Sharing economy

This solution was shared by PRE-LAUNCH RESEARCH TEAM , 14 May 2021

Print date: 12 April 2024 23:54

Description of the innovative solution

Finance Sharing economy Subsidy Agricultural extension Capacity building Investment fund

Although an exact definition is contested, the sharing economy generally refers to models of sharing access and/or ownership of resources, goods and services, whether with or without a monetary exchange. Broader definitions may include acts of reselling, swapping, gifting, renting and lending as well,. This phenomenon exists across many sectors, and has been especially helped by digital mediation (e.g. online platforms such as Wikipedia or AirBnb). In agriculture, common forms of the sharing economy include community gardens, food swapping, and alternative food networks (AFNs), such as community supported agriculture (CSAs) or solidarity purchasing groups (SPGs). Sharing in agri-food systems can occur both on the production and the consumption end. For instance, farmers can share equipment used for production, or they can share the labor and harvest from a community garden. In addition, different forms of capital, whether human, social, natural, built, or otherwise, can be shared. While many sharing economy networks rely on trust and informal governance structures/rules, others make more use of bureaucratic elements. Supporters of the sharing economy claim it can reduce the risk that individuals take on, allow for scaling and reduce barriers to access, increase sustainability and productivity and decrease unnecessary consumption, and lead to more resilient communities. Some critics claim that benefits aren't guaranteed, and are dependent upon the motivations and methods associated with the initiative, and point to cooptation of these initiatives by corporate interests. Others claim that such a shift to sharing can lead to an unregulated market and unfair competition. Given the heterogeneity of sharing economy initiatives, it is important that they are criticized or applauded relative to the goals and context of each project.

Supply chain segment

Financial aspects

Maturity level

Gaining traction


Food affordability Climate adaptation

SDG target

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production


Urban Peri-urban Rural Marine/Coastal

Examples and additional resources

Real-world examples

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Additional resources

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The sharing economy: make it sustainable
Scientific paper
An overview of the diversity of sharing economy initiatvies and how they relate to sustainablity, and the role various actors have in bringing these acts to fruition.


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