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Collaborative consumption: new opportunities for consumers and businesses on the EU market
Car-sharing, bookcrossing, room rental or digital communities for learning languages. Many forms of collaborative consumption are becoming more and more popular and represent great alternatives to traditional markets at times of crisis.
On 21 January, the EESC endorsed a new opinion on collaborative or participatory consumption1 and called for further action at EU level. Given the complexity and scale of the emergence of collaborative consumption, the EESC wishes to:
"There is a clear need to provide information and to raise awareness about collaborative consumption. Collaborative consumption can meet social needs in situations where there is no commercial interest and it can help, as a for-profit activity, to create jobs", stated Bernardo Hernández Bataller, rapporteur and EESC member.
Consumers purchase tools and utensils they never manage to use often enough to justify the price they paid. Collaborative consumption offers an alternative to the excesses caused by the previous century's hyper-consumption and the immense inequalities it created, such as the unnatural coexistence of hunger and obesity, or waste and precariousness. Its positive effects are, among others:
Moving towards more rational consumption also addresses market dysfunctions such as built-in obsolescence, since many designers in the field of collaborative consumption base their work on the development of hardwearing products that can be used by many people or last individual consumers or users a lifetime, which also makes them powerful allies in the war on waste.
For more information, please contact:
EESC Press Unit
Tel.: +32 2 546 8641
The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the EU decision-making process. The Committee has 353 members from across Europe, who are appointed by the Council of the European Union.
Collaborative consumption is a class of economic activity in which participants share access to products or services, rather than having individual ownership.