The UK is testing a sharing economy kitemark in efforts to regulate

Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
Sharing economy businesses are working on ensuring standards (Source: Getty)

Airbnb, Uber and other companies which are part of the so-called sharing economy may soon be able to get a seal of approval that signals they follow rules of good practice in efforts to regulate the industry.

The scheme is the first of its kind to monitor the standards of the hundreds of companies which have sprung up in recent years - from p2p lending to home help services - in the £7bn a year industry that is expected to be worth £140bn within the next decade.

Read more: Sharing economy data just came a step closer to being officially counted

TrustSeal will be administered by PwC and an advisory panel will decide on its award to businesses. Members of the panel include former BBC Trust executive Alison Hastings and the ex-head of the National Crime Agency Trevor Pearce.

The fledgling project created by the UK's sharing economy trade body will initially be trialled among four companies: pop up dining platform Grub Club; car sharing platform Liftshare; beauty platform MyShowcase; and travel rental site UnderTheDoormat. ​

Read more: Airbnb hosts and eBay sellers will get tax breaks

“The TrustSeal has been created to set global standards for sharing economy companies around the world," said Sharing Economy UK founding chair and chief executive of Love Home Swap Debbie Wosskow. "The principles outlined can be used as a benchmark for companies to follow in other markets."

The government last year recommended the creation of a sharing economy kitemark to ensure minimum standards in the burgeoning economy.

The effort at self-regulation by the industry follows a fast pace of change which has left regulators struggling to keep up with the way these new types of business are run and leaving them largely operating in a grey area.

Related articles