June 15th and 16th 2017 the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) of the Lund University (Sweden) hosted the 4th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy. A great venue for the European network of researchers working on the topic of the collaborative and sharing economy.
In two days 95 participants attended the workshop, organized in 10 multidisciplinary sessions, 3 very valuable keynotes speeches, 1 academic discussion and 1 stakeholders debate.
The workshop was opened by professor Oksana Mont of the Lund University who welcomed the participants and introduced the first keynote speaker: professor Julian Agyeman of the TUFTS University (Medford-Boston, MA) author, with Duncan McLaren, of the book “Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities”.
Agyeman started from the concept of just sustainability – to explain how the reinvention and the revival of sharing in our cities could enhance equity, rebuild community and cut resource use; and he presented the “sharing paradigm” proposed in the book: a paradigm which recognizes the shift from socio-cultural sharing practices to (inter)mediated ones as the central transition in contemporary cities, and also highlights a second spectrum from communal/intrinsic to commercial/extrinsic models. The book in fact explores more cultural then commercial, and more political then economic approaches, that are rooted in a broad understanding of the city as a co-created urban commons. The speech ended with some suggestions for governing the sharing city and developing the methodologies of analysis.
The workshop continued with the sessions exploring both conceptual, methodological and empirical questions, such as concepts, methods, impacts, operations, geographical contexts, actors and governance, gathering Ph.D researchers, research fellows and assistant professors from many European countries and universities, revealing a great variety of approaches, methodologies, fields of research. In the two days of the workshop 39 contributions and 3 pitches were presented.
The second keynote speaker was Michael Kuhndt, the executive director of the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), an international nonprofit Think and Do tank that works with businesses, policy makers, partner organizations and civil society towards a sustainable planet.
He gave insights and linkages for a sustainable living and presented a global survey on the sharing economy initiatives in North America, Europe and Latin America. He linked the sharing economy with four dimensions, giving data and explanations for each one: lifestyles, digitalization, circular economy and mainstream businesses.
The first day closed with an academic panel discussion titled “Sharing Economy: controversy in the making”. Moderated by Lucie Zvolska, a Ph.D researcher in the sharing and collaborative economy at the IIIEE, it involved Julian Agyeman, Michael Kuhndt, Karin Bradley – Associate professor of the KTH, expert on sustainable urban development, environmental justice and sharing economy, Hugo Guyader – OuiShare Connector Sweden, Ph.D at the Linköping University, Karin Salomonsson – of the Lund University, Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, and Yuliya Votytenko Palgan – Assistant professor at the IIIEE, expert on new economies (bioeconomy, sharing economy and circular economy) and sustainable urban innovation and experimentation (urban living labs). The panel went through some relevant questions such as topics and issues on which to work today to analyze the sharing economy, and the best methods to use, as well as the social inclusion in the sharing economy as tool for a more sustainable economy.
The first day ended with a collective dinner at the Grand Hotel of Lund.
The second day saw the keynote speech of Martijin Arets, an international experts in the field of scalable online platforms, in particular in the sharing economy, crowdfunding, and the gig economy. He talked about sharing economy and entrepreneurship on the bases of more than 350 conversations he made in 13 countries in the last three years with businessmen and experts.
The speech was followed by a stakeholder debate (after academia a glimpse on the local landscape in terms of sharing economy). Moderated by Steven Curtis – a Ph.D student at the IIIEE researching on urban sharing organisations as a mechanism to realise sustainability transitions in cities, the panel wondered about the future of the sharing economy. Among the participants there were: Eva Eiderström, Director of the Department of Ecolabelling and Green Consumption at the charitable environmental organisation Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. Emma Börjesson, project manager at the Environmental Department in the City of Malmö, expert on sustainable consumption, with particular attention on fair trade, textiles and food; recently, her work has brought her to the sharing economy, due to a project funded by the “European Regional Development Fund”, which focuses on job-creation and lowering living costs. Anna Wittgren, the Business Area Manager of Leisure Travel at Malmö Tourism, an organization that is part of the Malmö Municipality. Matthias Lehner, a Postdoctoral fellow at Lund University engaged in the study of the role of food retailers in promoting sustainable consumption; he is currently collaborating on two projects to examine the role of “the sharing economy” in empowering more sustainable consumer/user consumption behavior. Mattias Jägerskog, founder of the non-profit ridesharing movement Skjutsgruppen who for some ten years now gathers over 70,000 participants, working with over 30 municipalities, counties and regions in Sweden. Jane Olsson, founder of the company SWOPshop, located in central Malmö with the aim to allow people to barter clothes and focused on sustainable consumption in fashion.
Professor Oksana Mont closed the workshop highlighting the connections made in the event in terms of co-creation and co-sharing values: engaged academic community, engaged young researchers, interest from stakeholders. In line with this approach of co-creation and co-sharing all the sessions were spaced out with networking coffee breaks to give participants the opportunity to exchange opinions, to reflect together, to ask more questions even after the discussion space during the sessions.
Professor Mont also remembered that the workshop contributors can participate at the draft of a book to help in describing and understanding the sharing economy phenomenon, sharing organizations, sustainability impacts and institutionalization processes. In addition a Special Issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production will be issued. A legacy of the workshop will also be the creation of a Ph.D student network on the sharing economy, to connect diverse backgrounds, ways of working, places and perspectives, and to apply for funding for workshops and meetings.
At the end, Dominika Wruk, of the Mannheim University and member of the project I-Share, presented the date and the venue for the next edition of the workshop 5IWSE: University of Mannheim (Germany) , June 28th and 29th. A new opportunity to brainstorm about sharing and to connect researchers and ideas in an innovative city, a real sharing hotspot (there are more than 70 sharing organizations), easily reachable with public transportation from all the European countries. So, save the date!
[The workshop was arranged by IIIEE together with the department of urban planning and environment at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) and the funding support of the agency Formas (Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development)]
Il 15 e 16 giugno si è svolto presso l’università di Lund, in Svezia, il 4° International Workshop on the Sharing Economy. Un’importante occasione di confronto per i ricercatori europei che lavorano sui temi dell’economia della condivisione e della collaborazione in diversi ambiti accademici. 10 sessioni per presentare 39 ricerche e 3 pitch, che hanno visto la presenza di 95 partecipanti. Il workshop è stato impreziosito da tre keynote speakers d’eccezione: Julian Agyeman della Tufts University (Boston, MA), Michael Kuhndt del CSCP – Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production e Martijn Artes, esperto internazionale di piattaforme collaborative; oltre a un panel accademico e un tavolo di discussione tra stakeholders locali. Prossimo incontro: 28 e 29 giugno 2018 all’Università di Mannheim per la quinta edizione: save the date!