Session 11

Ecological and Socio-Technical Assessment of Collaborative Consumption: Resource Efficiency Potentials
Katrin Bienge, Paul Suski, Sebastian Kiefer, Monika Wirges, Martina Schmitt
Wuppertal Institut, Germany

The concepts of Sharing or Collaborative Consumption are currently emerging from the field of consumerism (e.g. Botsman & Rogers 2010, 2011; Scholl et al. 2013; Leismann et al. 2012). They address practices of daily life that aim towards a collaborative use of various objects (products and services).
From the sustainability perspective it is assumed that these sharing models of consumption make an important contribution to the reduction of resource use. Initial studies show potential against an overproducing use-and-throw culture (Grimm & Kunze 2011). Further studies imply that it is not possible to lay down the general conclusion that collaborative consumption offers are necessarily “resource-efficient” or “sustainable” (e.g. Leismann et al. 2012; Harms 2003; Schrader 2001; Scholl 2009, 2012; Scholl et al. 2010; Scholl et al. 2013). Ecologically positive effects depend on the kind and the setting of sharing offers as well as consumption patterns and social practices.
Subsequently, it is explained how the ecological contribution of selected collaborative consumption offers in Germany can be methodically evaluated. The mixed method approach is based on a desk research, expert workshops, and the method of resource efficiency potential analysis. The method description is carried out introducing the method of resource efficiency potential analysis (Bienge et al. 2009; Rohn et al. 2014; Liedtke et al. 2014) and its specific use for the purpose of analysing collaborative consumption offers. Therefore we compare the resource use of the commonly used option with its alternative. In terms of resource productivity we assess the indicator Material Footprint, and in terms of greenhouse gas emissions we analyse the indicator Carbon Footprint (Liedtke et al. 2014).
Three thematic clusters with 6 sharing offers in the area of “mobility”, 5 offers in “housing & travelling”, and 9 offers for “household goods” have been assessed by applying the resource efficiency potential analysis.