Laban Konsyumer Inc. is a full term Member of Consumers International
CONSUMERS INTERNATIONAL 60TH ANNIVERSARY
STATEMENTS FROM BOARD, COUNCIL & SELECT MEMBERS
While people have been trading goods and services for millennia, our experiences as consumers tend to change in big steps, driven by big global events. Through the 20th century, events like world wars and the Great Depression had a huge impact on the way that markets operated, ultimately leading to the birth of the consumer rights movement.
As Consumers International – like my organisation, CHOICE – celebrates its 60th anniversary, we are in the midst of another huge, world-changing event. Some markets have completely shut down, while others have expanded. Many people have lost their jobs. Many governments are struggling to balance health and economic concerns. However long this pandemic lasts, our economies won’t be the same in the future.
I hope that we seize this opportunity to build better national economies and a better global system, so that by 2030:
- consumers enjoy access to the goods and services they need to be healthy – fresh food, potable water, safe housing and affordable medicines.
- we strike a better balance between our need to consume and the environmental impact of that consumption – in particular, we need to ensure that consumers across the globe have the ability to make environmentally sustainable choices.
- the goods we purchase are safe, not exposing us to risks of injury or death where this could have been prevented
- we enjoy strong consumer rights when interacting with markets in our own countries or across international borders
- our governments understand the risks of allowing large multinationals – especially technology giants – to hold excessive market power, and regulate effectively to stop this happening
- the benefits of economic development are more equitably shared across the globe.
I not only hope that we achieve these things; I hope that as a consumer movement, we help to make them happen.
Just as CI emerged from a hope for a better world, in which consumers enjoyed better rights, I hope that we can emerge from these current times with a world that places a higher value on fairness and justice for everyone.
SUDANESE CONSUMERS PROTECTION SOCIETY (SCPS)
2020 to 2030: A Decade of Transition
This decade is the determinant in our sustainability challenge – it is a decade of many transitions, many opportunities and many threats – and a celebration of community.
In a decade that commenced with a crippling pandemic and its devastating impacts on physical, mental and economic health, we are reminded more than ever of the increasing connectedness of our communities. We are also reminded of the power of technologies to connect and the need for standard and safe internet infrastructure as a global right. Education, commerce and social gatherings found a safe haven on internet-based platforms as cities around the globe went on lockdowns. We are reminded of the need for open and inclusive scientific dialogue, as well as transparent and trusted governance systems. This decade is the determinant in our sustainability challenge, and the voice of consumer movement is more imperative than ever.
Through harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence technologies for better consumer experiences, we can embark on a decade of traceability, accountability and responsible governance. This is not only crucial in the political sphere, but also in markets as we ensure consumers are wellinformed of market forces that impact their daily lives and the choices that they have at hand.
Pivotal to this conversation is the nutrition transition and energy transition. Will our food choices support both planetary and human health as well as the livelihoods of smallholder farmers? As cities from Khartoum to London face scorching Summers, will our city designs allow for more sustainable cooling and efficient energy production and consumption?
As we face these challenges for sustainable societies, and the inevitable transition to more virtual spaces, we need to ensure that everyone can participate in these conversations. Consumer advocacy will strive to improve human lives, by embracing the spirit of community and providing safe spaces for all voices to be heard and acted on.
Yasir M A Suliman
Sudanese Consumer Protection Society
CONSUMER REPORTS (CR)
• Appreciation and gratitude for the accomplishments of Consumers International and their leadership of a global community of consumers over the last 60 years.
• Out of this profoundly difficult period, there is an opportunity to reset the rules of the marketplace to center on the needs of all consumers.
• This will mean a fair and just marketplace that prioritizes a healthy environment and sustainability, that includes necessary protections for both the analog and digital world, and ensures we have an economy that is fair, safe, and transparent.
• At Consumer Reports, we are ready to continue this effort as it is more necessary than ever. We will only be able to do it acting together.
Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (FOMCA)
What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally?
