Environmental impacts and potential of the sharing economy

image of Environmental impacts and potential of the sharing economy

The various sharing initiatives seen in the Nordic countries over the last years within transportation, housing/accommodation, sharing/renting of smaller capital goods and personal services could yield considerable benefits for consumers due to better quality and/or lower prices of the services. They also have a potential for emissions reductions of CO2 and local pollutants. However, savings from lower prices could lead to increased emissions from increased demand of the services (particularly transport) and increased spending on other goods and services. Depending on how consumers spend their savings, these changes could partly, wholly or more than offset the initial emission reductions. The impacts on overall CO2 emissions depend on whether the emissions are taxed, part of the emissions trading system EU ETS or not regulated at all.




The concept of a “sharing economy” has recently emerged to give name to digital platforms for the exchange of services. It is often claimed that the sharing economy have, or might lead to, significant environmental benefits in the form of increased resource efficiency and reductions in environmental burdens. However, not much solid research has so far been done on this, theoretical or empirical.


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