WP6 Workshop on the sharing economy business model and urban Transformation to Sustainability (T2S) a success!

15 August 2017 | Dr. Yuge Ma

On 19 June, Environmental Change Institute (ECI), University of Oxford together with Institute for Economics, Tsinghua University (P R China) held the 2017 GREEN-WIN WP6 workshop titled “Is sharing economy an opportunity space for Transformation to Sustainability (T2S) in cities? Empirical evidence from EU, China, Southeast Asia and North America”. 11 scholars and practitioners from 10 countries gathered in Oxford as speakers and panelists to discuss climate, economic, social, environmental and policy implications of the disruptive sharing economy business models in cities – the focus of WP6’s Shanghai case study.

The conference is well attended by scholars and policy practitioners from Oxford, Beijing and beyond. The discussion was engaging and lively. The video of the conference is widely shared through Oxford ECI’s network: 

The workshop was opened by Dr Friederike Otto, Deputy Director of ECI to welcome the guests from China and other countries, and to introduce ECI’s leadership in global environmental change studies and policy practices. It was followed by an Introduction from Dr Thomas Thornton, Co-PI of WP6. He introduced the GREEN-WIN project and the first two years of the China case study, which led us to focus on the global impact of the sharing economy business model disruption and its sustainable potentials.

The rest of the workshop was chaired by Dr Diana Mangalagiu, also Co-PI of WP6. She first invited Dr Tim Schwanen, Director of Oxford University’s Transport Study Unit to share their latest findings on the rise of car sharing in North West Europe and their social implications. It was followed by a timely field trip report from Southeast Asia on the ride sharing businesses from Mr Godofredo Ramizo Jr of the Oxford Internet Institute.

Dr Yuge Ma represented GREEN-WIN WP6 to present the latest result of the GREEN-WIN WP6 titled ‘Social, political and cultural-cognitive transformation in the smart sharing mobility: evidence from Chinese megacities’. The report conceptualized a coevolution mechanism between the development of sharing mobility business innovation at the meso level and the city’s transformation towards sustainable future at the macro level. The report also comprised a micro level case study of a newly emerged bike-sharing business in Shanghai called Mobike based on a quantitative study by WP6 Oxford team and Shanghai research partner Tongji University earlier this year.

The last presentation of the first session came from Dr Vanessa Timmer, Executive Director of One Earth, also a member of GREEN-WIN advisory board. She shared results from a large scale international project on diverse community based sharing business models in North American and beyond, and concluded that the sharing economy, especially the community based sharing business models are not inherently sustainable, but right policy and social forces can help to realize its great sustainable potential.

The second session of the workshop comprises two insightful presentations from Prof Ke Rong and Prof Yong Wang from Tsinghua University. With fresh and rich first hand experiences and company data of major sharing economy businesses from China, the two experts argued that the sharing economy is transforming from 1.0 version (C2C) to 2.0 version (B2C) conceptualized as ‘born sharing’ in China. This brings both opportunities and challenges for urban sustainability that requires urgent policy and business attentions.

After a short break, Dr Mangalagiu invited all the speakers as well as Prof Vili Lehdonvirta from Oxford Internet Institute and Dr Brendan Doody from Oxford Transport Study Unit for a lively panel discussion. Drawing on latest studies and observations of the sharing economy globally, the panelists advanced the discussion to deeper and long-term social implications of this disruptive business change on global sustainability.

Stakeholders attended the workshop continued a heated discussion during lunch. The day was concluded successfully by a lovely dinner hosted by WP6 in Jericho Oxford by the end of the day.