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New research out today for Global Sharing Week demonstrates the growing social impact of the Sharing Economy and that the UK is a beacon for social innovation in the Sharing Economy.

Today, June 3rd, sees the start of Global Sharing Week, the world’s largest mass engagement campaign on the Sharing Economy, created by The People Who Share and co-organised by Shareable. New research conducted for the Week shows the growing social impact of the Sharing Economy and that businesses and organisations of all types, now need to create not only economic value but social and environmental value too, in order to be future-ready.

Social business and social enterprise is on the rise, Toms, Patagonia and Divine Chocolate are businesses delivering both commercial and social success with social enterprises accounting for 25% of new start-ups in Europe. In the Middle East, 75% of universities are teaching social entrepreneurship, social enterprises are at the forefront of economic recovery, outperforming their mainstream SME counterparts in nearly every area of business, from turnover growth, workforce growth, job creation, innovation, business optimism, to start-up rates. They pay fair, employ a more diverse workforce, and seek to offer opportunities to those who have been marginalized. The average pay ratio between social enterprise CEO pay and the lowest paid is 3:1, compared to traditional FTSE 100 CEOs, where the ratio is at a shocking 150:1. Other types of businesses that share value such as worker cooperatives have been shown to be more resilient than conventional businesses, to boost productivity and increase innovation – they’re also less likely to fail.

More than a million of us are already working in the UK’s Sharing Economy, providing services from driving, to household tasks and sharing skills. By 2015, it is estimated that transactions in the sector could reach up to £140bn, from an estimated £13bn predicted in 2016. But the real value lies in the social and environmental value of sharing. Global Sharing Week now reaches over 100 million people worldwide, with events and activities taking place on every continent, from skillshares to impactathons.

Global Sharing Week demonstrates that the Sharing Economy is creating not only immense global economic value (estimated at over £1.5 trillion)but social and environmental value too, impacting lives, providing jobs, tackling food poverty and helping to save our economy, The UK is now seen as a global leader in social innovation in this new Sharing Economy. Running from 3rd-10th June 2018, Global Sharing Week aims to celebrate the social enterprises and organisations already making a difference.

The Sharing Economy has been shown to create three times the social impact for low income communities. Sharing services that offer access to affordable meals, healthcare services and medical equipment are disproportionately benefitting low income groups who often spend higher proportions of income on these basics. Car and ride sharing is alleviating transport poverty, with 50% of ride sharing users saying it helps access neighbourhoods that traditional taxis wouldn’t visit. The use of short-term shared workspaces through platforms like LiquidSpace can also reduce commute time for those on underserved and on low income, enabling them to focus on continued education, job searching and growing their businesses.

In terms of economic value, more than a million of us are already working in the UK’s Sharing Economy, providing services from driving, to household and creative tasks, earning billions of pounds each year and making a significant contribution to GDP. By 2025, transactions in the sector could reach £140bn, up from an estimated £13bn predicted in 2016.

But what’s more notable, is the fact that the UK has been quick to spot the social and environmental value of Sharing, understanding that financial value only tells a small part of the story. Innovation charity Nesta, launched ShareLab in 2016, to grow evidence and understanding of how Sharing platforms can deliver social impact. UnLtd, the UK’s foundation for social entrepreneurs, has supported many Sharing ventures from YorSpace (cooperatively owned housing for York), the WikiHouse Foundation (sustainable open, building technologies), Migrateful (refugees sharing their cuisines and gain employment) and Eco-communities (providing access to shared digital resources for excluded communities).

Today, the UK is seen as a global leader in the Sharing Economy and it’s easy to see why. Global Sharing Week, is homegrown, the world’s first mass engagement campaign on the Sharing Economy; in keeping with our past, we’ve launched the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube; the UK is home to Sharing trailblazers including social business, Liftshare (which predated Facebook and Google), FareShare who last year delivered over 38 million meals to people in poverty from food diverted from landfill and Beam, the world’s first crowdfunding platform for homeless people.

Indeed, there is a tapestry of reasons for this success: support for innovation, a growing social enterprise sector, strong green activism, that spawned the Transition Town movement and a thriving technology sector. In addition, we are home to some of the world’s largest charities, we have political support for the Sharing Economy and it’s one of the easiest places to do business. The result? The UK is at the forefront of social innovation in Sharing, worldwide.

What’s clear, is that the next trend in this sector is social impact and organisations and businesses across all sectors ned to get on board to secure themselves a place in that better future. What are you sharing?

Global Sharing Week takes place from June 3rd-10th with events happening all around the world. You can hear the song 'Why Share?' released for the Week here. Find out more at

[1] BofAml, Global Primer on the Sharing Economy, 2017

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