What if…political power in the EU largely moved to the regions and empowered citizens worked together at local and regional level in a spirit of openness and fairness, towards a more sustainable world? This “collaborative economy” could be a place where, in 2030, relatively small digital platforms, often cooperatives or community-owned, are tools to enable everybody to participate in the economy as well as in the community. Sharing, renting and product servitisation (creating value by adding services to products or replacing a product with a service) would replace ownership of products and assets. Free circulation of information and trust facilitated the development of voluntary standards and best practices, complementing existing regularity frameworks.

This is just one of several plausible futures we developed in the foresight study on the collaborative economy in 2030. This qualitative scenario assumes that the EU created a set of favourable conditions for collaborative platforms to thrive, including ensuring adequate and sustainable consumer and social protection, and fair working conditions, as stressed in the Commission’s European agenda for the collaborative economy.

Discussions of the different scenarios developed in the study, in particular with respect to platform-mediated labour, revealed several important issues that need to be addressed to balance distribution of social and economic risks fairly: social protection and rights of workers in platform-mediated labour markets, data and reputation, and appropriate competences and skills.

More details on the scenarios as well as their analysis are available in the now published report ‘The future of the EU collaborative economy – Using scenarios to explore future implications for employment’ .

Sharing economy report

The study has shown how scenarios can be used to inform policy-makers by providing an effective means to reflect on current issues and to explore and assess future opportunities and challenges. The scenarios and know-how developed so far provide a valuable basis for further work, be it to carry out more in-depth analyses of the platform-meditated labour market, to explore the future of the collaborative economy in other economic sectors or in the context of public services, or analyse the role of the collaborative economy in the transformation towards a sustainable economy.

The scenarios will benefit from the growing evidence on the current status and impacts of the collaborative economy in the EU. The JRC identified the existing lack of an agreed concept of the collaborative economy and the availability of only anecdotal, fragmented evidence on the EU collaborative economy as important issues to tackle, also in view of informing EU policies in this area (see new JRC report on the European Collaborative Economy – A research agenda for policy support). Access to basic data from platforms as well as appropriate monitoring metrics and indicators are prerequisites also for a successful monitoring of the field as envisaged in the European agenda.

We invite you to have a look at the reports. Feel free to contact us if you want to know more about this project

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