In October 2013, Stephanie Günther gave a presentation at homo ecos: about “collaborative consumption”. In this series of nine blogs, she explains what it is, and how it can help towards a more sustainable society. Chapter 1: Introducing the concept of collaborative consumption.
Consuming ecologically and socially friendly – and even creating jobs.
How often do you use your car? Or your washing machine, your drilling machine or your waffle iron? Why do you keep clothes that you did not wear for 3 years – or never, because they never really fit well? Are you fed up with throwing things away that are still good?
The idea of “collaborate consumption” is to use things together, to share them, to exchange them, to rent them temporarily or just to offer them to someone who is in need. This is ecologically friendly, because it helps to prevent from using more and more natural resources to produce things. It is socially friendly because it can help people to get out of their isolation (for example if you share things with neighbours who live solitarily) or give poor people access to certain things and services they cannot afford. It can create jobs if the service is organized on a larger scale and commercialized. And it finally helps you to save money that you can spend otherwise – ideally on ecological things and services. J
Renting and exchanging systems exist for a long time, like libraries, launderettes, returnable bottles, student’s flat sharing, second hand shops and farm cooperatives. With internet and the social media, collaborative consumption has become much easier, because information is more accessible and easy to spread to a lot of people, it is easier to get into contact and also to assess what is offered, because blogs tell you what other users think about the product or the provider.
In the past 20 years, a numerous amount of initiatives have been created all over the world. Often they started on a local level and sometimes they developed their activities up to a national or even international level with a commercial purpose. The range of products and services is very wide, as almost everything can be exchanged, shared or rented for a temporary use.
In 2010, TIME MAGAZINE even stated that collaborative consumption is one of the 10 big ideas that will change the world. So why not join the movement in Latvia?!
The following articles will give you an idea what already exists elsewhere and hopefully they will inspire you to create your own initiative – on a private, local, non-profit level, or on a larger level with commercial aims. In other words: you can start your own business and make your living with collaborative consumption, like lots of people did elsewhere!
At the end of each article, you will find useful links to more information. The country indicates where the enterprise has been created, even if the offer is international. Often the sites are also in English. Some sites are indicated in several articles as their offer is broad and concerns different issues.
So it’s up to you!
Author: Stephanie Günther