Monday, 26 October 2015

Community Currencies: Money that can drive environmental sustainability

Hi everyone! Today I will be discussing about a journal article titled: 'Local currencies for purposive degrowth? A quality check of some proposals for changing money-as-usual'.


Local currencies can help to reduce carbon footprint. 
(http://www.utne.com/politics/how-to-start-a-community-currency.aspx)


Firstly, local currencies, which can also be known as community currencies or complementary currencies, are a form of money that can only be used in a certain region or place, where it is accepted as the means of payment. You may think, what is the rationale for such community currency when we already have our own national currency? Well, the rationale is that this community currency will not be exchanged out of the intended region, unlike national currency, and thus, the circulation of this community currency will promote the trading of local goods that require less transportation, as well as benefit the local economy.

Community currencies are increasingly practised throughout the world. Examples include Time banking, LETS (Local Exchange Trading Scheme) and HOUR currencies in states in the US and European Union.


Time Banking and how it works.
(http://insearchofsimplicity.com/2010/10/09/community-currencies-and-time-banking/)

The journal article shows that while community currencies do promote the increased trading of local products over imported ones, thereby saving carbon emissions that arise from transporting over long distances, their benefit to the environment is limited.

Nonetheless, I think they still have a role to play in promoting a sustainable economy. Even though Singapore is a small country, I think there is the possibility of implementing an economic system similar to such community currencies, in terms of encouraging the consumption of local agricultural produce. This would reduce the 'food miles' from transporting large amounts of imported food, and help to support the livelihoods of local farmers as well.


Literature Cited

Dittmer, K. (2013). Local currencies for purposive degrowth? A quality check of some proposals for changing money-as-usual. Journal of Cleaner Production, 54, 3-13. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.044

Monday, 19 October 2015

Redefining Progress: Indicators for measuring sustainable development

What are the things that you find meaningful in life? What is your meaning in life?

While doing some research, I came across a journal article about the limitations of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the alternative progress indicators that measure sustainable development.

GDP is simply the total market value of goods and services traded in a country in a given year. It is the most commonly used indicator to measure the economic growth of a country, and thereby a proxy measure of  the standard of living and quality of life of citizens. However, continual economic growth, based on the production and consumption of finite natural resources, is unsustainable. GDP does not take into account environmental costs and natural resource depletion rates. In fact, as GDP considers all expenditures as positive, do you know that the cost of cleaning up an oil spill would add to a country's GDP? Furthermore, GDP does not factor in important activities that do not involve monetary transactions, such as volunteerism.


GDP does not measure aspects that relate to environmental and societal well-being.


Therefore, the journal article calls for a development pathway that keeps within sustainable biophysical limits and assesses the alternative indicators to GDP. These alternative indicators are of two main types. One is that of greening GDP, which adds environmental indicators to GDP, and the second type is that of introducing entirely new development indicators. Some examples of the second type are the Genuine Progress Index (GPI) and the Happy Planet Index (HPI).

To illustrate an example, the Genuine Progress Index, or GPI, uses the same method for counting GDP, but it subtracts the costs of negative activities such as pollution, resource depletion and crime, and adds in positive ones such as volunteer work. Twenty US states have already started using the GPI to measure their citizens' well-being, thus showing that it is viable for Singapore, of a similar size and economic status, to use such alternative indicators that measure sustainability instead of primarily GDP.

The article explains that, for a more accurate measurement of sustainability, there should be two main considerations: the greatest sustainability size, which relates to the biophysical capacity of the earth, and global fairness in terms of resource usage.

After reading the article, I feel that there is indeed a greater, urgent need to do away with pursuing economic growth, and focus on sustainable development instead. The alternative progress indicators may have their shortcomings but they were evaluated to be a better, more holistic way of measuring development, and they should be relied on, instead of relying primarily on GDP. These indicators show the importance of environmental well-being, and it being the basis for societal well-being.

One main takeaway I have from the article is this idea of global fairness of resource usage. Most countries do not consider the impact their development has on other countries. Thus, this can lead to them 'out-sourcing' their carbon emissions.

