EU Commission Call for Public Consultation – Marking the Way for a New Consumer Agenda

Brussels, 30st June: The EU Commission has launched an EU-wide public consultation on its new consumer policy strategy, the so-called New Consumer Agenda. A shift from unsustainable to sustainable consumption patterns is also supported by ZOE Institute’s all-new policy database for sustainable prosperity. The database provides concrete information and instruments to drive transformative policymaking, with an emphasis on social and environmental wellbeing. Together, European institutions and citizens can thus set the course for a future-fit European economy and sustainable consumer politics.

Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, underlined the urgency of a new consumer agenda: “The shift of many consumer activities online, the climate change effects, and most recently the coronavirus pandemic have emphasized the need for a fresh look at the key challenges facing consumers and the best way to tackling them. European citizens and businesses alike need a consumer policy that reflects the widespread attention to sustainability, the use of digital technologies on a massive scale, and the unprecedented globalisation of consumer markets. This is why I encourage citizens, companies, consumer organisations and lawmakers to make their voices heard.”

Until 6th October, all European citizens can contribute their ideas, recommendations and concerns to be considered for the New Consumer Agenda as well as the Consumer Credit Directive and the General Product Safety Directive. Furthermore, the Commission calls for contributions to its planned directive on the role of consumers in the green transition. This directive has the aim of improving product labelling in terms of standardised sustainability logos and prevention of overstated environmental information, so-called “greenwashing” on products.

ZOE’s policy proposals, for example, the call for the introduction of a label displaying production distance and seasonality of products, effectively underpin this call for action. The Institute’s new open-access database provides a vast overview of more than 230 transformative policies and actions, of which sustainable consumption and production are part. Users can hence gain valuable knowledge to inform political debates and create impact, not the least through participation in public consultations and beyond.

The Commission’s inclusion of multiple stakeholders, including civil society and business representatives, and its emphasis on a green transition can be seen as laudable sign markers for a more holistic approach to sustainable consumption. Before the agenda’s adoption in 2020, many socio-economic, as well as environmental issues, will have to be addressed. ZOE’s policy database for sustainable prosperity proposes transformative solutions and complements the current policy debate - to keep the momentum for a sustainable economic agenda.