Christmas is bad news for the planet when we need to be consuming a 5th of what we consume currently. Could the sharing economy offer a way for everyone to get access to what they need without destroying our planet - a highstreet where we borrow rather than buy.
Christmas has turned into a time of maximum consumption, but with space limited and programmes such as Tidying up with Marie Kundo encouraging us to get rid of what we don’t need rather than buy more, is all the giving and receiving turning into a chore? With product returns running at an all-time high and increasing in terms of the percentage of sales year on year, it looks like people already are borrowing rather than buying but illegitimately. Little is known about what happens to these returns or the environmental impact and financial cost. Perhaps switching to an access based rather than ownership based economy in terms of the products we don’t use all the time is making increasing sense financially, environmentally and socially.
Imagine a Christmas where, instead of buying things for people who that probably end up stuffed in an overflowing cupboard, we buy a year’s membership of say the sports department for the sporty family who likes trying new sports, or the fashion department for those who want to look up to date but lack wardrobe space. Would ‘Mothercare’ have been better placed to remain on the high street if it were ‘Mothershare’ where you borrow the items you need then bring them back rather than buy and either hoard or throw away?
I’m doing some research on this with Dr Gina Frei next year and maybe by next Christmas we’ll be borrowing not buying.