The collaborative economy is the focus of a number of debates, including unfair competition, tax fraud and job insecurity. How to regulate the collaborative economy is a key question, which the public authorities are addressing. Two other questions are equally important. Does the collaborative economy provide new solutions to collective sustainable development challenges such as waste prevention, mobility and energy? And if so, what can public policy makers do to support “public interest” initiatives? These are the core questions that the Pionniers du Collaboratif (PICO – Collaborative economy pioneers) project is attempting to answer.


  • In some cases, tackling planned obsolescence, reducing waste and building social ties are strong motivations for collaborative economy theorists, entrepreneurs, and platform users.
  • The in-depth study of five peer-to-peer marketplaces would appear to indicate that they reduce waste, but they face a number of “rebound effects”; local exchanges are crucial to reducing transport and guaranteeing a positive environmental impact. While local platforms strengthen pre-existing social ties, in other cases meeting providers may be perceived as a constraint.
  • Some collaborative projects provide new sustainable development solutions, but are faced with development challenges and difficulties when working with the public authorities. These difficulties are caused by administrative silos and by competition between new and older practices.
  • Although innovators in some places receive good public support for their start-ups (access to stakeholder networks, financing and incubators),there is still not enough assistance in terms of communications and these innovators struggle to establish strong partnerships: integrating their platforms into public authority websites, experimentation, and public service delivery.
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