Emerging critical Issues that will have critical impact on consumers at home and globally:
• Increasing Poverty and Inequality o Economic o Digital Divide
• Global movement towards the Digital Economy o Increasing online trade
o Digital economy impacting every part of life
§ Banking and Fintech
• Consolidation of a few global companies controlling and dominating the digital economy
• Greater cross-border trade
• Substantial threat to the environment o Water shortages
o Unsustainable production and consumption
• Unhealthy Living
o Increasing obesity and non-communicable diseases o Marketing to children
Consumer advocacy should achieve in the future:
• Access to fair jobs and basic needs o Food, housing, healthcare, education
• Greater protection in the Digital Economy o Breaking up of national and global monopolies towards freer competition o Strong regulatory frameworks to protect consumers o Closing the Digital Divide
o Empowering consumers towards self-protection through digital education
• Greater collaboration at regional and global levels to protection consumers involved on cross-border trade – purchasing, tourism
• Stronger regulation and laws to mitigate climate change impacts o Greater education for sustainable consumption o Protection of river and water sources
o Movement away from unsustainable production and energy use
• Global and national regulation for healthy food consumption o Regulation and education on food labelling
o Regulation on excess use of sugars and unhealthy food substances o Regulation of marketing to children
o Increasing Nutritional education for consumers to make right choices
How will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
Due to increasing poverty and inequality, many consumer organisations will still be struggling with basic consumer issues
• Fair and just incomes and access to basic needs
Greater collaboration on global issues – especially the control and domination of a few companies on online trade and the digital communication and economy
• To enhance competition
• Global frameworks for consumer protection
• Digital empowerment to protect oneself in the digital era
Instrumental in highlighting cross-border issues and promoting cross-border collaboration by government to deal with global trade Greater collaboration on climate change issues
Greater collaboration of global food companies
• To strengthen protection of consumers on food nutrition – labelling and use of unhealthy food inputs
• To strengthen national regulation and nutritional education and empowerment
Greater use of social media for consumer campaigning and consumer education
More learning from other consumer organisations to benchmark for local protection
Greater use of consumer organisation through online platforms for global collaboration, maybe facilitated by CI.
CHINA CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION (CCA)
Question 1: What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally?
Establishing a platform for sharing information on effective consumer rights protection, helping consumers to raise awareness of consumer rights and take the initiative to take actions. At the same time creating a sustainable consumer culture at the global level, that promotes economical, green and low-carbon, respectful and healthy consumption.
Consumer organisations everywhere in the world have made significant progress in promoting food safety, personal information protection and consumer financial services, sharing a global perspective and responsibility. Governments have actively participated in the consumer movement and have established a sound dialogue mechanism between consumer organisations and government departments for consumer organisations to express their views on global issues, and effectively promoted the resolution of consumer issues.
Question 2: And how will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
The first is that global consumers’ consumption on digital platforms continues to grow, and crossborder consumer protection is becoming the norm. As a result, the focus will be on institutional development. Secondly, as disposable income in Asia, which has more than half of the world’s population continues to increase and the middle-class continues to expand, consumers in Asia will become an important force in consumption and consumer rights protection.
We hope Consumers International will become a stronger global advocate for the global consumer movement and will continue shouldering the mission of integrating consumer rights awareness into the lives of every individual consumers. Through joining efforts of national consumer organisations, consumer organisations worldwide can play a more active role in promoting the building of our shared future, and at the same time become more recognised and respected by society.
In 2030 consumer advocacy has brought us into a key position in the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
If we didn’t know or feel it before, the corona-crisis has made it crystal clear how interlinked we all are – no matter our nationality, social or economic status.
This is also the truth of the global market – from production to consumption. Product safety and use of products by consumers in one part of the world affects not only the closest neighbors but millions of people and life in many other parts; and aspects of consumption affects conditions of life throughout the world – among these, the climate and environment.
Our dependence of each other in creating a better future for more people and for future generations is also visualized in the interlinked global sustainable development goals. In achieving these goals, the role and importance of consumers is impossible to ignore.
Therefore Consumers International and it´s member organizations – will – in the coming 10 years be the natural and professional partner to seek in the debates, negotiations, and findings of solutions to reach our common goals on meeting our global challenges.
To achieve knowledge, to change habits, to put new regulations and laws in place, to be part of the solution and keep everybody on track along the way, the consumer movement and the consumer representatives will in the coming 10 years be the acknowledged and natural voice and professional partner on all levels – locally, nationally and globally.
Consumer advocacy: What will be globally achieved by 2030?
By 2030 we will have a better societal and business environment. This environment will be more respectful and collaborative, marked by joint innovation and co-creation between consumers and responsible market players in the general interest.
Utopia? Mirage? Not at all, since we are already working hard to rebuild the global economy and an inclusive society in a more sustainable way.
