COP27: Empowering people to help meet net zero

07 November 2022

From Sunday 6 November – Friday 18 November Consumers International will join with Heads of State, ministers and activists in Egypt for the largest annual gathering on climate action. COP27 takes place against the backdrop of the energy and food crises, extreme weather events and record greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, COP27 is calling for adaptation and finance to low and middle-income countries and strengthened solidarity across borders.

In support of this, we go a step further and urge for greater collaboration between government, business and consumers.  In April this year, the IPCC showed the potential of "demand-side strategies" in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to70% by 2050. In practice, this means consumers everywhere making changes from the food they eat to the products they buy to how they heat and cool their homes. But consumers need to be supported to make these changes through better policy and business practice as our report for COP26 explained.

We have an opportunity to build on growing recognition that demand-side strategies are a core solution, and despite the competition at the conference we have a clear message to share across three areas – food, energy and better information for consumers. Together with our Members and our Next Generation (here and here), we will be releasing global consumer advocate demands for decision-makers.


Consumers International and our Members are calling for a fast, fair and accountable transition. Watch our latest video to find out how, together, we are empowering consumers around the world to play their part in energy transitions. 




Most economies are facing a deepening energy crisis which is having an untold impact on vulnerable consumers. Indeed, our recent insights survey from across 60+ members saw 81% report that consumers are adjusting their budgets so they can pay their energy bills.

The crisis has dramatically shifted the energy world, with governments making commitments towards clean and secure energy systems. Their pledges will be a core part of COP27’s Energy Day.  We argue that the viewpoints of consumers as passive bystanders should be changed. Consumers are core marketplace actors and able to take action that catalyses clean energy transitions if supported in the right way. We have captured the key changes needed to put people at the centre of energy transitions in our snapshot: Consumer Empowerment in Clean Energy Transitions; The key to accelerating change? 



In partnership with World Energy Council on Wednesday 16 November, 11.15pm - 12.45pm UTC our event Empowering people in progressing clean and just energy transitions (livestreamed here) will bring political leaders and energy experts together with consumer advocates. What are the key barriers consumers face across all countries? What cutting edge interventions are needed to remove them? We will discuss a series of diverse case studies with headline speakers including:

  • Katie Jereza, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Electric Power Research Institute
  • Yetunde Fadeyi, Founder and Director, Renewable Energy & Environmental Sustainability for Africa Initiative
  • Dr Angela Wilkinson, Secretary General & CEO, World Energy Council
  • Srilata Kammila, Principal Technical Advisor, United Nations Development Programme



In March this year the FAO’s Food Price Index hit an all-time high. Even prior to the cost-of-living crisis, income inequality had put healthy diets out of reach for around 3 billion people in 2019.

Positively, a year ago the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) had set a path to changing the status quo on how we think about food production, processing and consumption and to develop cross-cutting solutions. Not only is there a need to better realise the interlinkages across the food ecosystem, but we argued for silos to be fixed between disconnected ministries, influential food actors and consumer advocates, with the latter offering vital perspectives on consumer access, availability and affordability.

With global attention turned to the food crisis, action on core issues across the food system – food safety, nutrition and sustainability – has stalled. Ahead of adaptation and agriculture day on Saturday 12 November we will publish our follow up to the UNFSS call for action. This will offer insight, based on local consumer experience, on how fair and sustainable food systems are essential to guarantee food security for all. Only a holistic approach to action on food can alleviate the crisis while also ensuring better global health, environmental and economic outcomes.



If demand-side strategies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70% over the next decades, consumers need far greater access to clear, accurate information on the sustainability of the products and services they buy. This is particularly important considering the growing appetite among consumers to shift their behaviours, but a ‘say-do’ gap resulting in practice. Consumers are often left confused by the information they are provided with and discouraged by misleading claims in the marketplace.

Within discussion, decision-makers have often debated - is better information the solution, such as labelling that scores the environmental impacts of products? Or should changes be made to the choices that consumers are confronted with in the first place?

On Monday 14 November 6.30am – 7.30am UTC Consumers International will host a breakfast debate at the COP27 Business Pavilion, Informing Choice vs Editing Choice: What’s best to shift demand?’ Government and business leaders will explore which approach is more appropriate and why.



Calls from our Members

Around the world, our Members are leading pioneering initiatives supporting consumers on the journey to net zero. Consumers International and our Members are calling for four essential shifts to unlock demand-side change.

  1. Helping people to make more sustainable choices. 
  2. Making sustainable products & services the marketplace norm.
  3. Beyond products & services, building business models that prioritise the planet & drive sustainable consumption patterns.  
  4. Protecting & strengthening people's marketplace rights in a way which ensures trust 

Watch our latest video to find out how Consumers International Members worldwide are taking action. 



Calls from our Next Generation

Without greater action, the impacts of climate change will disproportionately harm the Next Generation. Further, younger consumer activists continue to drive forward impactful campaigns and see policymakers sit up. Their voice must be heard.   

With this in mind, our Next Generation Leaders from India, Nepal and Suriname are taking to social media over the next fortnight to highlight the role of consumers in achieving net zero and to inspire other young leaders to take action. Watch their first calls here and here