This article explores some of the challenges associated with financing sustainability action at the local level, using South Africa and the UK as case studies. Formal climate finance, including flows through multilateral development banks and private sector investor markets, has been criticised for failing effectively to link global financial interests to community needs and priorities. We discuss how a number of new financial innovations, including TimeBanking, community currencies, community share schemes, and peer-to-peer lending could help to bridge this gap. In particular, we explore how such financial innovations could be employed to support a more community-driven allocation of sustainability financing that prioritises local social and environmental benefits. We suggest that grassroots financing mechanisms have the potential to account for the social dimension in mobilising resources in a green economy as well as supporting civil society and local governments to develop greater decision-making around the mobilisation and allocation of sustainability resourcing. Further, by bringing together the local and the global, sustainability financing instruments could also help to create synergies and constructive partnerships among public administrations, markets, and society for finding creative and locally appropriate solutions to promote sustainable development. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.