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THE 2020 FESTIVAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
DIGITAL-FIRST EVENT 7-15 NOV 2020
FoSS and ESRC logos

Renting consumer goods: sustainable consumption in a post-Covid world?

11th November 2020 16:00:00
Talk/Webinar, Panel debate, Workshop

About this event

Prior to Covid-19, renting consumer goods such as fashion clothes, toys, tools and baby clothes has been gaining popularity as a convenient, cost-effective and sustainable alternative. It offers environmentally conscious consumers an opportunity to extend product-lifetimes and to reduce their consumption of brand-new consumer goods. In addition, we examine a shift from traditional ownership (becoming less important) to valuing experiences and access to goods. However, despite the increasing popularity of sharing economy platforms offering accommodation and transport services, awareness and experience of renting every-day consumer goods online is still very low. Recently, high-end department stores have announced rental trials. Selfridges launched its first rental collection in partnership with rental platform HURR Collective, whilst John Lewis launched a furniture rental service with Fat Llama. Are these signs that renting consumer goods can become mainstream in the future and be available at every high-street? In this online event we will be exploring attitudes, drivers and barriers to renting consumer goods as an alternative to buying brand-new. We will present the results from three consumer-focussed studies funded by the British Academy/ Leverhulme Trust. In addition, we will reflect on the impact of Covid-19 on rental services. During the current pandemic, consumers have become more aware of the impact of their consumption habits and have made some significant changes to their everyday routines. Meanwhile, some rental platforms experienced an increase in demand whilst others saw their business operations disrupted. The event will feature a panel discussion with rental business owners (Our Closet and Toybox Club) providing an opportunity to share their experiences. Interactive polls and a Q&A session will allow for audience participation.