Currently, Singapore uses the HDI (Human Development Index), besides GDP, to measure its level of development. The HDI is better than GDP in that it more accurately depicts the country's well-being in terms of including education and health, however, it has a weak link to the environmental well-being of a country. As mentioned in a previous post, Singapore, despite its small size, has the 7th largest ecological footprint on a per capita basis. This is clearly not apparent in its HDI, which is placed 9th out of 187 countries. Although Singapore has disputed the reportedly high ecological footprint because it does not count in the carbon emissions embodied in its imported goods, which is similar to the UN's method of ecological footprint measurement, I think this should not be the case, since Singapore, being a developed country, has a significant economic power in greening its procurement, and can help the producer countries, which are usually developing ones, produce in a more environmentally-friendly way.

What are your thoughts on Singapore's measurement of development?


Literature Cited


Living Planet Report 2014 Facts. (2014). Retrieved October 15, 2015, from 
http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/living_planet_report_2014_facts/

Ceroni, M. (2014, September 23). Beyond GDP: US states have adopted genuine progress indicators. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/sep/23/genuine-progress-indicator-gdp-gpi-vermont-maryland

Daly, L., & McElwee, S. (2014, February 3). Forget the GDP. Some States Have Found a Better Way to Measure Our Progress. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116461/gpi-better-gdp-measuring-united-states-progress

Monday, 12 October 2015

Socially Responsible Finance: Savings that can save the world

Besides donations, can your money promote environmental and social well-being?

Well, yes it can!

When we save our money in banks, banks will use this money to make loans and investments. Hence, your decision to save in which bank would indirectly determine the types of companies that get invested in, which differ in how sustainable they are.

Thus, it is vital that we choose banks that only lend to companies which have a decent environmental and social performance. This is also known as practising Socially Responsible Finance, in which money is used to contribute to a more sustainable and just world.

Saving for Good, a local movement to promote socially responsible finance.


While the haze has been the bane of many communities lately, it has thankfully prompted the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to develop a set of guidelines to instill more socially responsible lending in the 158 banks here. These ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) guidelines incorporate issues such as deforestation, labour rights and carbon emissions. Previously, the banks here did not have to adhere to any 'green' rules that govern their lending practices. I was rather shocked by this, since these banks, with their great economic yield, could have been profiting from errant companies all this while, including those responsible for the haze. This also represents a huge neglect and oversight by the government, and raises the issue of environmental justice, where developed nations profit at the expense of the developing ones.

We can also help to complement ABS efforts. If you would like to push for more socially responsible lending practices among banks, you can sign this locally-started petition by Saving for Good. Banks in the ASEAN region have generally performed poorly in terms of sustainability criteria, with only 4 banks in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore factoring such criteria in their lending decisions.

Let's help to change this and harness our savings to build a better world.

Literature Cited


Chua, J. (2015, October 8). Haze prompts Singapore banks to set ESG guidelines. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from http://www.eco-business.com/news/haze-prompts-singapore-banks-to-set-esg-guidelines/

Monday, 5 October 2015

For a Greener Trade: Join the movement for sustainable palm oil

Are these images similar to what you have been seeing nowadays?




Indeed, the haze this year seems to have been the worst, with PSI levels spiking to more than 400 in Singapore, and to 2000 in Indonesia and Malaysia.

In Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, the water channel has become extremely contaminated, but Slamet thinks: "better a dirty fish than no fish at all". 


Residents in Central Kalimantan do not even have a proper mask to wear. 

Not to mention, the rich biodiversity in Indonesia's tropical forests are severely affected. The Sumatran Orangutan and Sumatran Tiger have become critically endangered. 


Orangutans spend most of their time in treetops. Sadly, they may stay perched amongst the forest fires out of fear, and are often burned alive as a result.  


The Sumatran Tiger. Two-thirds of their habitat have been destroyed. 


What is causing the haze?

The haze is due to the burning of these carbon-rich peat forests, caused by companies clearing land for palm oil and paper and pulp plantations. With reference to last week's post, the air pollution posed by the haze is also a form of externalized cost. 

In addition, I had been discussing about the sustainable fashion choices that we as individuals could make. However, in this article, Greenpeace Director Annie Leonard also makes a pertinent point about how we have to push for bigger structural change as well, in addition to being mindful consumers. That's how major reforms can be effected. 

Thus, with regards to the haze, how can we collectively stop this perennial problem?

To tackle the haze, the People's Movement to Stop Haze (PM.Haze), a local, grassroots NGO, was formed in 2014. It aims to empower people with the means and knowledge to fight the haze. 

It has launched a We Breathe What We Buy campaign, where it aims to collect the 50,000 pledges for its petition. This petition will be presented to companies to urge them to switch to sustainable palm oil products. 

