The emergence of the collaborative economy is a fascinating new trend. Emerging disruptive business models blur the distinction between personal and professional and change the way we work, we interact and organise our lives. Pioneers and promoters of the sharing (or collaborative) economy were quick to stress the advantages, allegedly including lower consumer prices, more social interaction as well as environmental benefits through for example better use of resources. But are their claims of the environmental potential of the collaborative economy correct? To date, there has been little objective and thorough research done on the true environmental impacts of the collaborative economy which takes into account not only direct and indirect environmental impacts, but also the rebound effect, that is increased consumption because of the the extra money earned and saved from engaging in the collaborative economy instead of the traditional economy.
Trinomics (lead) and its consortium partners (VVA, Cambridge Econometrics and VITO), will help to address this knowledge gap with this new study and assist policy makers at the European Commission in defining appropriate (environmental) policy action in this rapidly developing field. We will focus on the collaborative economy activities in the transport, accommodation and consumer durables markets and take a broad life cycle assessment approach to the topic. We will develop a typology of the common types of business models in these markets and assess the environmental impacts for a selected number of representative platforms in these markets (micro-level, e.g. Airbnb, Uber, Peerby) and upscale the findings to derive conclusions about the environmental implications of the collaborative economy at macro-level. Additionally, we will develop future scenarios capturing the most realistic development of the collaborative economy in each of the three markets to predict the socio-economic (environmental, employment and growth) implications of the collaborative economy in 2030 and 2050.
For more information, contact Jurgen Vermeulen