Founder of Vancouver Tool Library Confirmed for #ZWC2015 Collaborative Economy Panel

Diplock was featured on Metro Vancouver Close Up, discussing The Sharing Project’s findings.

Chris Diplock was a driving force behind the formation of the Vancouver Tool Library and the lead researcher for The Sharing Project – a wide-ranging study of the existing and potential market for the collaborative economy in Vancouver. We are pleased to announce Chris will also be a panellist at the 2015 Zero Waste Conference, offering his perspective on the sharing economy’s potential to contribute to zero waste goals.

Sharing is the New Buying


ZWC2015 panellist Chris Diplock

The Sharing Economy, also called the Collaborative Economy or Peer-to-Peer Economy, holds significant promise for waste prevention and reduction efforts, by maximizing idle or under-utilized products and assets. Because sharing means less need to buy and own, the ideas behind the Sharing Project are also a good fit with Metro Vancouver’s goal of minimizing waste generation.

A consumer shift toward bartering, exchanging, renting, lending, leasing, and swapping is materializing at rapid speed; in part because the technological solutions are now available to make it real. In a February 2013 article for FORBES magazine, Tomio Geron writes: “FORBES estimates the revenue flowing through the share economy directly into people’s wallets will surpass $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25%.”

Another driver of this change is social attitudes. As Diplock’s work on The Sharing Project (PDF) shows, the public appears ready to embrace access without ownership.

“Want they want is the access,” he says. “And that’s what the sharing and collaborative economy offers them is the access to goods through co-owning, or through talking with their neighbours, starting initiatives. So I do think people are reconsidering that need for individual ownership.”

1 in 3 Vancouverites Wants to Share

sharing diagram

pg. 18 – The Sharing Project (click image for larger version)

According to The Sharing Project’s research, 1 out of every 3 people in Vancouver are interested in sharing more with their peers, with individuals aged 26 to 40 reporting the most interest of all age groups. More than 50% of Vancouverites anticipate that their sharing of physical objects and spaces will increase over the next 3-5 years.

Physical media such as books and DVDs topped the list of most-desired items for sharing, with repair and maintenance tools and transportation taking the other top spots. Overall, respondents also want the sharing transaction to be close to home and facilitated by an online booking/reservation service. These factors highlight the economic opportunities available within the sharing economy framework, as new businesses are created and existing organizations grow to meet the demand for shared resources.

Identifying Opportunities and Challenges

As Diplock’s research shows, the sharing economy is likely to impact Canadian municipalities in a range of ways, from accurately predicting the need for parking as car sharing eats into private vehicle ownership, to the amount of waste collection and recycling resources required when fewer goods are purchased and unpackaged. It can also have an affect on local businesses and tax revenues, creating both opportunities and challenges. For decision-makers, understanding these factors will be crucial for successfully adjusting to this burgeoning trend.

So, don’t forget to mark your calendar to attend Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Conference on Thursday, October 29, 2015, for a full day of compelling discussion on zero waste and the circular economy. We’ll showcase leaders from a broad range of backgrounds, offering their perspectives, tackling vital issues, and making zero waste principles a top-of-mind priority for industry, government, and consumers. Diplock will be part of the responding panel for our afternoon session, discussing how the sharing economy can have a positive impact on waste reduction.

This year’s keynote speaker is Bill McDonough, renowned for his ground-breaking work on zero waste principles. McDonough, along with Dr. Michael Braungart, is a cofounder of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, and the co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and
The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance.

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