Add your voice! Sign the petition to #XtheHaze!


In addition, it is also organizing a workshop for companies to participate in to discuss about switching to sustainable palm oil. 


A facebook post by PM.Haze, encouraging companies to switch to sustainable palm oil.


Thus, the above solutions are some of the possible ways that we as individuals can do beyond our purchasing choices. I think one positive feature of PM.Haze's approach is that it has been very bottom-up based, seeking to educate consumers about the problem through roadshows and talks, and then harnessing people's support to effect larger-scale changes in the policies of companies and government. 

Additionally, I had been thinking about how people can push for sustainable trade policies that Singapore can implement in relation to palm oil, apparel and other consumer goods. Do you know that, in fact, Singapore has the 7th largest ecological footprint in the world, mainly driven by the high consumption of imported goods? 

Hence, trade policies have to ensure that products are sourced sustainably to ensure the well-being of the environment and people in the exporter countries, especially when Singapore relies heavily on imports. This could also be a reason why Singapore has not been very proactive in ensuring sustainable trade, as it may be afraid that companies would be less willing to invest in it. 

The Netherlands has already committed to sourcing 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil by 2015, and the EU conducts Sustainability Impact Assessments on its trade agreements. On a side note, it implemented the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact to improve labour rights in the garment sector, in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza tragedy. 

Such top-down approaches are important to complement bottom-up efforts. 

Fortunately, the Singapore government has begun taking steps to promote the procurement of more sustainable paper and other products among firms in the public sector. Such a move is indeed very welcomed, since so far, companies have only sourced greener products on a voluntary basis. 

Till the next post!


Literature Cited


Tucker, J. (2014, April 25). 5 Innocent Animals Suffering at the Hands of the Palm Oil Industry. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/innocent-animals-suffering-at-the-hands-of-the-palm-oil-industry/

RSPO Facts and Figures. (2015). Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.sustainablepalmoil.org/palm-oil-by-region/europe/

Othman, L. (2015, October 1). Firms move towards green procurement. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore/firms-move-towards-green/2164116.html

Monday, 28 September 2015

Externalized Costs: The truth behind your $14 shirt

What was one of the major events in 2013 that touched you in a big way?

Well, for me, one of the events that still remains vividly in my mind is the Rana Plaza building collapse. It was the garment factory building where many Bangladeshis were working for companies like Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch. The collapse, due to poor infrastructure, has been the worst accident in the history of garment manufacture. At first, I didn't feel much about the incident as I had just thought of it as like another natural disaster. That changed as I was flipping through the pages of Time magazine, coming across a two-page picture of a couple who lost their lives to the accident:

The picture showed both of them in an embrace, with their eyes closed, faces dirtied by the dust.

With a heartbreaking feeling, this jolted me into thinking, "What has our culture of fast fashion done to these people?" This compelled me to know more about the social and environmental impacts of the apparel industry.




More than 1130 people were killed by the factory collapse.
(Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/ Agence France-Presse - Getty Images)



Families mourning the loss of their loved ones.
(Photo: A.M. Ahad/ Associated Press)


Firstly, let's take a peek at what goes into making a shirt:



(Photo: USAgain)

And the components that we are paying for a typical shirt..




Have you ever bought a shirt for under $15 before? But after learning about all the resources that goes into making just a single cotton shirt, this has made me wonder, how is it possible for this common product to be sold cheaply in the first place?

The answer lies in externalized costs, which are costs imposed upon a third party during the production and consumption of goods and services - that is, companies do not pay for the full costs of production. For example, garment factories may not pay to treat the wastewater discharged into a nearby river, causing the ecology and local communities to suffer from the contaminated water. Thus, companies are able to sell their products at artificially low prices, and others suffer from the negative environmental and social consequences that result.


When companies do not pay for the social and environmental costs of prodution (False price) vs. when they do (True price).

In fact, many of our commodities, whether it is our food, clothes, or electronic gadgets, they do not reflect their true cost of production. This is a sign of how businesses still focus largely on profits instead of seeking for a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. The triple bottom line is an accounting framework that measures companies' performance not just on their economic gains,  but also on how they benefit society and the environment.

