The consumer and environmental potential of the sharing economy: motives, barriers

Consumers are increasingly using sharing platforms to share underutilized products. While this is expected to reduce the environmental impact, it is unclear to what degree the use of respective savings or earnings increase resource use.


  • Lead department Business
  • Institute Institute for Innovation and Strategic Entrepreneurship
  • Research unit Low-end Innovation
  • BFH centre BFH Centre for the Digital Society
  • Funding organisation SNSF
  • Duration (planned) 01.12.2019 - 31.12.2022
  • Project management Sebastian Gurtner
  • Head of project Sebastian Gurtner
  • Keywords Sharing economy, Sustainability, Collaborative consumption, Innovation, Rebound-Effekt, Motivation


Actions to minimise rebound effects can be initiated by policy-makers or by the platform providers themselves. To ensure their effectiveness, however, we need to have a better understanding of how human behaviour functions and how it can be changed. Only a small amount of empirically verified knowledge about P2P sharing has been acquired until now.

Eine Hand zeichnet mit Kreide Piktogramme an eine Wandtafel, um das Konzept der Sharing Economy zu erklären.
Die Sharing Economy kann eine nachhaltige Alternative sein.

Course of action

In our project we tackle this problem using an inter- and transdisciplinary approach. First, we analyse the motivations, perceptions and spending activities of the users of peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing platforms. Second, we quantify the extent of the rebound effect and the related environmental impacts resulting from the way in which savings are spent. Finally, together with selected sharing platform providers we will develop and test measures to reduce the environmental impact of sharing practice