And how will the global consumer movement be changed by 2030?
The need to a quick transition towards a more sustainable way of life is vital. Climate change, biodiversity loss and air pollution are driving more and more consumers to take action and make changes. Consumers are demanding a serious response from market players and governments. They demand the same to Consumers Organizations.
Together with all the serious health and economic problems we are deeply immersed in, the pandemic brought also a new dose of hope and opportunities. That’s why we prefer to speak about rebuilding the global economy instead of recovering. Because citizens and consumers clearly want the recovery from Covid-19 to have a responsible and sustainable one. They do not want to recover the status quo we had before. Instead they want to rethink how we can live in a more sustainable and healthy way. They want to build a better world.
To regenerate our planet’s life supporting systems, sustain equitable and healthy growth, we need a green transition to clean energy, maximum efficiency, zero waste and new ways of producing and consuming. To be successful, consumers must be on board and fully empowered to drive the changes by switching easily to sustainable choices and making their expectations clear to companies. Digitalisation driven by data, AI and the IoT can provide tools to help to make this a clean, green and just transition. Consumers recognize this potential. Companies developing consumer-facing AI services for the green transition have an excellent opportunity now to help people realize their sustainability goals and demonstrate they can deliver trust at the same time.
The real challenge we face as consumer movement, if we really want to be relevant and improve the present, is therefore firstly to imagine the future and then to make it truly attainable. This is what we briefly describe at Euroconsumers with the #ApprovedByTomorrow approach.
This rethinking and rebuilding will be done through joining up forward-looking market players’ capabilities with consumer organisations and consumers to share ideas and goals, and to find ways that the value of data can be better distributed to everyone. This will create a more balanced digital ecosystem, that is more able to respond to the pressing challenges the world faces.
Those ready to show leadership should make sure their organisation understands both the potential and risks at stake and have robust frameworks in place to make sure new technologies can deliver ambitious sustainability goals whilst respecting rights, guaranteeing privacy, consumer protection and strong governance.
This will create a basis on which consumers can start to feel more comfortable in sharing data, receiving advice and taking up the new services and ways of consuming needed to bring about the sustainability transition. With consumers at the center of service design, more AI can work at its full potential and power an economy and society that will work for the future and be #ApprovedByTomorrow.
EL PODER DEL CONSUMIDOR
At 2030 CI will have contributed significantly to set up regulations in the goods and services market so the healthiest and most sustainable options are the most affordable, incorporating in goods and services, pollution, the depletion of nature, climate change, damage the health of the population and the costs of the externalities they cause. The above is the basis of a fair and sustainable market. CI will also have been an important actor in making visible the working conditions behind products and services in order to contribute to social justice and human rights.
CI will have a stronger voice in international forums on finance, trade, human rights, health, food systems, development and sustainability.
The consumer movement in 2030 will have a more comprehensive vision incorporating the power consumers choices to have more sustainable, healthy and socially just markets.
The global consumer movement have by 2030 made a huge difference by playing a crucial role in a just transition for all consumers to a world with sustainable consumption and production and have strengthen our(their) position as the respected and influential consumer voice for future challenges. We/they have contributed in making the sustainable and healthy options easy and affordable for everyone and showed alternatives and ways to live more sustainable in all aspects, thereby being an important agent of change to a more clean, healthy, just and reasonable world.
The global consumer movement has secured fundamental rights for everyone, regarding all principles in United Nations guidelines for consumer protection regarding access to goods and services, protection, information, education, access to justice, privacy etc. There are independent consumer groups with sustainable financing in all countries, with high capacity to influence politics, inform and support consumers, not the least those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. Organisations are networking with collegues in other countries to exchange best practices, pushing for effective enforcement and to help to find regional or global solution for regional or global problems.
The new digital world 2030 is for everyone, not excluding anyone. High standards and rules for accessibility, security and privacy and effective enforcement have given consumers a better daily life, with full transparency and control over their personal data. Consumers are the true winners of innovation, beside consumer-oriented, sustainable companies and entrepreneurs.
Last but not least – consumer perspective, consumer confidence, consumer empowerment are self evident for decision makers at all levels and all parts of the world. Consumer rights are a fundamental factor for a sustainable development.