I think that it would be a good thing if some of our commodities, which have caused environmental damage, are priced higher, something like having an environmental tax imposed on it. Because, in that way, we would probably think twice about buying them and thereby reduce our resource consumption. Moreover, people usually only consider their cost savings when buying a good, and seldom factor in environmental and social considerations. But I understand, that it would not be viable for the costs of basic necessities to soar, as this would affect low-income households. What's more, companies should be the ones bearing the costs or paying the taxes, if they have produced in an unsustainable manner.

As I read up more, I came across this article about how H&M is striving to pay its garment factory workers a fair wage, practise sustainability throughout its operations, and yet sell its clothes at low prices. It is paying a lot more by producing in this manner. This comes as good news, considering that it is the second largest apparel company in the fashion industry. At first, I was pondering if cheap, ethical fast fashion is just another oxymoron, as the low prices would encourage customers to buy more and hence defeat its purpose by driving resource depletion. Then I realized that this can be addressed by closing the loop - collecting used garments and recycling them into new ones to be sold, just like what H&M is doing.

H&M's founder, Perssons, reasons that shopping is still important for the economy, and that the products purchased should be from sustainable sources. I agree with him since our purchases support the economic livelihoods of the people employed. Nonetheless, I think that it would still be better to buy the products if they have ideally been made from 100% recycled material, and refrain from buying if we do not need new clothes. Buying second-hand or sharing are also good alternatives.

Still, H&M's efforts are very commendable and important since they can contribute to the streamlining of sustainable practices in the apparel industry.

Here is also another interesting info-graphic about how Puma calculates and addresses its environmental impacts by developing an Environmental Profit and Loss Statement, the first of its kind, in addition to the conventional profit and loss statements that all companies have:

Puma's Environmental Profit and Loss Statement, developed in 2011, has helped it to decrease the natural capital costs of its more sustainable Incycle cotton T-shirt by 31%. 
(http://www.trucost.com/blog/116/naturalcapitalaccounting/how)


Geared up to find out more about how other organisations are effecting change in the apparel scene? Here are some of their efforts:

- New2U Thrift Shop, set up by the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations. It sells pre-loved clothing, and other second-hand items. Proceeds go towards social causes.

- The Singapore Freecycle Facebook group is another platform for buying and selling second-hand items, including clothes. 

-  Check out the eco-guide by Little Green Dot, featuring a variety of sustainable apparel companies as well as eco-friendly dining, bodycare and furniture options that can be found here in Singapore! Some brands include: Etrican and Nukleus (which, yes, sells eco-friendly undergarments).

Houdini Sportswear and Nudie Jeans offer repair services for worn-out clothes (Nudie Jeans offers it for free!). Houdini also rents out clothes, and provides a platform for customers to sell their second-hand clothes. Houdini only has stores in Sweden though, but Nudie Jeans has a store in Singapore. 

- In addition, multi-stakeholder organisations, such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Better Cotton Initiative, have been formed to help companies implement sustainable practices. 


So far, the various companies mentioned are practising Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), in which companies take responsibility for managing their products and packaging when their customers are finished with them. Indeed, we need to transform our economic activities with a greater adoption of EPR, viewing our everyday goods as more than just disposables. If you are interested, do check out UPSTREAM, an organization focusing on comprehensive EPR policy reform in the USA which we can possibly learn from.

Stay tuned!


Literature Cited

Givhan, R. (2014, November 25). Can cheap clothing generate fair wages? H&M believes it can. Retrieved September 25, 2015, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/style-blog/wp/2014/11/25/can-cheap-clothing-generate-fair-wages-hm-believes-it-can/

Monday, 21 September 2015

Green Jobs: Preserving the earth and... make money at the same time?!

While researching about the possible jobs that would be available in a green economy, I came across an article envisioning the future's top 10 green jobs. Can you guess what they are?

Surprisingly, many of the jobs listed are those you may not have expect. Do you know that you can still work in a green job having studied medicine or accounting? Listed below is a list of the top 10 green jobs (in no particular order):

Green engineering


How much is your water footprint?
(IBM)

Top 10 Green Jobs of the future:

1. Green engineers
2. Water footprint managers
3. Virtual health support workers
4. Retail energy specialists
5. Living roof and wall gardeners
6. Green call centre advisers
7. Smart travel co-ordinators
8. Traceability managers
9. Clean car mechanics
10. Landfill miners

So one does not have to major in an environmental studies course to be in these jobs.

I feel that this is a really good assurance to people who are afraid of losing their jobs, or that economic development would be compromised, if a country were to transition to a green economy. Many of the jobs in a green economy actually require the same skills one would have in a previous similar job. For example, those who studied accounting or possess great analytical skills would make proficient environmental auditors.

