Generation Share: The Sharing Economy is saving millions of lives worldwide

June 16th, 2019
by Benita Matofska
Generation share cover

Generation Share published today for Global Sharing Week evidences the untold story of how the Sharing Economy is saving millions of lives, creating economic, social and environmental value. The largest collection of 200 case studies illustrates the global impact of this international phenomenon. The book takes readers on a journey around the globe to meet the people at the forefront of change.

New research released to accompany Generation Share evidences the social and environmental impact of the sharing economy for the first time, dispelling myths and demonstrating that the Sharing Economy is far more wide-reaching than Airbnb and Uber. Generation Share has been published to coincide with and celebrate the 5th Global Sharing Week, the largest annual international celebration of sharing and the Sharing Economy taking place between 16th and 21st June.

The book demonstrates that:

  • Human milk banks could prevent 2.1 million deaths a year
  • Food sharing app Olio and have shared over 2 million portions of food and food sharing apps could feed the 8.6 million people in the UK who suffer from food poverty.
  • There are six times the number of vacant homes than homeless people – the sharing of vacant homes could help provide life-saving housing for 150 million homeless people worldwide.

Generation Share is endorsed by Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton Pavilion "If we're serious about living within the means of our life-giving planet, a sharing economy will be absolutely essential.  This is a hopeful and inspiring book setting out positive ways forward."

Over 200 “change-maker” micro-stories, Generation Share has the largest collection of unheard Sharing Economy case studies.  From the woman transforming the lives of slum girls in India, to the UK entrepreneur who has started a food sharing revolution; you’ll discover the creators of life-saving milk banks, a crowdfunding platform for training and employment for the homeless,  a care platform enabling the elderly to live longer and stay in their own homes and a pet-sitting platform, TrustedHousesitters, helping pets stay safe and cared for at home.

Benita Matofska, international speaker, founder of The People Who Share and author of Generation Share, said: “By understanding what the Sharing Economy is we see that Sharing and its impact is now a global phenomenon with millions of lives saved and transformed. The research conducted for Generation Share demonstrates that we have enough resources to feed, house, clothe and educate the global population. If we can unleash our collective capacity to share, we could end world poverty.”

“Generation Share are the change makers of our time, the founders, trailblazing social entrepreneurs who are educating slum kids or creating a food sharing revolution to tackle food waste and poverty; some are micro-entrepreneurs or users of services who are change-makers themselves.”


Providing analysis into the current and forecast impacts of the sharing economy some of many key facts available include:

  • Over 600 human milk banks are operating in 60 countries, where women share their breast milk so that their milk can provide life-saving support to premature, sick babies and to mothers who are unable to feed due to illness or other factors. According to the World Health Organisation human milk banks could prevent 2.1 million deaths a year.
  • Over 1 million people have joined food sharing app Olio and have shared over 2 million portions of food. According to FareShare 650,000,000 meals of good quality food go to waste in the UK each year, more than enough to feed the 8. 6 million people in the UK who suffer from food poverty.
  • There are 6 times the number of vacant homes than homeless people – the sharing of vacant homes could help provide homes for the 150 million homeless people worldwide
  • Shared cars could save the 4.2 million premature deaths per year from the associated air pollution every year (World Health Organisation)
  • Social enterprises (sharing businesses) contribute 60 billion pounds to the UK economy. This is equivalent to 3% of the GDP of UK.  SEUK (Social Enterprise UK)


The Sharing Economy is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources such as property, knowledge, cars, skills, food, jobs, goods and time. The term emerged from the global crisis of 2008-9 and the need to do more with less. Fuelled by technology that for the first time matched people who had spare or idle resources with those that wanted or needed them, the term became associated with new types of ‘peer-to-peer’ or person-to-person online marketplaces like Airbnb. However, Generation Share brings to life the reality beyond Silicon Valley backed ventures and instead shares the multi-faceted aspects of the sharing economy.  In this new economy, three types of value are recognised and counted – economic, social and environmental. These include social mobility, poverty alleviation, environmental improvement, sustainable development, advancement of health, citizenship, happiness, human rights and animal welfare, and many more.

A collaboration between speaker, social innovator and global Sharing Economy expert Benita Matofska and photographer Sophie Sheinwald, Generation Share brings to life the phenomenon causing the most significant shift in society since the Industrial Revolution.

Benita Matofska is an international public speaker, change-maker and world-leading expert on the Sharing Economy. An award-winning social entrepreneur, she created the charity The People Who Share and Global Sharing Week. Through social innovation, Benita helps organisations become change-makers and features regularly in the media worldwide. @benitamatofska

Sophie Sheinwald is an award-winning visual storyteller who specialises in photography with purpose. Drawing on her background in fine arts, visual studies and community art, she combines her ability to connect with her passion to help people and businesses create meaningful, mission- driven brands.@sophie_snap


HEARTS HUMAN MILK BANK - saving the lives of premature and sick babies via a human milk bank. Sharing the resource that is human milk, pooling a resource to make it available to those who need it. Dr Natalie Shenker is 39 years old and along with co-founder Gillian Weaver established Hearts Milk Bank, the first human breast milk bank in the UK. Jessie Hollet is 31 years old from the UK, she has two children 8-month-old baby Austin and 3-year-old Isaac and shares her breast milk. Silke Durm is 42 years old and from Germany, she volunteers at at the milk bank. She believes, her son Felix, owes his life to the sharing of breast milk.

BEAM: Crowdfunding for training and employment for the homeless. Sharing access to finance, opportunities, training and employment through a democratised form of fundraising – crowdfunding.  Alex Stephany is 36 years old and the founder of Beam, the world’s first crowdfunding platform that raises funds for employment training for homeless people. Guy is 34 years old and from London. Locked into a life of hard drug use and homelessness, he was introduced to Beam and completed a crowdfunding campaign to train as an electrician.

OLIO: a food sharing app that connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so that no good food goes to waste.  Sharing surplus food that would otherwise be wasted, with people who need it and also sharing responsibility for the planet. Saasha Celestial-One is the 41-year-old American co-founder of Olio and is using it as a platform to start what she calls a ‘food-sharing revolution’.

TrustedHousesitters are the sponsors for Generation Share. TrustedHousesitters is the pet care solution keeping pets happy at home while helping people to travel since 2010. Based in the UK, TrustedHousesitters has members in over 130 countries and is the largest house and pet sitting platform of its kind.

Generation Share: is published by Policy Press on 17th June 2019 to celebrate Global Sharing Week price £25.00. Each copy Printed sustainably from waste materials, each copy of Generation Share sold, will plant a tree and educate a slum-based girl in India, helping to share the love and inspire more sharing with every purchase. You can purchase your copy here.

Policy Press is an imprint of Bristol University Press and publishes work that seeks to understand social problems and promote social change. Its core aim is to improve the day-to-day lives of people who need it most.