All this is achieved very much thanks to strong, global consumer advocacy. Best regards
SANDRA MOLENAAR CONSUMENTENBOND
Consumentenbond’s final statement for the 60th anniversary of Consumers International Question: What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally? And how will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
- We will finally have international standards for quality and product safety for the most important products and services. Eg. NutriScore for food and DPDR-regulations for data/privacy.
- Sustainable consumption will lie at the very heart of any product and service. As a result, consumers are able to contribute to protection of the environment. Sustainable products and services will be available and affordable for every consumer.
- Consumers in all countries have equal access to essential products and services, like healthy food, healthcare and medication. The same goes for essential financial services (checking accounts, mortgage) and digital services.
- The underlying motive of innovations is the realization of essential needs of consumers and the protection of the environment, rather than business interest only.
- Consumer organizations will represent a serious, worldwide countervailing power in order to cope with the ever increasing influence of multinationals, partly thanks to the proactive attitude of Consumers International.
RWANDA CONSUMERS’ RIGHTS PROTECTION ORGANISATION (ADECOR)
Following the celebration of our 60th Anniversary, I would like to share with you our vision for consumer advocacy in 2030 by responding to the following questions:
1) What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally?
Despite some perceptions that associate with sustainable development globally mainly with the natural environment, digital marketing; sustainable consumption and production chains, this has put people exposed to systemic shocks across all core sectors including food, finance, health and mobility.
So, by 2030, some of desired achievements from consumer advocacy are:
- Satisfied people’s socioeconomic basic needs focusing on consumers groups more in need such as children, women, people with disability, poor……This will be resulted from enhanced multistakeholders partnership and joint efforts at international, regional and national levels.
- Sustainable consumption supported by new technologies and programs that help communities’ members to meet SDGs in its 5 pillars:
• Reduced level of poverty
• Gender Equality as culture
• Peaceful and inclusive societies- Societies free of any discrimination v People
· Absence of hunger and Improved nutrition and food security for all
• Good health and wellbeing • Quality Education v Prosperity
• Affordable and Clean energy for all
• Decent work and economic growth
• Improved industry, innovation and infrastructures
• Reduced inequalities vis a vis available opportunities • Sustainable cities and communities v Planet
• Accessible and affordable clean water and Sanitation
• Responsible consumption and production
• Climate change resilience
• Protected ecosystems
v Effective Partnership for the goals (Internationally, regionally, nationally and locally)
3. Consumer at the center/Accessible, affordable, safe, fair and trustable goods and services for consumers:
• Informed Consumer
• Ensured safety of Products and services
• Accountable goods and services providers
• Easy access to finance including digital finance
• Trusted E-commerce
2) How will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
By implementing UN guidelines for consumer protection: During consumer advocacy, new strategies, approaches, innovation have been necessarily and being taken into account because forces us to use a new approach in any strategic planning process on what and how we should act to improve consumer rights protection and promotion in our respective countries and globally by 2030.
- Improved partnership with its members by increasing consumer networks at regional and international level and strengthened regional and national consumers ‘organizations
- Created enabling environment to work with policy makers, private sector and other civil societies to tackle critical issues affecting consumers in our digitalized and globalized world
- Protected and empowered individuals in the marketplaces basing on consumer rights across national and intergovernmental bodies to build fair, safe, resilient and sustainable economies.
ASOCIACIÓN PERUANA DE CONSUMIDORES Y USUARIOS (ASPEC)
‘What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally? And how will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?’
To answer both questions, the crisis of COVID-19 must necessarily be taken into account because forces us to use a new approach in any strategic planning process on what and how we should act to improve consumer protection in our countries and globally by 2030.
The world has become more unpredictable than ever. Therefore, whenever possible, we must anticipate the needs and problems of consumers in a world with an uncertain climate.
The digital revolution accelerated by the pandemic forces companies and governments to update the services they provide, putting consumers at the center, who will play a more active role in determining its quality. For example, in Peru, online school clearly showed the deficiencies of the education service.
In this context, the role of ICT will be fundamental. Let us remember that, in 2005, only 34% of people used the Internet at home. In contrast, today we have more cell phones than users. In Latin America, the universalization of services will be a priority for governments during the next decade in order that all households in the region have water, electricity, and sanitation, but also better opportunities to access health and education.
The search of responsible and supportive consumers should also be on the agenda because, even in some European countries, there is still a pending task in this regard. Proof of this is that this week, in the capitals of Spain and Belgium, protests were held against appropriate measures adopted by their respective governments, such as the mandatory use of masks, because they consider to be an attack against the “freedom” of citizens.
