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Ivo Mechels, Euroconsumers: 'The new consumer power is green'

Our blogs highlight a range of consumer issues from different perspectives. Unless otherwise stated they do not represent the position of Consumers International.

AUTHORS: Ivo Mechels

As part of our blog series for World Consumer Rights Day, we asked thought leaders across the world to provide insight into the campaign theme 'The Sustainable Consumer'. 

Ivo Mechels, CEO of Euroconsumers writes about the importance of putting consumers at the heart of the sustainability transition. 

The new consumer power is a green one. Together consumers have the power to push for more sustainable alternatives. That’s why Euroconsumers will reach out to responsible stakeholders and market players to co-create innovative sustainable solutions, enabling consumers to become a driving force towards more sustainability. Through cooperation, consumer organisations can move beyond their traditional roles of being only watchdogs, to become something greater.

No just transition without consumers

There is no doubt about it anymore: climate change is a reality, and a fair green transition is an absolute necessity. However, what is often overlooked is consumers’ overwhelming support for climate action. Indeed, while they may not always be aware of the best ways by which they can achieve a more sustainable way of living, it is clear that many consumers do not want to just sit and watch; they want to step in. And they need to step in. That is the only way a green transition can ever be fully successful.

Green consumer power

Indeed, any initiative aimed at achieving a green transition, however well crafted, will not reach its intended results without the support of consumers. That is why all actions related to the green transition should take into account the consumer perspective. The real consumer power, however, goes beyond this. Consumers are not merely weak individuals passively waiting for sustainable options to come knocking on their door. Together consumers have the power and the critical mass to steer the market towards a greener path. This is precisely what makes their consumer power truly green. 

 

 

 

Setting the scene for a consumer-centered, consumer-driven and consumer-empowering approach

It’s clear there is only one place for consumers in all debates surrounding the issue of sustainability, and that is right at the center of it. That is exactly where also Euroconsumers intends to be, to accompany consumers all along the way. To power a consumer-fit green transition and at the same time empower consumers to take up a leading role, Euroconsumers intends to go beyond what is considered to be the more traditional conceptions of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental) by setting the standard for a truly consumer-centered and consumer-driven approach. One that also embraces the opportunities offered by AI, data and digitalisation as critical tools to realize its green ambitions.

Setting the scene for a consumer-centered, consumer-driven and consumer-empowering approach

It’s clear there is only one place for consumers in all debates surrounding the issue of sustainability, and that is right at the center of it. That is exactly where also Euroconsumers intends to be, to accompany consumers all along the way. To power a consumer-fit green transition and at the same time empower consumers to take up a leading role, Euroconsumers intends to go beyond what is considered to be the more traditional conceptions of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental) by setting the standard for a truly consumer-centered and consumer-driven approach. One that also embraces the opportunities offered by AI, data and digitalisation as critical tools to realize its green ambitions.

Euroconsumers as guide, watchdog and steering force

Gathering five well-established national consumer organisations in Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Brazil, and giving voice to over 1.5 million people, Euroconsumers has the scale, the expertise and above all the ambition to take up a leading role in the green transition. As a guide and facilitator for consumers, as a watchdog and more importantly, as a steering force towards a more sustainable future. Each and every time starting from a true consumer-centered, consumer-driven and consumer-empowering vision on sustainability.

This means that Euroconsumers, and its national organisations in Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Brazil, will encourage law makers to pursue initiatives that secure a fair distribution of costs and promotes green, convenient and affordable choices for consumers. This also means that Euroconsumers will inform consumers of the actual level of sustainability of goods and services, pushing for the development and access to greener alternatives. At the same time Euroconsumers will be at the ready to denounce fake green claims and other unfair greenwashing activities, whenever the need for sustainability is used as a means to exploiting consumers. Finally this also means that Euroconsumers will use its scale and long lasting experience as a consumer representative to partner up with fair and responsible stakeholders, entrepreneurs and crucial market players that are equally convinced that strong cooperation and co-creation of innovative solutions are essential to advance towards a more sustainable future.

A green transition, powered by consumers

We are convinced that through cooperation, consumer organisations can move beyond their traditional roles of guides or watchdogs, to become something greater. And in doing so create a movement powered by consumers that want to contribute to a just transition towards a sustainable future. A movement of consumers that do not want to choose between being a consumer and being sustainable, but will use the one to reinforce the other.