Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

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The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is a North American alliance of nearly 80 fully autonomous local business networks, representing about 30,000 US and Canadian entrepreneurs.

BALLE envisions a sustainable world economy made up of local living economies that build long-term economic empowerment and prosperity through local business ownership, economic justice, cultural diversity, and environmental stewardship.

BALLE's building blocks include: Sustainable agriculture, Renewable energy, Zero waste manufacturing, Independent retail, Green building, Community capital.

The BALLE networks has 20,000 members. As of September 2009, it will be headquartered in Bellingham, Washington.[1]


A local living economy ensures that economic power resides locally, sustaining healthy community life and natural life as well as long-term economic viability.

A living economy is guided by the following principles:

  • Living economy communities produce and exchange locally as many products needed by their citizens as they reasonably can, while reaching out to other communities to trade in those products they cannot reasonably produce at home. These communities value their unique character and encourage cultural exchange and cooperation.
  • Living economy public policies support decentralized ownership of businesses and farms, fair wages, taxes, and budget allocations, trade policies benefiting local economies, and stewardship of the natural environment.
  • Living economy consumers appreciate the benefits of buying from living economy businesses and, if necessary, are willing to pay a price premium to secure those personal and community benefits.
  • Living economy investors value businesses that are community stewards and as such accept a "living return" on their financial investments rather than a maximum return, recognizing the value derived from enjoying a healthy and vibrant community and sustainable global economy.
  • Living economy media provide sources of news independent of corporate control, so that citizens can make informed decisions in the best interests of their communities and natural environment.
  • Living economy businesses are primarily independent and locally owned, and value the needs and interests of all stakeholders, while building long-term profitability.

Living economy businesses strive to:

  • Source products from businesses with similar values, with a preference for local procurement
  • Provide employees a healthy workplace with meaningful living-wage jobs
  • Offer customers personal service and useful safe, quality products
  • Work with suppliers to establish a fair exchange
  • Cooperate with other businesses in ways that balance their self-interest with their obligation to the community and future generations
  • Use their business practices to support an inclusive and healthy community, and to protect our natural environment
  • Yield a "living return" to owners and investors


Members of local BALLE networks have a direct stake in the future of their communities and bioregions and include local business owners, non-profit leaders, government representatives, and engaged citizens. Members of Local Networks work together to:

  • Support the growth and development of community-based business
  • Encourage local purchasing by consumers and businesses
  • Create opportunities for business leaders to network and share best practices
  • Advocate public policies that strengthen independent local businesses and farms, promote economic equity, and protect the environment.

To support Local Networks, BALLE:

  • Provides Local Networks with tools, business models, and other resources
  • Links Local Living Economies to share best practices
  • Promotes Local Living Economies through media, public forums, and partnerships
  • Develops pilot initiatives to strengthen Local Living Economies


  1. ^ Gallagher, Dave (Aug 28, 2009). "National sustainable economy organization to move headquarters to Bellingham". Bellingham Herald. Retrieved 2009-09-09. [dead link]

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