A critical framework for examining sustainability claims of the sharing economy: exploring the tensions within platform brand discourses

Beverland, Michael, Cankurtaran, Pinar and Loussaïef, Leila (2021) A critical framework for examining sustainability claims of the sharing economy: exploring the tensions within platform brand discourses. Journal of Macromarketing. pp. 1-17. ISSN 0276-1467

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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.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Strategy and Marketing
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2021 09:11
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 09:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/103341

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