Peer-to-peer sharing – online business models for collaborative consumption to facilitate sustainable business
December 2014 - November 2017
Funded byGerman Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Sustainable Business
IÖW – Institute for Ecological Economy Research
IZT – Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment
The PeerSharing project deals with innovative online platforms which mediate the sale, purchase or exchange of products and services between private individuals. Peer-to-peer sharing is still a niche phenomenon, but it has gained considerable momentum. However, its socio-ecological potential remains largely unexplored. The aim of this project is to bridge the gap by studying the ecological impact of peer-to-peer sharing and questioning why people are not yet using these services. Another aim of the project is to determine sustainable development perspectives for peer-to-peer sharing. Business model and governance analysis, empirical studies of user patterns, life cycle assessments and estimations of potential were conducted in conjunction with the four cooperating platforms Wimdu, Kleiderkreisel, drivy and flinc. Close cooperation with the international sharing network, Ouishare, and the online portal for sustainable consumption, Utopia, facilitates an in-depth exchange of information with platform operators and users. Discussion events raise awareness of the issue amongst other stakeholders, in particular from politics and civil society. In addition to the high degree of transdisciplinarity and practical relevance, another unique feature of the project is the combination of methodologies used for environmental assessments and social-empirical surveys.