Technology and competition will allow the prices that consumers pay to be lowered more efficiently but will require smart regulation that allows companies to recoup the costs of providing quality services. Both, governments and companies, will have to listen to users’ complaints and propose new ways to provide them with a better service and affordable price.
Companies will be obliged to take note that climate change, the value of biodiversity, and the new expectations of social participation have forever altered the definition of their sustainable projects in the medium and long term. Today, as never before, organized citizens can paralyze million-dollar projects and that capacity will increase in the years to come.
CITIZEN CONSUMER AND CIVIC ACTION GROUP (CAG)
What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally? And how will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
2030 is significant as it falls in line with the United Nations timeline for achieving the sustainable development goals. Thus, the next 10 years are crucial as we need to work extensively on data supported advocacy to make informed progress towards accomplishing the goals.
Innovation will be the key word and with progressive regulations, intergovernmental negotiations and consumer advocacy, businesses would have moved towards sustainable production practices which will result in less production(zero) and consumption of waste/plastics.
According to CI report on how consumer organizations can contribute to more sustainable food systems, two billion people globally are obese, over 600 million people fall ill due to unsafe food each year and one in nine people in the world are undernourished. CI, being the global voice of consumers, and represented in international forums like the Codex Alimentarius, WHO,FAO, will guide and support member organizations in their work to ensure food security and access to safe, nutritious and sustainable food for all, in their respective countries.
Consumer advocacy will lead to a major transition to affordable and reliable clean energy.
Media reports during this pandemic reveal that millions of children are not able to attend schools due to lack of access to internet. Living in the digital era and talking about digital rights, it is a matter of great concern that several millions still live without access to internet, let alone quality, affordable, reliable connections. Consumer advocacy over the next 10 years will ensure digital inclusion at the local level so that everyone across the globe has access to affordable, quality, secured internet.
Robust Consumer Protection Framework
CI’s report on product safety reveals the absence of a robust consumer protection framework in several member countries. CI’s interaction/collaboration with organizations like ICPEN would help member organisations in addressing this core issue, as strong and effective governance forms the basis for consumer safety.
With greater demand for transparency and accountability, consumer movement will gain momentum over the years. Working together with all stakeholders, without compromising on our individuality and principles, will increase the potential to identify and catalyse solutions in the interest of consumers that will lead to a meaningful change. By virtue of the multiple roles that consumer groups play-educating consumers, influencing behavioural change, policy interventions, being part of solutions–they will be recognised as the voice of consumers and the much sort after partners globally, nationally and locally.
Saroja Sundaram, Executive Director, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG), India
CONSUMER AWARENESS ORGANISATION (CAO)
Consumers International (CI), a federation of consumer organisations from various parts of the world is celebrating her 60 years of consumer advocacy on 20 November 2020. Over the years, the Organisation has recorded great achievements in different areas including global advocacy, campaign against practices that undermine consumer protection, and collaborative actions with regional and international organisations.
What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally?
As an active Organisation with ever-evolving activities, CI is set to scale up consumer protection programmes in the coming years. The contributions of our Organisation to CI’s efforts are in the following areas:
Uniform international standards for data protection and consumer dispute resolution
Data protection and consumer dispute resolution are important issues of consumer protection in the digital age. There is a need for uniform international standards on these issues to take care of the borderless nature of online transactions.
Collaboration with national and international standards bodies
CI and her members should collaborate with national and international standards bodies to achieve improved safety of products and services for consumers across the globe.
Universal service and access to telephone and broadband services
Lack of universal service and access to telephone and broadband constitutes barriers in many communities in developing counties. Consumer advocates should collaborate with regulators to ensure digital inclusion.
Sustainable consumption through stakeholder engagement
Consumer advocacy should be extended to stakeholder engagement and collective actions by regulators, suppliers of products and services and consumers to improve the level of sustainable consumption.
How the global consumer movement would have changed by 2030 Our visions on this theme are captured in the following highlights:
Involvement of young people in consumer advocacy
Young people of today possess remarkable digital competence that can help to drive consumer advocacy in urban and rural areas. This should be maximised.
Widespread e-training and advocacy
The coronavirus global pandemic has sharpened the need for e-learning. This mode of learning should be exploited by consumer advocates to reach numerous target groups.
