Sharing is fun. Probably every parent is bursting with pride when their child willingly shares his or her toys. They are seen as well-behaved and not selfish. With age, paradoxically, this tendency to share things somehow becomes more and more difficult for us. Well, unless you can make money on it...
The sharing economy - because that's what we're talking about here - shows a completely new face of sharing. What is it about? A person who has something will gladly share it with someone who does not have it but needs it. The access is paid and temporary, based on predetermined conditions. Communication takes place on the Internet, using specially dedicated platforms. In this simple way, 'to have’ and 'to need' merge into one, for the benefit of all.
What can be made available in this way?
The whole apartment or room, car, boat, or even a motorhome. However, the concept of sharing economy means more - it also includes the redistribution of items that we no longer use (exchange for another, or sale), such as books or clothes, crowdfunding, or sharing skills. The sharing economy is not only a trend but it provides a real change in terms of value.
What does the sharing economy have to do with CSR?
Long story short - economy and rational consumption. We save money, for instance, by taking someone on a journey by car, we share the costs of transport. It is cheaper and nicer. We establish social relations. In addition, we limit the number of cars on the road and thus reduce the level of pollution and noise. When renting a flat or a room from a private person - we use less energy than when we stay overnight in a hotel. By buying second-hand things - we save money because we buy cheaper. We contribute to the reduction of waste. Instead of throwing away an unused jacket, you can circulate it - someone will love it. The greatest advantage of such transactions is the fact, that all sides benefit from them, also financially. Additionally, in many cases, there is a real environmental benefit - less resource consumption, recycling of items, and reduction of waste. And one more thing - social benefits. Driving a car with a stranger requires courage and trust on both sides. Buy-sell transactions between private people are also based on trust and transparency. Second-hand items often show signs of use, may be damaged, or have some defects. As long as those things are clearly communicated and everyone is aware of them, the level of public trust will increase.
There are some too. The dynamic development of companies based on the sharing trend is becoming real competition for traditional business. The issue of working conditions, insurance, and the quality control system of the offered products and services is raised more and more frequently. The lack of explicit legal regulations concerning companies from the sharing economy sector is also becoming more and more noticeable. Everything is fine if there are no problems, but in dangerous situations, such as an accident with the car you are driving, a break-in into the apartment you are renting, etc., it is necessary to protect the interests of both parties. Imaginative projects based on modern technologies are changing and will continue to change the traditional face of business for a long time to come. All in the name of better service for a lower price.
The legal issues are a problem - sharing economy companies cannot exist in some kind of legal void. The challenge is big. Because it is important not to kill modern spontaneity and creativity with standard bureaucracy and regulations. However, this challenge is worth taking up. Because it’s an effective solution that will benefit all of us. And maybe the idea of sharing will become more natural for us once again.