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.



Some numerical illustrations of emission reduction potentials

This chapter will provide some numerical illustrations of the potential environmental effects changes in consumer behavior from various sharing economy initiatives could lead to. For simplicity, the focus of this chapter is on potential changes in emissions of CO2e, 8 however it should be noted that sharing initiatives also could have impacts on local air pollution, acidification etc. Particular attention has been devoted to transportation because the body of literature on potential effects on emissions is considerably larger for this sector than for the other sectors.


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