Research and documentation
Research and documentation should be employed to ascertain the state of consumer protection across regions with a view to identifying global best practices.
Iteration and widespread advocacy
Iteration and widespread techniques should be adopted to enhance the success rate of consumer advocacy.
CONSUMER COUNCIL OF FIJI (CCF)
What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally?
The vision that Consumer Council of Fiji as a member of International Consumer Movement is that by the year 2030, we will have a harmonised consumer protection ecosystem and also sustainable . In order to fully realize our vision a lot of hard work is ahead of us. Currently a lot of organizations are operating in silos and Consumer International has always and will continue play a vital role in getting the organizations together in order to push for regulatory, enforcement and legislative changes.
A harmonised consumer protection ecosystem will enable knowledge sharing and capacity building at a greater scale and will bring about uniformity in consumer protection laws and practices. Thich will improve consumer welfare both directly and indirectly, as equal playing field will be created for everyone.
How will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
We expect the global consumer movement to change rapidly over the next decade. The major change will be bought about by the internet connectivity. The dynamics of the marketplace is changing with technological advancement every day; hence, the consumer movements must not just keep pace with it but should be a step ahead.
The need for consumers to connect to internet to for their daily consumption will lead to consumer issues of digital privacy in utterly new ways. In future the personal information of consumers will flow in unprecedented ways. Therefore, the major consumer protection issues arising will be of privacy, data security, and personal identity. In future there will be high demand for these data as this information can be used to influence the choice of the consumers and their consumption pattern. This will violate the basic rights of the consumer.
The derivation of the consumer protection issues will be due to e-commerce. Therefore, it is highly important that we are well equipped with knowledge and resource in order to mitigate the risk for the consumers. The cornerstone of this movement will be development and enforcement of regulatory frameworks for e-commerce and data protection, again needing a harmonised consumer protection ecosystem.
CONSUMER COUNCIL OF ZIMBABWE (CCZ)
- For many years now, we have been talking about consumer protection and I think the 60th Anniversary offers an opportunity to take stock on how many countries worldwide have actually a consumer protection in place and the wide areas of protection that are now key areas for consumers in comparison to the areas that were considered when consumer protection was articulated…..from basic product safety to digital safety. I think sometimes people forget the length and depth of consumer issues.
- Considering that we are so proud of our diversity, a d the different levels at which our members are, I feel we haven’t fully utilized that advantage we have. For example, advances that have been experienced and enjoyed in the north are the struggles that the south is having and some of the issues coming from big tech companies who have changed their ways in interacting with their consumers in the north, but they have not in the south. This is a big advocacy opportunity for CI to get its teeth into in support of members in the south. We still have situations of dumping in the south, whether it is substandard medicines or tech ‘rubbish’ or plastics.
- WCRD still offers us an excellent opportunity for universality… the 60th Anniversary is just that platform to give it a bigger bang… the many voices of consumer activism. It could also be an opportunity to honor the many activists.
By 2030, consumer advocacy will have enabled the establishment of a common set of standards, procedures, and rules for fair and easy-access to e-commerce that transcend physical as well as geographical boundaries in an increasing global online marketplace in which local and international providers are indistinguishable.
- The COVID 19 Pandemic has served as catalyst to cause us to review the ways that consumer advocacy has traditionally approached consumers in their markets. Now more than ever, consumer advocacy needs to protect consumers in the digital marketplace. It needs to ensure that fairness is by design and not something that is offered to consumers simply as a remedy.
- The Pandemic will accelerate structural change in consumption and the digitalization of the marketplace.
- We will see a convergence between different sales channels of sellers and service providers and online platforms, and between goods and services (i.e., IoT products with accompanying digital online services).
- The existing legal and governmental frameworks that differentiate between goods, services, and sales channels will become obsolete and unsuitable for the redress of consumer harm.
- Consumers’ personal data will be transferred and sold to global third parties, making it more difficult to control and protect, thus more vulnerable to breaches.
- As the current Pandemic has underscored, although consumers in each country face similar risks, different standards, rules, and processes currently apply to the same products, services, and risks. Currently online transactions for goods and services are subject to hundreds of sets of laws and procedures which is confusing and undesirable for the consumers.
- Our consumer advocacy, collectively, through Consumers International can enable the establishment of a common set of standards, procedures, and rules for fair and easy-access to e-commerce that transcend physical as well as geographical boundaries.
