Environmental potential of sharing economy from life cycle perspective

In this presentation, we will explore the potential of the sharing economy to reduce the environmental impact of consumption and production activities, from the perspective of life cycle thinking.

The way we consume products and services is rapidly diversifying with the recent development of a sharing economy. This phenomena has the potential to drive conventional ownership-based consumption activities environmental and economic sustainability.

However, the definition of sharing economy is often obscured. This poses challenges to understand the characteristics of decisive factors on their environmental impact.

To clarify the environmental potential of a sharing economy, we conducted an analysis based on a literature survey and media accounts. We also performed a number of case studies on operating business models.

Specifically, we examined business models of automobiles, washing machines, and books; computing their environmental impact in terms of global warming potential.

As a result, quantitative evidence of the environmental sustainability of a sharing economy was identified under specific scenarios for each product studied. In other words, the mode of environmentally sound sharing economy is distinct depending on the product and their business model.

Future analysis includes generalisation of the relationship between product groups and their environmental sharing mode.




Eri Amasawa graduated from the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, US with a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering. Upon graduation, she worked as a technical staff for the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan for about one year, where she assisted the establishment of the life cycle inventory database of Japan.

She then acquired M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the UW, where her thesis was on the development of functional photovoltaic cells. To get involved in interdisciplinary research, she pursued her doctoral degree in Sustainability Science at The University of Tokyo. Currently, she works as an Assistant Professor at The University of Tokyo in the Department of Chemical System Engineering, where her research interests cover environmental impact assessment

Date & time

2–3pm 10 Dec 2019


Room:1.25 Tutorial Room


Dr Eri Amasawa

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