Sharing Economy, summary of Swedish workshop autumn 2020

Better late than never! Here comes a summary of the Swedish workshop on Sharing Economy that was carried out in the autumn 2020. Since the workshop was held we have gotten rumours about workplaces in Jokkmokk that practices sharing and clothes-swopping amongst the collegues and also the local group for the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) informed in their newsletter that they gladly help out if you are interested to learn more about sharing and how to get started at your workplace or in your neighbourhood in example.

Sharing Economy is part of the Green – and Circular Economy and there are many ways to organize the sharing. We took help from five experienced keynotes to give us some ideas on what it could look like. Philip Näslund from Sharing City Umeå told us what the Municipality of Umeå is doing to try out and pave way for different kind of sharing initiatives. Marcel Berkelder is one of the cofounders of “Bråns utrustningsfond” which is a sharing platform that the inhabitants in the village of Brån in Vännäs Municipality (Västerbotten County) has created together and that has lived for many years now. Ola Degerfors, founder of the commercial sharing platform Hygglo gave us some impressive numbers on how many idle machines there are around the households in Sweden and why it’s so important to rent and share instead of buying something new.
Peter Parnes, co-founder of the creative meeting space and NGO Makerspace Luleå told us how its possible to create a Makerspace even on smaller location and was very transparent on their financing model. Besides sharing tools and knowledge Peter described that one of the main reasons they exist is to make the world more equal – young girls should also have the opportunities to get interested about programming, building and creating. Sofia Bystedt, the creative leader at Re:tuna galleria told us the impressing story about how it was possible to launch the worlds first recycling mall. The municipal inhabitants donate their unwanted belongings to the sortings station and then all the products get new life by redesign, upcycling or reuse in one of the many shops that are run by independent entrepreneurs in the mall.

Sharing Economy in the rural north
Yes, some of the obstacles are obvious, like that it’s harder to reach a critical mass for a certain type of service or that it’s harder to find exactly that thing you want within reach in your village. BUT, on the other hand people living in rural areas are generally historically more used to help each other out and therefore the mental obstacles to overcome could maybe be smaller. One thing that also speaks against Sharing Economy in rural areas in the north is that we (according to Philip at Umeå Municipality) are so used to be able to take care of ourselves and that we therefore need some kind of cultural change in this behaviour.
One trend watch that was given was that the sharing platform AirBnb has increased their presence in rural areas during the pandemia.

After listening to the keynotes we had a discussion amongst the participants, following a set of questions. One thing that they highlighted as an obstacle is that we in the Nordic countries generally are so wealthy and therefore our incentives on sharing are quite small. Also that the law rather supports consumption than sharing today – but change is on its way regarding that!

Evaluation of the workshop
The participants rated 4.3 on a 1-5 scale on if their knowledge on Sharing Economy has increased during the workshop. The question if they got inspired to share more also got a 4.3 on the 1-5 scale.

Shared mobility services also seems to be something of interest here – we will keep that in mind for future workshops and seminars!