HONG KONG CONSUMER COUNCIL
What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally? And how will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted huge damage on economies around the world, and its evolution remains uncertain. Meanwhile, the pandemic also accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in the global consumer market. Digital technologies have become a critical enabler of connectivity between people. We can also see apparent changes in consumer behavior – a shift towards a higher propensity for digital adoption. To safeguard consumer interests in this fastchanging development, it is crucial for the Consumers International (CI) and its Member organizations to take the lead to address such changes and monitor consumer issues which may arise in the globe.
Indeed, the imbalance of information and bargaining power between businesses and consumers exists in many countries. Through the works of CI and consumer organizations, unfair trade practices such as the existence of fake reviews, biased pricing and unfair terms were uncovered which cause consumer distrust and consumers to walk away from dishonest businesses. On the other hand, businesses around the world, especially in the emerging or greenfield markets, are fast to pick up new technologies and introduce innovations to the consumer market. Yet, these new business models may post new challenges on consumer protection.
Over the past years, CI and its Member organizations around the world have been working proactively to protect consumer rights, monitor possible unfair trade practices and ensure consumer protection measures are in place, no matter in the physical or virtual marketplace. As consumer protection is increasingly crucial for the digital economy to thrive, the role of CI and its Member organizations will become even more important in the next decade. Through the network of CI, consumer organizations around the world can work together to exchange information more frequently, increase transparency of incidents affecting consumer interests, improve efficiency of reporting, monitoring and handling consumer issues across the world, adopt preventive measure, and achieve global impact for consumers.
Notwithstanding the limited financial and manpower we have, the cohesive and collective effort of all Member organizations can enable us to convene a much larger bargaining power to negotiate with businesses when consumer issues arise, driving businesses be more willing to strengthen their policies on consumer protection worldwide. By 2030, we believe the world’s consumer protection community will have far more power in influencing businesses to shape a safe, fair and transparent virtual marketplace for consumers. We believe CI and its member organizations can drive change in the global marketplace on a scale that cannot be achieved at a national level alone, and ensure consumers are treated safely and fairly.
INSTITUTO BRASILEIRO DE DEFESA DO CONSUMIDOR (IDEC)
Today big corporations are sitting at the decision-making table around the world, at national, subnational levels, regional and international level influencing public policies which directly impact their industry and profit-making capacity. Although the consumer movement has advanced globally on relevant agendas and occupied spaces for social participation, the constant, systematic and sophisticated corporate interference in policy debates, undermines and jeopardizes the adoption and implementation of public policies that contribute to strengthen consumers right. Their practices have led to a “corporate capture” of governments and hindered the civil society’s capacity to protect the public interest, especially in those countries where transparency and accountability mechanisms are fragile. By 2030, the consumer movement will be stronger and better prepared to identify, monitor and denounce conflicts of interest affecting consumers all over the world
INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF CONSUMER SOCIETIES (KONFOP)
What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally? And how will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
§ The consumer movement is strong with its horizontal connections and vast experience in solving people’s problems “on the ground”: by 2030, in an increasingly complex world, the consumer movement will remain an institution capable of providing clear answers to complex questions (this applies to traditional issues, such as product safety, and new ones related to new technology, sharing-economy, the impact of global climate change on consumption, etc.).
§ The increasing economic, technological and environmental inequality of consumers is the main problem that consumer organizations should be addressing both locally and globally.
§ The global technological connectivity of the world and the strengthening of international corporations require consumer organizations to coordinate their actions globally – in this context, the role of CI and European associations established to promote consumer interests at the level of the European Union should grow.
§ It is crucial to build coalitions with organizations working in relevant areas, such as environment, climate change, data protection, fight against poverty, etc. if we want to address issues affecting the world’s population as a whole (e.g. making sustainable consumption an easy option for all). Keeping CI’s reputation as an organization independent from government and business with best expertise is needed to bring new allies together to speak out louder and more effectively.
María José Troya
Tribuna (Tribuna Ecuatoriana de Consumidores y Usuarios)
In 2030 our vision of Consumers International is :
Consumers International, is a global organization that brings together consumer organizations from all continents, which aims, through action to a world with empowered consumers, able to positively influence the fulfillment of their rights and exercise responsibilities by promoting sustainable consumption practices within the framework and with the capacity to promote tools, instruments and international bodies that allow progress towards balance and equity between consumers and suppliers.
