Collaborative Consumption

Collaborative Consumption describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping of all kinds of assets, from spaces to skills to cars.  It has exploded onto the scene through network technologies that allow for these more traditional ways of economic exchange to take place on a scale and in ways never possible before. Have you joined our Midlands Community Exchange yet?  How about posting something on our Travel Share or Seed Savers page of this blog?

“Collaborative Consumption is about empowering people to make meaningful connections. Connections that enable us to rediscover a humanness that we seem to have lost along the way. It is based on personal relationships, rather than empty transactions.” Rachel Botsman

Why buy when you can rent? Or swap? Or share? Want to go on holiday but can’t afford it? Why not consider a house swop? Or how about swopping books, CDs and DVDs with friends?   Perhaps you need to hang pictures in your home – rather than rushing out and buying a power drill, rather borrow your neighbour’s or rent one. And when the time comes to start a family, consider renting your baby equipment for the short period of time that it is needed. These are just a few of the ways that people are starting to change their consumer behaviour.

The 20th century has seen us churning out mass produced consumer goods such as laptops, cell phones, TVs, cars etc. – we are a society of consumers – but people are being driven through a combination of recessionary thrift and a growing consciousness of what we are doing to our planet to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ that we own.

Sharing and renting more stuff means producing and wasting less stuff, which is good for the planet and is also a perfect fit for an urban lifestyle in which you have lots of neighbours and limited storage.

Internationally there are innovators who have established hubs where people can connect to engage in Collaborative Consumption – such as Brooklyn-based SnapGoods, which helps people rent goods via the Internet, or Airbnb, which allows people to rent their homes to travellers. People are dealing directly with one another and cutting out the middleman. Peer-to-peer sharing involves the re-emergence of community – another real benefit of collaborative consumption. People have begun interacting meaningfully with others and this shows a surging interest in community – people want to connect.

TIME Magazine called Collaborative Consumption one of the “10 Ideas That Will Change the World”

Rachel Botsman – a social innovator who writes, consults and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing – has written a book entitled What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing The Way We Live.  Botsman, who was recently named one of the “top 20 speakers in the world to have at your conference”, will be hosting an educational master class on this exciting movement at the Pavilion Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront on Tuesday 23 October 2012 from 09h00 – 12h30.  For more information on the master classes and to book contact Scatterlings on (011) 463 5085 or

The currency of the new collaborative economy is trust.”   See Rachel’s TED talk at


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