As resource scarcity looms, it’s critical to transform our mass consumption culture. Through a renewed sense of community, we can replace our habit of shopping with a new habit of sharing. New business models, online communities, and changemakers are bringing the sharing economy to life.
Launched in Paris in early 2012, OuiShare is a “creative community for the collaborative economy.” It is growing rapidly in Europe and Latin America with a vibrant website in French, English, and Spanish. A blog by one of its founders, 25-year-old Antoine Leonard, is “one of the most-read business blogs in France,” according to an excellent Guardian article about “the stratospheric growth of the sharing economy.”
To find resources about the sharing economy, visit Shareable: Sharing by Design and see the list of the top 10 new books about the shareable economy. Or read “Collaborative Funding Skyrocketed in 2011. Will 2012 Top It?” about how venture investments in collaborative consumption have soared.
Do you yerdle? If you don’t yet, you probably will. Yerdle (with a small “y”) is a new sharing economy website and app that aims to turn shoppers into sharers by making it easy for people to share things with their friends (and friends of friends). Yerdle was co-founded by three guys determined to win the war on consumption, including Adam Werbach, former president of the Sierra Club, Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi S, and new member of the EthicMark® Award Judges Panel.
It’s becoming easier and easier for entrepreneurs and small investors to collaborate in new endeavors while avoiding the casino on Wall Street. Crowdfunding exploded into the big time in 2012 with new platforms and new laws in the U.S. and Europe that support equity fundraising. See “The Most Unique Crowdfunding Campaigns of 2012.”
This online survey of consumer attitudes, motivations, and behavior relating to sustainable consumption across six major international markets” (Brazil, China, India, Germany, the UK and the US) shows that people are “buying less and buying better” but there is still a disconnect between what people say about purchasing sustainable products and their purchasing decisions, especially in developed markets.
Of the 6,224 respondents, 66% agreed that “as a society, we need to consume less to improve the environment for future generations,” and 65% felt “a sense of responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment.” Yet barriers to purchasing more sustainable products remain.
Concerns about product performance, price, what makes a product socially or environmentally responsible, and the credibility of green claims are holding people back. The opportunities for better communication and marketing are clear. “Exploring this dynamic tension – between material possessions and social and environmental progress – is a critical opportunity for companies to advance sustainable consumption and create positive social impact.”
Download the free report from the Regeneration Roadmap website.