Using Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility as a Transition to Shared Value for the Sharing Economy (SE)

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Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility in Tourism A Transformative Concept, 2019, pp. 97 - 116
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One of the biggest challenges facing the tourism industry and policy makers is the emerging and fast growing of the concept ‘sharing economy’ (SE). Many have considered this a disruptive influence in the tourism business, while others are acknowledging it as a potentially transformative phenomenon that has been challenging for industry, governments and researchers alike. The ‘sharing economy’ describes a new economic paradigm driven by technology, consumer awareness and social commerce—particularly through web communities, and can be thought of as sharing, lending, renting and swapping redefined through digital technology and peer communities. Intense debates around the impacts of the sharing economy on the tourism industry converge around issues such as consumer welfare, economic development, equitable competition, innovation and change. Much of this conjecture coalesces around the relative merits and impacts of potential regulatory measures that might be applied to businesses operating in the sharing economy and its integration into existing business models in tourism. The challenges brought by this innovation raise questions about how voluntarily adopted principles of corporate sustainability and responsibility, and its neoliberalist consumer culture values can be reconciled with more collectivist values promoted by some established tourism firms to protect consumers and incumbent industries. In the chapter, we argue that tourism businesses only marginally use the opportunities of the sharing economy and rather advocate a regulatory framework to combat the perceived competition from the sharing economy. As SE became part of the tourism industry, tourism businesses are exploring collaborative business models. Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR 2.0) principles and practices applied to the SE might provide a way forward for tourism businesses to be more consumer oriented, have specialised operations, be flexible, transparent and responsive to market trends. This might be a means to move beyond regulation of the SE in the tourism industry and establish new ways of doing business.
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