Strategies & Resources

What is localisation?

"Localisation is a process of bringing the economy back to a human scale, by creating economic structures that enable communities to obtain more of the goods and services they need locally and regionally."

Localisation starts with the economy, and its benefits go far beyond the economic: it can strengthen community cohesion, improve human health, reduce our environmental impact, lessen the power of multinational corporations and banks, close the obscene gap between rich and poor, strengthen democracy, and support both cultural and biological diversity. Localisation also has psychological benefits: by creating networks of place-based relationships, it affirms the basic human need for connection to others and to the earth.

It’s important to note that localisation doesn’t mean isolation. In fact, the process of rebuilding healthy local economies requires international collaboration, both to address global problems like climate change, and to scale back the rapacious power of global corporations and banks. Nor is localisation about eliminating all trade. Just as cultures have done for millennia, localised communities can still export surpluses once local needs are met, and they can still import goods that can’t be produced locally.




Aslan Shand - Byron Shire Echo newspaper
November, 2023. Shared with permission.

The Northern Rivers has no shortage of creative types with plenty of people making, fixing and inventing all sorts of offerings. And there are good reasons why we should be checking out our local artists, designers, businesses and creative geniuses by finding out what they are doing and supporting them.

It turns out Australians are pretty good at recognising the benefits of buying Australian and locally-made with 96 per cent of Australians preferring to buy locally, according to a 2022 Roy Morgan poll.

The Roy Morgan poll, 'found that more than four in five (86 per cent) Australians say buying Australian-made products is important to them. They said that buying Aussie products made shoppers feel good'. They also recognised the importance of supporting local industries and the economy.


Supporting locally-made products helps keep your money in your communities and supports local industries.

Local businesses recirculate money into their local economies at higher rates than other businesses!

In just one example, a report by the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development cited research which tracked the recirculation of money spent at locally-owned businesses versus non-locally-owned businesses in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Findings showed that for every $100 spent at local businesses, $73 got recycled back into the local economy, compared to just $43 recirculated locally by non-locally-owned businesses.


The environment is well supported by local producers and creatives for a range of reasons including the fact that Australia has laws that govern how products are made, levels of pollution allowed and the basic ground rules of who you can employ and under what conditions - you can be secure in the fact that locally made products were not made with child or slave labour!

Additionally there is less distance to travel for products, shoppers and materials. The CO2 emissions generated by flying and shipping products around the world is significant with the European Parliament reporting (on the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions) that, 'By 2019, emissions from international aviation and shipping had increased by 146 per cent and 34 per cent respectively compared with 1990. This was the fastest growth in the whole transport sector - the only sector in which emissions have risen since 1990.

However, during the pandemic the reduction in production and transport of products around the world saw remarkable drops in CO2 generation from the shipping and aviation industries. In 2020, emissions from both sectors dropped significantly due to restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, reported the European Parliament.

So choosing to support local business and local products can have a direct impact on CO2 emissions by reducing the distance a product needs to travel to get to you.


Any local business or creative is employing, and engaging with other locals. This not only means more money is staying in the local economy, it also means there are greater opportunities to interact with and support local community and culture, thus weaving a stronger community together.

Through interaction and engagement by shopping local and buying things that are made here it allows communities to remain vital, empowered and supports our unique culture.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They help push economic growth and the local economy by opening up employment opportunities locally to people who may not want to be employed by these big box businesses, reported Joseph Lustberg on

According to the 2023 Small Business Matters Report Australia's 2.5 million small businesses provide jobs for 5.1 million people and employ 42 per cent of all apprentices and trainees in training - nearly double the amount supported by a big business.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and we celebrate the vital contribution they make to Australia's prosperity, wellbeing, and community, said the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson.


It is easy to meet the makers of the products you are buying, follow the supply chain and ensure that you are buying good quality products and confirm their ethical standards meet yours when you are taking the opportunity to find products that are made here.

Certainly with the diversity of ideas and creativity that generates such a wide range of business opportunities in the Northern Rivers there seems to be an endless supply of unique and interesting things to pick up or get involved in. With the festive season coming upon us just a little too fast now is the time to start thinking about gifts for the ones you love!

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Doughnut Economics

Think of it as a compass for human prosperity in the 21st century, with the aim of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet.

The Doughnut consists of two concentric rings: a social foundation, to ensure that no one is left falling short on life’s essentials, and an ecological ceiling, to ensure that humanity does not collectively overshoot the planetary boundaries that protect Earth's life-supporting systems. Between these two sets of boundaries lies a doughnut-shaped space that is both ecologically safe and socially just: a space in which humanity can thrive.

Greenprints has developed a revised diagram representing a more Earth-centric approach and Indigenous concepts like caring for country.

Social & Planetary Boundaries

The Doughnut of social & planetary boundaries

Localising Our Food Systems

Local strategies For Housing

Regenerative agriculture & Farming Collaboration

Explore options at Local Futures

More informative videos

NENA Localisation Week 2023 – Part of International Localisation Day

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