top of page

Generation Share: How the Sharing Economy could save the Planet

Three years of research for my book Generation Share published today for Global Sharing Week evidences the untold story of how the Sharing Economy could save and protect the planet. The largest collection of 200 case studies illustrates for the first time, the global impact of this international phenomenon.

New research released to accompany Generation Share evidences the social and environmental impact of the sharing economy dispelling myths and demonstrating that the Sharing Economy is far more wide-reaching than Airbnb and could contribute towards combating climate change. Generation Share has been published to coincide with and celebrate the 5th Global Sharing Week, the largest annual international celebration of sharing and the Sharing Economy taking place between 16th and 21st June.

The book takes readers on a journey around the globe to meet the everyday activists at the forefront of change. Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who has been making headlines around the world epitomises the spirit of the change-makers featured in Generation Share.

The book demonstrates that:

  • Food sharing app Olio have shared over 2 million portions of surplus food and food sharing apps could divert the 1.3 billion tones of food wasted each year[1], to feed the 8.6 million people in the UK who suffer from food poverty.

  • Car sharing could save the 4.2 million premature deaths per year from the associated air pollution.[2]

Generation Share is endorsed by Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton Pavilion "If we're serious about living within the means of our life-giving planet, a sharing economy will be absolutely essential. This is a hopeful and inspiring book setting out positive ways forward."

Over 200 “change-maker” micro-stories, Generation Share has the largest collection of unheard Sharing Economy case studies. From the woman transforming the lives of slum girls in India, to the UK entrepreneur who has started a food sharing revolution; you’ll discover the creators of life-saving milk banks, a crowdfunding platform for training and employment for the homeless, a care platform enabling the elderly to live longer and stay in their own homes and a pet-sitting platform TrustedHousesitters helping pets stay safe and cared for at home.

By understanding what the Sharing Economy is we see that Sharing and its impact is now a global phenomenon and could be a major contributor in combating climate change. The research conducted for Generation Share demonstrates that wasted resources such as food, household goods and clothes could be diverted from landfill to those who need them. If we can unleash our collective capacity to share, we could not only protect the planet but we could end world poverty.

Generation Share are the change-makers of our time, the everyday activists who are on the front line creating a food sharing revolution to tackle food waste and poverty; some are micro-entrepreneurs or users of services who are change-makers themselves.


Providing analysis into the current and forecast impacts of the sharing economy some of many key facts available include:

  • Over 1 million people have joined food sharing app Olio and have shared over 2 million portions of food. According to FareShare 650,000,000 meals of good quality food go to waste in the UK each year, more than enough to feed the 8. 6 million people in the UK who suffer from food poverty.

  • Shared cars could save the 4.2 million premature deaths per year from the associated air pollution every year (World Health Organisation)

  • Goods sharing app Peerby demonstrate that by sharing a household item once, we save 55kg of Co2, 700 litres of water, 9kg of waste and 300KwH of electricity.[3]


I’m often asked ‘what is the Sharing Economy?’ You can find out more in this handy video and in my explanation here. The Sharing Economy is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources such as property, knowledge, cars, skills, food, jobs, goods and time. The term emerged from the global crisis of 2008-9 and the need to do more with less. Fuelled by technology that for the first time matched people who had spare or idle resources with those that wanted or needed them, the term became associated with new types of ‘peer-to-peer’ or person-to-person online marketplaces like Airbnb.

However, Generation Share brings to life the reality beyond Silicon Valley backed ventures and instead shares the multi-faceted aspects of the sharing economy. In this new economy, three types of value are recognised and counted – economic, social and environmental. These include social mobility, poverty alleviation, environmental improvement, sustainable development, advancement of health, citizenship, happiness, human rights and animal welfare, and many more.

A collaboration between myself and photographer Sophie Sheinwald, Generation Share brings to life the phenomenon causing the most significant shift in society since the Industrial Revolution.


OLIO: a food sharing app that connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so that no good food goes to waste. Sharing surplus food that would otherwise be wasted, with people who need it and sharing responsibility for the planet. Saasha Celestial-One is the 41-year-old American co-founder of Olio and is using it as a platform to start what she calls a ‘food-sharing revolution’.

PEERBY: a good sharing platform that enables everyday items to be shared and challenges manufacturers to design goods for community sharing. Dan Wedderpohl is the 36-year-old founder from Amsterdam and is on a mission to ensure that goods are never designed for one person to own and use them.

LENA FASHION LIBRARY: a store (based in the Netherlands) and an online library, where people can borrow instead of buying clothes. Juultje Dehing is 28 years old and part of the millennial team behind the Lena Library. Fashion libraries could save the more than 5000 gallons of water it takes to manufacture a single T-shirt and a pair of jeans[4] and the over 2.5 billion tonnes of water wasted every year in China due to the fashion industry.[5]

TrustedHousesitters are the sponsors for Generation Share. TrustedHousesitters is the pet care solution keeping pets happy at home while helping people to travel since 2010. Based in the UK, TrustedHousesitters has members in over 130 countries and is the largest house and pet sitting platform of its kind.

Generation Share: is published today by Policy Press to celebrate Global Sharing Week price £25.00. Printed sustainably from waste materials, each copy of Generation Share sold, will plant a tree and educate a slum-based girl in India, helping to share the love and inspire more sharing with every purchase. You can purchase your copy here.

Policy Press is an imprint of Bristol University Press and publishes work that seeks to understand social problems and promote social change. Its core aim is to improve the day-to-day lives of people who need it most.

[1] FAO, UN, 2018

[2] WHO, 2019

[3] Peerby, 2019



bottom of page