European co-operatives release vision paper on growing the collaborative economy

'The collaborative economy is booming, and our responsibility is to create a positive ground to enable its maturation and sustainability'

Cooperatives Europe published a vision paper highlighting the role of co-ops in the collaborative economy. Presented at a conference at the European Parliament hosted by MEP Nicola Danti, the paper proposes a new definition for the collaborative economy.

The document is a response to the European Agenda for the collaborative economy, adopted by the European Parliament in June 2017. The resolution outlines the importance of strengthening the single market and creating an enabling environment for relevant economic actors, including co-operatives.

The collaborative economy had a revenue to €28bn in 2015 in Europe. A report by PwC estimates that by 2025 the collaborative economy will have platforms in five sectors, generating revenues worth over €80bn and facilitating nearly €570bn of transactions.

Cooperatives Europe’s paper claims the sector has continued to grow, disrupting sectors and having impacts on fair competition, labour rights, consumer protection, quality of service and transparency.

The vision paper is the result of a consultation involving representatives of sectoral co-operative organisations and European co-operators.

One of the issues that came out of the consultation was the fundamental role played by communities in the collaborative economy. As people-centred enterprises, co-operatives stand as key players in ensuring a sustainable, competitive and inclusive development, argues the paper. It adds that there is a need for a European enabling ecosystem that recognises the value of the co-operative model in the collaborative economy, adding that existing regulations should be modernised to enable the development of a co-operative-based collaborative economy.

The document also calls for public-private partnerships between European institutions and community-based organisations such as co-operatives to unleash the full potential of the collaborative economy.

Jean-Louis Bancel, president of Cooperatives Europe, said: “The collaborative economy is booming, and our responsibility is to create a positive ground to enable its maturation and sustainability. This vision paper demonstrates the importance of a co-operative-based collaborative economy to reconnect people and their communities at a time when creating social cohesion is needed more than ever. I am looking forward to working with European stakeholder and policy-makers on an ambitious project for the future of collaborative economy.”

MEP Nicola Danti, added: “The collaborative economy can represent a big opportunity for the European co-operative movement to reinvent, and benefit from the technological revolution. At the same time, co-operatives can provide added value for a balanced and sustainable development of this new phenomenon.”

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