A Critical Framework for Examining Sustainability Claims of the Sharing Economy: Exploring the Tensions Within Platform Brand Discourses

Michael Beverland, Pinar Cankurtaran, Leila Loussaïef*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The sharing economy represents a market-driven response to the perceived inefficient resource use arising from materialism, and as such, offers the possibility of a more environmentally sustainable form of consumption. However, the sustainability benefits attributed to the sharing economy remain contentious and fraught with paradox. Drawing on a critical discourse analysis of three sharing economy brands (Lime, Rent the Runway and BlaBlaCar) we identify that sustainability discourses compete with claims arising from the espoused benefits of immateriality and platform brands’ desire for rapid growth. We identify and explore three platform brand discourses (disrupting unsustainable leaders, guilt-free choice, and non-commercial appeals) and their associated practices. In doing so we identify that tensions between these discourses and practices give rise to three sustainability-related contradictions: displacement of sustainable alternatives, hidden materiality, and creeping usage. Our findings contribute to our understanding of the sharing economy and its role in sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-230
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Macromarketing
Volume42 (2022)
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.

Keywords

  • access-based consumption
  • branding
  • critical discourse analysis
  • materialism
  • sharing economy
  • sustainability

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A Critical Framework for Examining Sustainability Claims of the Sharing Economy: Exploring the Tensions Within Platform Brand Discourses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this