In several developing countries like India and Philippines, where many call center jobs have been outsourced (The New York Times, 2011), the people there can probably still have the same nature of jobs, providing advice over the phone about how to save energy in households and businesses. This can thereby help developing countries transition easily, since the workers do not have to undergo much additional training to gain the skill sets and would just have to learn more about the environmental issues that are incorporated in their work.



Wind turbines in Denmark. They can supply as much as 140% of the country's electricity demand!
(The Guardian. Photo: Max Mudie/ Alamy)


A UN report also showed that even for traditional industries like steel, they would still continue to play a vital role in the supply chains of the renewable energy industry, where steel is a large component of wind turbines (United Nations Environment Programme, 2008).

Hence, policies to develop a green economy can contribute to both economic and environmental well-being. California, for example, is projected to create more than 110,000 jobs after setting a goal of a 75% recycling rate by 2020 (Natural Resources Defence Council, 2014).




Meanwhile, there are some jobs which may be eliminated without direct replacement in the development of a green economy. This can occur, for instance, when companies use less packaging materials, and when coal is less relied on as a source of energy (United Nations Environment Programme, 2008). However, the unemployment that results can be solved by re-training the workers so that they can work in the new green jobs that are created. For example, in California, the Oakland Green Jobs Corps job-training program equips unemployed residents with the knowledge and skills  to pursue jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency and green construction. The support from various stakeholders, such as a community college, labour unions and the city council, contribute to the success of the program.

Furthermore, the jobs in the green economy will be able to last in the long-term, compared to jobs that heavily depend on limited resources like coal, and thus the economic stability that the green economy will bring outweighs the short-term costs of temporary unemployment.

Sustainability is also the underlying theme of the green economy, no matter what job you have. I think this is really positive in the sense that this will help cultivate a sense of eco-consciousness in people's daily lives. Also, the careers that people are passionate in may not be directly environmentally-related, but have some aspects of sustainability incorporated in it, such as those of virtual health support workers.



A green job in the supermarket? 
Original Unverpackt is a German concept store selling groceries with no packaging. 
(The Guardian. Photo: Unverpackt)


A few months ago, I had read a book, "75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make A Difference", and it was eye-opening to see the wide variety of green jobs, ranging from organic farming to educators, from investment to design. In particular, it was intriguing to know about how teachers of various disciplines can incorporate sustainability into their lessons. If you are curious about the multitude of jobs in a green economy, do check it out.



What are Green Jobs? Encompassing various interests, niches and sectors. 


What careers and passions do you guys wish to pursue? Do you think they will encompass any part of a green economy?


Literature Cited

Restorick, T. (2014) Green economy jobs of the future: how will yours shape up? The Guardian. [Online] 25th February. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/green-economy-jobs-future. [Accessed: 18th September 2015]

Bajaj, V. (2011) A New Capital of Call Centers. The New York Times. [Online] 25th November. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/business/philippines-overtakes-india-as-hub-of-call-centers.html?_r=0. [Accessed: 18th September 2015]

Kenya. United Nations Environment Programme. (2008) Green Jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world. Nairobi: UNEP/ILO/IOE/ITUC.

Natural Resources Defence Council. (2014) California's New Recycling Goal is a Green Jobs Creator. [Online] Available from: http://www.nrdc.org/recycling/green-jobs-ca-recycling.asp. [Accessed: 18th September 2015]

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2015) The Oakland Green Jobs Corps (State of California). [Online] Available from: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=99&nr=105&menu=1449. [Accessed: 18th September 2015]



Monday, 14 September 2015

How You Can Go Lite by Sharing

Imagine a future where you could travel to work quickly without having to own a car. No, I don't mean that a time machine will be invented to teleport you there! Rather, you will be able to get to your workplace on time by sharing a car with others. Wait, car-sharing? Yup!

Welcome to the sharing economy - also known as collaborative consumption or peer-to-peer commerce. It is a subset of the circular economy and the wider green economy.




In a nutshell, the sharing economy can be said to revolve around bartering, lending, renting, gifting and swapping (Botsman and Rogers, 2010).

I had first come across this concept, while reading the book The Story of Stuff, and explored the topic more in depth in this article by Juliet Schor.

