Economic

Fact Check-World Economic Forum post commending car sharing platforms does not explicitly advocate for an end to car ownership

A World Economic Forum (WEF) article that commends car sharing platforms as being efficient does not advocate for the total abolishment of private car ownership, despite what multiple articles and social media posts claim, often misquoting the article.

One early article entitled “World Economic Forum Calls to End ‘Wasteful’ Private Car Ownership” was published on July 22, though other articles have since been posted with variations of the headline (here), (here).

Screenshots and links of these article have been shared more than a thousand times on Facebook (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), and many thousand times on Twitter (here), as well as being liked tens of thousands of times on Instagram (here), (here), (here), (here).

However, the WEF article that it cites as the source of this claim does not call for an end to private car ownership, nor does the word “wasteful” — which most of the articles put in quotation marks — appear in the article, including archives of the article taken on the day it was published, July 18 (here).

Instead, the article, entitled “3 circular economy approaches to reduce demand for critical metals”, discusses three potential solutions to increase the quantity of valuable metals in circulation, including improving the longevity of products; finding secondary uses for old products, such batteries and wind turbines; and enabling the sharing of products such as mobile phones, laptops and cars.

“The average car or van in England is driven just 4% of the time,” the article reads. “While most already have a personal phone, 39% of workers globally have employer-provided laptops and mobile phones.

“This is not at all resource efficient. More sharing can reduce ownership of idle equipment and thus material usage. Car sharing platforms such as Getaround and BlueSG have already seized that opportunity to offer vehicles where you pay per hour used.”

Later, the article mentions redesigning cities “to reduce private vehicles and other usages” and electric vehicle batteries.

The article makes no mention of private cars or vehicles other than those cited above. While the article argues that shared ownership of cars would be more efficient in some circumstances, at no point does it advocate that private ownership should be eliminated.

“We are encouraging a mindset shift and not necessarily endorsing nor banning,” World Economic Forum Media Relations and Public Affairs Lead Trevor Chueu told Reuters by email.

VERDICT

Missing context. A World Economic Forum article has falsely been cited as advocating for the abolition of private car ownership.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.



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