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Five ways to boost Sweden's sharing economy

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Five ways to boost Sweden's sharing economy
Taxi driver protesting Uber in Brazil this month. Photo: AP Photo/Eraldo Peres
08:59 CET+01:00
How can Sweden ensure that the sharing economy is put to the best use? Mattias Goldmann from liberal-green thinktank Fores shares his five best strategies.

Everything from cars to drilling machines are left unused for the majority of time. Sharing resources is effective, eco-friendly, and can save money both for individuals and society. Here are five suggestions to achieve an optimal sharing economy.

1. Secure the climate's health

Carpooling is often seen as an important part of the sharing economy. An individual car is unsed 23 out of 24 hours per day which is poor usage of resources. But the business model must be right; options such as Car2Go charge per minute, making drivers step on the pedal just to reduce prices. This not only increases exhaust emissions, but also worsens traffic safety.

2. Protect what we've got

After many years' work from legislators, large clients and active consumers, all major taxi companies in Sweden use almost only green cars, which has laid the foundation for making it possible for everyone to refuel on biogas or recharge with electricity. Now, this is challenged by Uber, who's climate standards are next to nothing and green cars far fewer than the taxi industry. When we choose new business solutions we have to protect what we have already achieved.

3. Include a social dimension

The sharing economy is painted as a new social contract where trust is created through collective access. However, the reality is often different. This is shown especially in the prime example of the sharing economy: AirBnB. Many cities now prohibit such a way of sharing housing, because permanent residents are in the minority and no one takes responsibility for the maintenance of the area. There must be a clear social dimension.

4. Learn from experience

The sharing economy is far from new. For example, libraries have been around so long that they must add other services that are further from the idea of sharing in order to stay relevant, and many housing associations are closing their communal utility and hobby rooms. Let us systematically learn from those who have the experience of sharing.

5. Collaborate

Sharing economy examples such as Uber and AirBnB have lead to violent protests, but increased collaboration can solve quite a bit. When the transport industry engages in carpools, they reach customers who would normally never buy their products, and contribute to a decreased environmental impact without government regulation. Let us develop this insight about mutual gain so that the sharing economy becomes less of a challenge.

Shifting to a sharing economy is something big and valuable. Let us design it well.

This article was written by Mattias Goldmann, CEO of green and liberal thinktank Fores and first published by GP. It was translated from Swedish to English by The Local's intern Tilly Olsson.

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