The tradition of sharing dates a long way back. Many civilizations had a culture of sharing things, ranging from food to tools. But as our economies became wealthier and technology has enabled access to an abundance of goods, it seems like we have been overwhelmed with a pervasive culture of consumerism. Many people now are used to buying and owning things, rather than sharing. Unfortunately, this is leading to unsustainable resource consumption.

To address this, we can share our things where possible. A simple example can be to borrow a friend's clothes instead of buying a new one. Such an idea is not new, but we tend to forget this, probably because we have become so used to the habit of ownership, propagated by advertisements of ever trendy goods nowadays.




Examples of things one can share.



The sharing economy can reach out to various aspects of life
(Photo: Derek Bacon)

Besides the simple practice of sharing, the sharing economy takes this further, including platforms like bike- and car-sharing, renting of rooms, and libraries (that lend books and even tools!).

Sharing practices in Singapore...



- A platform for renting an assortment of goods like furniture, electronics and tools.



- An online waste exchange for businesses and organisations.


And around the world...



Bike-sharing in Paris, France.
(Photo: Sarah Raymond)



Tripda
- A car-sharing app used in many countries such as Singapore, Philippines, Mexico and USA.



A Tool Lending Library in Berkeley, California, USA.


There is, however, some skepticism about how green a sharing economy is. For example, although car-sharing reduces the need for more cars, what if people drive the cars more, leading to increased emissions? And what if the the popularity of hotel room sharing entices people to travel around more?

I think to avoid such potential carbon footprints, the key is to let people be aware of the environmental impact of each individual action. While car-sharing can be green, if the destination is near, then people should be encouraged to bike or walk. Besides raising public awareness, governments can help to facilitate this by creating infrastructural change.

For example, due to air pollution concerns, the city of Paris, France, has introduced an extensive bike-sharing program, making bike-sharing stations accessible and affordable. As a result, the uptake of bike sharing is high and is one of the more successful bike-sharing programs around (Liveable Cities, 2015). In addition, the government implemented an electric car-sharing program, noting that electric cars produce less emissions than conventional ones running on petrol. These measures have helped embed a culture of environmentally-friendly modes of transport. The success of the electric car-sharing scheme in Paris has led to it being planned nationwide (France 24, 2014), and launched in London (Quartz, 2015) and the USA (Phys.org, 2015).



Autolib' car-sharing scheme in Paris, France.



Increase in the uptake of electric cars in France


Therefore, I think the sharing economy and culture should still be an essential part of the solution towards a sustainability. Furthermore, the basic act of sharing also increases interaction with the people in our community, helping to forge stronger bonds among one another.



Schor (2014)  also suggests that the sharing economy be community-oriented, underpinned by the values of sustainability, openness, fairness and cooperation. Thus the primary goal of car-sharing, for instance, would be to meet the needs of people who have to travel to faraway places quickly.

Yet, this may raise concerns about the economic viability of such a business. Would the car-sharing companies, for instance, earn enough just by renting cars to those who really need it? Would they even be motivated to cater to these customers only?

Perhaps ,then, we can see these kinds of sharing businesses as just one way to earn revenue, and our main job can be one that helps in building natural capital. This leads back to the topic of a green economy, in which jobs are low-carbon and contribute to environmental preservation. What other kinds of jobs can there be in a green economy?

Stay tuned!


Literature Cited

Botsman, R and R Rogers. (2010) What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. Harper Business.

Liveable Cities. (2015) Moving Forward with Bike-Share. [Online] Available from: http://www.livablecities.org/blog/moving-forward-bike-share. [Accessed: 13th September 2015]

Todd, T. (2014) Paris electric car infrastructure to go nationwide. France 24. [Online] 8th December 2014. Available from: http://www.france24.com/en/20141208-paris-electric-car-infrastructure-go-nationwide. [Accessed: 13th September 2015]

Werber, C. (2015) The electric car-sharing service that swept through Paris is coming to London. Quartz. [Online] 15th June 2015. Available from: http://qz.com/428116/the-electric-car-sharing-service-that-swept-through-paris-is-coming-to-london/. [Accessed: 13th September 2015]

Phys. (2015) French electric car-sharing service launches in US. [Online] Available from: http://phys.org/news/2015-09-french-electric-car-sharing.html. [Accessed: 13th September 2015]

Schor, J. (2014) Debating the Sharing Economy. Great Transition Initiative. [Online] October 2014. Available from: http://www.greattransition.org/publication/debating-the-sharing-economy. [Accessed: 13th September 2015]