A sharing economy trademark has been developed to take the danger out of platforms like Airbnb and Uber

Debbie Wosskow SEUK Love Home SwapLove Home SwapSharing Economy UK chair Debbie Wosskow.

A kitemark for the sharing economy industry has been developed by a UK trade body as part of an effort to make platforms like Uber and Airbnb that bit safer.

Sharing Economy UK announced its “TrustSeal” kitemark on Thursday, saying that it is designed to increase trust for the sharing economy amongst businesses and consumers.

There have been a number of incidents that have taken place as a result of interactions facilitated by sharing economy platforms.

Airbnb users have been filmed naked, while Uber passengers have allegedly been raped by their drivers. Several others sharing economy users been scammed by fraudsters and many have received inadequate services from people who lack the skills to deliver what they have promised.

The kitemark will only be awarded to sharing economy companies that successfully meet a list of “Good Practice Principles”.

“We’ve developed the TrustSeal for the broad church of the sharing economy,” said Wosskow, who is also CEO of home sharing startup Love Home Swap. “Our aim is for companies of all shapes and sizes from all kinds of sectors to embrace this kitemark as a symbol of high standards and best practice. We’d love for this to be something businesses are proud of and a sign consumers trust in.

“We want to do with the TrustSeal in the sharing economy sector what the Fairtrade mark did for international fair trade standards.”

MyShowcase, GrubClub, LifeShare, and Under The Doormat are the first companies to be invited to take part in the TrustSeal’s pilot programme.

However, businesses that are invited to take part in the trial don’t automatically receive the new kitemark. Instead, they will have to apply to PwC UK which will review their application, before reporting back to a newly appointed TrustSeal advisory panel, which has been formed to award and govern companies with the TrustSeal stamp of approval.

Wosskow said she hopes the TrustSeal will do for the sharing economy the same as what the fairtrade symbol has done for labelling trusted products sourced from producers in developing countries.

Large sharing economy companies like Airbnb are in support of the move. Patrick Robinson, director of public policy, EMEA at Airbnb, said in a statement that the sharing economy is growing fast.”The TrustSeal is an important development to set standards and expectations for users and to continue building trust,” he said. “We’re excited to see the UK keep driving the sharing economy forwards and to be part of this latest innovation in the near future.”

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