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Andrius Plepys

Andrius Plepys


Andrius Plepys

Sharing is daring, but is it sustainable? An assessment of sharing cars, electric tools and offices in Sweden


  • Steve Harris
  • Érika Mata
  • Andrius Plepys
  • Cecilia Katzeff

Summary, in English

The sharing economy has emerged as a potential way to reduce the environmental impact and costs of using products, whilst increasing their accessibility. However, there is a paucity of literature on its sustainability implications. To help fill this void we provide a first indicative assessment of the potential sustainability implications for the sharing of three product groups in Sweden, namely cars, small electrical tools and offices. A quantitative assessment of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, resource use and waste based on case studies, is used as a basis to develop scenarios of upscaling sharing at national level. This is combined with a qualitative scoring framework to assess the socio-economic impacts. Office sharing was found to have a significant potential to reduce GHG emissions by 164–243 KtCO2e/yr. Car sharing has a larger potential but has a wide range of uncertainty with potential reductions of 0.5–3.7 MtCO2e (if 80% of cars in Sweden were sharing cars), depending on how many owned cars are replaced by a shared vehicle. However, 80% ownership of battery electric vehicles offer a greater potential benefit with a saving of up to 8.2 MtCO2e. In terms of the reduction in material use, there are potential savings of 232,000 t/yr and 24.4-34.4Mt/yr for cars and offices, respectively. However, the tool sharing case does not demonstrate such large potential for national reductions. The qualitative analysis on socio-economic implications showed largely positive results across the indicators. However, further research is needed to assess the impacts on jobs and the local economy for the shared product groups, and to more fully understand how shared offices effect health and well-being of users. Finally, to avoid potential rebound effects additional support is needed to promote electric cars to avoid fleets of fossil fuel cars with high emissions, a flexible stock of desks without large empty office spaces, and proximity of tool sharing to minimise transport.


  • The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

Publishing year





Resources, Conservation and Recycling



Document type

Journal article




  • Environmental Sciences


  • Car sharing
  • Mitigation potentials
  • Office sharing
  • Sharing economy
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Tool sharing




  • ISSN: 0921-3449