Consume Less/Share More = Access Economy: Takeaway from Sustainable Brands ’11

As the Sustainable Brands conference wrapped up on Friday, there was a point made that really resonated with me during a presentation made by Raphael Bemporad of BBMG.  BBMG is an agency dedicated to forward-thinking brands and conscious consumers.  His presentation “Meet the New Consumer: 5 Marketplace Trends that will shape the Green Economy”, talked about ways for brands to embrace consumers today to include what consumers want in terms of experience.   That being a “meaningful experience” and one where the consumer is “active and a co-creator”.

That co-creation then becomes the basis for what was referred to as the “Access Economy” where we consume less but share more. Instead of purchasing an item brand new or on a permanent basis, there are opportunities to buy just for a particular need and then return or swap your own items for new-to-you from someone else.

Today there are many online business models promoting that same or similar philosophy.  Mentioned in the presentation were:

SnapGoods – A place where you can rent or borrow gear from within a network or neighborhood. SnapGoods wants people to live smarter and more connected without the commitment to owning everything.

SwapStyle – A thriving community of eco conscious, clothing loving, money saving women from all over the world who are making new friends and swapping clothes, cosmetics, books and more for free.

Airbnb – Dubbed the “ebay of space” by Time Magazine, Airbnb is a different concept for booking a place to stay when you travel.  This is a  community is where people who have space to spare can connect with those who are looking for a place to stay.

To add to the list, I thought about other online businesses that also support this concept:

ThredUp –  An online clothing exchange where you can browse from the listing of boxes of gently-worn kids clothing, list your own box and buy from another.

reCrib – A newly launched site offering an online marketplace to buy and sell gently used baby and kids gear.

Paperback Swap – Trade and swap paperback, hardback, audio and trade books for free.  With companion sites, SwapaDVD and SwapaCD, sames rules apply.

I like it – consume less and share more.  All great ideas to share what we already have, still get our needs met in terms of “new” purchases or products and build relationships in the meantime.

What other kinds of business to you know of that promote this access economy?

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