Encouraging trust within the developing sharing economy

1 April 2019

A combination of widespread internet use, the rise in the global use of mobile devices and technological developments has created a new platform-based community called the “sharing economy”.

BSI, the business standards company, has just released a publically available specification -PAS 202:2019 sharing economy - operation of an online platform, to help accelerate the development of the sharing economy. It specifies the requirements for operators of online platforms to effectively match the assets and skills of providers with customers and users.

As customers and providers in the sharing economy are typically unknown to each other it can lead to an absence of the trust common to traditional business transactions, including guarantees and compensation mechanisms. This specification addresses the requirement for online platforms to enable a trustworthy and reliable user experience.

Aimed at the various commercial and not-for-profit platform operators and users across all sectors and locations, this specification offers robust guidance on safety and consumer protection, management and resourcing activities, risk management and evaluation, as well as encouraging continual improvement of the service.

Nick Fleming, Head of Manufacturing at BSI said: “We are witnessing a huge impact on consumer behaviour with peer-to-peer platforms and services now commonplace. When internet customers and providers don’t know each other it can raise insecurities around trust. This leads to a reliance on user reviews for evaluation and recommendations for specific products and services of interest, such as seen with Air BnB, LiftShare and StubHub.

“In order for platform operators to build two-way trust and transparency with customers and users a demonstration of good intention and practice is required. PAS 202:2019 specifies the requirements to nurture user confidence and in turn further develop the sharing economy sector.”

Olivia Knight, Chair of Sharing Economy UK, said: "SEUK is delighted to have helped formally define what good practice looks like for sharing economy businesses.  Customer confidence and trust drive the success of the UK’s sharing economy, so it’s been extremely valuable to work with the experts at the British Standards Institution to create this comprehensive guide.”

This specification was developed by BSI in the UK in collaboration with and sponsored by JSA (Japanese Standards Association) and a steering committee* following the typical PAS process. A similar process for application will be developed by JSA for application in Japan.

Further details about PAS 202:2019 sharing economy- operation of an online platform can be found here


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Notes to Editor:


*Steering committee included:

Japanese Standards Association/ Sharing Economy Association Japan/ Sharing Economy UK/ the National Institute of advanced Industrial Science and technology/ Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy/ The Consumer Protection Interest Network (BSI)/ University of Groningen and the People who Share.