by | May 4, 2017

Several municipalities have woken up to the potential of the sharing economy. When citizens, businesses and municipalities share, they save resources, energy and money. The sharing economy can therefore be a valuable tool for meeting municipal climate and environmental goals. Gate 21 and Implement Consulting Group hosted an idea development workshop in March to inspire more municipalities to try sharing economy initiatives.

“Remember now, we’re not just joining the sharing economy for fun!” says Program Manager Line Bech, after the first speakers have warmed up the participants at the workshop in March by speaking about the great potential of the sharing economy.

Participants are employees from municipalities and knowledge institutions in the Capital Region of Denmark and Region Zealand, which Gate 21 and consulting company Implement Consulting Group have invited to develop ideas for projects that can get more sharing economy happening within the municipalities.

The laughter is spreading among the participants, but the point is clear: there is vast, unexplored environmental potential for the municipal economies that goes well beyond a cozy lift home with GoMore.

More than a hip idea

For citizens, companies and municipalities, there are resources, energy and money to save by sharing more about things like cars, equipment and machinery, but also public spaces and premises.

“We do not go into sharing economy initiatives just because it’s hip right now. The sharing economy can help solve the challenge of our very high resource consumption, for example, by using waste as a resource and answer specific challenges such as space shortages in cities, by using shared cars and better utilizing public spaces,” explains Line Bech, Program Manager For Circular Economics at Gate 21.

Regional focus on the sharing economy

The sharing economy is also the focus of both the Capital Region of Denmark and Region Zealand. Henrik Madsen, Chief Consultant at the Regional Capital Unit for Mobility and Technology, says about the regions’ work:

“We are aware of how economics can be one of the levers for green growth and the circular economy agenda. We also have a major task in reducing congestion in the capital, and therefore we work with city cars. We have just started a project where families in Copenhagen and Frederiksberg have said ‘yes’ to storing and living without their cars for a period in favor of public transport, vans and electric bicycles.”

Region Zealand focuses on business and is currently implementing a challenge called ‘Region Zealand Shares – 2017’ to identify ideas for how small and medium-sized enterprises can exploit the growth opportunities in the sharing economy.

Every third municipality shares

Before the workshop, Implement Consulting Group conducted a survey among participants to take the sharing economy pulse of the represented municipalities.

The survey showed that more than a third of the participating municipalities are engaged in sharing economy initiatives and there is great interest in working more within that area.

The sharing economy may strengthen community

Communities and networks are central to economics, says Emmy Laura Perez Fjalland. She is a PhD student in the sharing economy and urban development at Roskilde University and the Danish Architecture Center and has closely followed the Sharing City project, which was completed in 2016.

“The sharing economy covers a number of methods and organizational forms and is about reconsidering what resources are and how they can be distributed differently. Sharing economy initiatives can help establish and strengthen partnerships that contribute to sound bottom lines for businesses, local business development and green transition,” she explains.

A wealth of sharing ideas

The workshop resulted in a list of 64 ideas, including 12 high-priority ideas.

In cooperation with several of the participants, Gate 21 has submitted an idea to Region Zealand’s challenge.

The four highest priority ideas from the workshop were:

– Make better use of public space, to increase the rate of use.

– Redefine waste so local entrepreneurs can experiment with innovative recycling.

– Creating lending communities within housing associations, so they can share tools, for example.

– Develop a catalog of shared transport solutions.

If you are interested in moving forward with an idea that might be a project for Gate 21, or you would like more information, please contact Program Manager for Circular Economy Line Bech at line.bech@gate21.dk.