Promote institutional self-assessment and participatory reflection processes on capacity development of CI organizations, promoting collaborative workspaces for planning.
Empower consumer organizations belonging to Ci, ensuring the development of them, promoting and strengthening their capacities, providing services and tools, increasing connectivity and public spaces that promote social integration around consumer rights and responsibilities and sustainable consumption at local and global level and increasing their public impact.
Promote the creation of a high-level international body (World Summit) where governments commit to implement what was agreed in these spaces.
Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV)
Thanks for asking for a statement concerning the question „What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally? And how will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?“
In the next ten years, the global consumer movement will face more globalized companies and will itself be more engaged in transnational campaigns and legal enforcement.
The future of consumer problems will be local – how can we consume, eat, heat or travel in a sustainable way? CI ́s members are strong in their local networks, closely connected to the consumers of their country. They know about consumer needs, cultures and problems. Sharing this knowledge and technics of consumer information, advice and education will stay valuable far beyond 2030 and CI will continue to play an important role in connecting its members.
The future of consumer problems will also become more and more global – how can problems be solved without putting the responsibility on the shoulders of the individual consumer? How can international challenges like climate change, the digitalisation or pandemics be tackled? How can we strengthen the culture of cooperation against nationalism and egoism? Which rules of trade do we need, so that consumers will profit? How can we keep up with international companies, which sell their products and services in different countries?
I believe that besides our important local work the consumer movement will have to unite and become more efficient. That means:
• Sharing our knowledge of consumer problems: By 2030 we need to have a common statistic to measure consumer problems in different countries as “consumer watchdogs”.
• Lobbying for international standards: By 2030 we need strong and consumer friendly standards in our countries, continents and internationally consumer information – like the Nutriscore for sugar, salt and fat – and regulation – like the General Date Protection Regulation (GDPR) – worldwide.
• Joining our legal enforcement campaigns: Multinational companies often cause international problems. By 2030 we will have coordinated enforcement to compensate consumers and no borders will stop us.
SUE DAVIES WHICH?
Vision statement: What will consumer advocacy have achieved by 2030 globally? And how will the global consumer movement have changed by 2030?
By 2030, global consumer advocacy will have held governments, regulators and businesses to account to ensure there are effective consumer and competition regimes in digital, as well as more traditional markets, that the impacts on different consumer groups are
fully understood, consumer interests are prioritised in cross-border trade and that ambitious policies and practices support more sustainable choices.
Consumers are able to confidently engage in digital markets, as well as more traditional markets, assured that their interests are protected – whether against misleading marketing, pricing, privacy, safety or discrimination.
Regulators have robust regulatory toolkits that support responsible businesses while enabling effective sanctions against those that breach consumer laws. Competition regimes ensure effective competition in digital and traditional markets, where businesses innovate , providing consumers with meaningful choices and good quality services.
Transparency is at the heart of how markets are regulated and regulators are accountable for the work they do on behalf of consumers. More effective cooperation and collaboration across borders, supported by work across inter-governmental organisations, including the WTO’s concluded ecommerce trade agreement, provides consumers with assurance that the products they buy are the quality they expect, the reviews they based their purchase on are genuine and they are less vulnerable to scams.
Since the Covid pandemic, the focus has been on sustainable, economic growth. Lower environmental impact choices have become more readily available and increasingly the default choice. Business practice has been driven by a combination of regulatory and economic incentives as well as consumer expectations.
This is reflected in how trade is conducted. Trade deals have a much stronger emphasis on sustainable trading practices, as well as recognising that consumer protection has to be central, through specific chapters. This emphasis has been encouraged by leadership from the WTO, helped by its closer cooperation with consumer organisations.
The emphasis on sustainability has also begun to drive some fundamental changes to food systems, led by much closer cooperation between FAO and WHO. Obesity rates have begun to decline as a result of coordinated initiatives to support healthy and sustainable diets.
An inclusive approach to technological developments has been central to many of these improvements – developed in a collaborative way with the consumer interest paramount and regulatory frameworks that keep pace, shaping responsible innovation in the public interest.
The consumer movement has evolved as a global network driving many of these improvements. True to its core values, championing consumer interests from different consumer groups, it is increasingly connected and engaged so that it can hold governments, regulators and businesses to account by promoting best practices and using its combined campaigning strength.