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Collaborative or participative consumption: a sustainable model for the 21st century

Public Hearing - EESC, Rue Belliard, 99 - 1040 Brussels, Belgium

The EESC organized a public hearing on "collaborative or participative consumption" on 25 September 2013 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Collaborative consumption is a class of economic arrangements in which participants share access to products or services, rather than having individual ownership. The value of collaborative consumption is exemplified by the numerous tools and utensils we never manage to use often enough to justify the price we paid for them, or in other words, underused goods or the inability to make optimum cost-effective use of goods or to fully exploit their uses. All these things could be solved by establishing synergies between users who, through their reciprocal actions, generate personal mutual benefits as well as other more generic social benefits.

The possibilities for developing collaborative consumption are broadly based on product service systems, redistribution markets and collaborative lifestyles.

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.

There is a clear need to provide information and to raise awareness about collaborative consumption, which is why it is imperative to encourage the relevant authorities to develop as many actions as possible for this purpose, and, in turn, to carry out the necessary studies to promote new alternatives and evaluate the advantages of existing ones.


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European Economic and Social Committee
99, rue Belliard
B-1040 BRUSSELS