Why buy and own when you can share and rent?

The sharing economy is here - in Denmark and internationally. And it’s shaking up the roles in our society.

We all know sharing platforms like Airbnb and GoMore. But in reality you can share everything - maybe except your toothbrush and your wedding ring. Some things you share for money, some things without any monetary exchange. Sharing things is a very old tradition, but today the technology has made it easy to do globally. And, according to April Rinne from World Economic Forum, there will be much more sharing in the future!

April states that we will see much more sharing services and more users globally, and this means a lot more policy issues. Right now, politicians, municipalities and governments don’t know what to do and think.

“People working with policy should participate in the sharing platforms. How can you regulate and even talk about services you havent even used?” - April Rinne, World Economic Forum

Amsterdam is Europe’s first Sharing city

In Amsterdam, they have taken the sharing mentality seriously and are now Europe’s first sharing city. Nanette Schippers from the City of Amsterdam talked about the advantages that Amsterdam sees in stimulating sharing initiatives: Sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation, smart citizenship and social capital. Regarding holiday rental, they have made clear rules for the citizens:

“Yes you can occasionally rent out your home to tourists (60 days a year, or you are a business). Just make sure it’s honest, safe, quiet.” - Nanette Schippers, City of Amsterdan

Amsterdam has also made a cooperation with Airbnb, which means that Airbnb pays the tourist tax and educates the hosts on the rules and regulations of Amsterdam.

Aarhus will find ways to embrace the sharing economy

Niels Højbjerg, CEO of the City of Aarhus finds the initiatives from Amsterdam inspiring and he promises that the City of Aarhus will find ways of embracing sharing initiatives:

“Sharing economy is not something new. It’s just new platforms. We need to approach it in a pragmatic way.” - Niels Højbjerg, City of Aarhus

Niels mentions the new Reuse Central at Godsbanen in Aarhus as an example of the first steps of creating a framework for the sharing economy in Aarhus. Here you can drop off your old stuff and take things left by others with you without paying.

Still barriers for the sharing economy

But there are still some barriers for mobilising critical mass within the sharing economy in Denmark. The Danish Business Authority (Erhvervsstyrelsen) has identified them to be:

  • Fundamental lack of knowledge regarding specific advantages afforded by the sharing economy.
  • Lack of transparency regarding legislation.
  • Potential solutions include raising the minimum income allowed before taxes are owed when conducting transactions between private individuals.
  • Finally, a mapping of outdated transportation and food legislation is needed.

Especially the lack of transparency regarding legislation and taxes was a topic. The tax rules in Denmark are clear, but most users of the services do not understand them. So the conclusion on this point was that communications about the rules should be clearer.

The sharing economy is here. It’s not for everyone, but for those who like to share. The sharing economy will not take over our society, but be part of it. It will be interesting to see how the politicians, cities and governments will embrace it, and make it easy for the users to be part of it. If they want to.