling, the University is delighted to be able to offer students the chance to pay their tuition fees in Bitcoin.

If you wish to make a payment via this method and your place has been confirmed on this course, click the button below to begin the process. 

If you have any questions, please email andrew.heron@cumbria.ac.uk

Next steps