Davos 2023: Our approach to drive systemic change
This week we join business, government and civil society leaders at the Davos Annual Meeting 2023 (Davos) themed co-operation in a fragmented world. Here, leaders look to genuinely change global systems to build greater resilience to global crises.
Consumers International has long recognised the need to work with multiple stakeholders, and our work routinely connects unlikely actors to address systemic issues. As leaders convene, we share new tools, impact and future roadmaps across our work in sustainable consumption, energy, finance and more to build a better marketplace for consumers and meet global challenges.
ADVANCING CLIMATE ACTION
To realise net-zero emissions by 2050, now is the time for immediate action to turn pledges into action. This means all leaders from different sectors driving forward change. At Davos we will explore what climate leadership needs to look like in 2023 to advance meaningful collaboration.
One way leaders can drive greater leadership is by far greater support to consumers to make sustainable choices. Today we release our latest research and route map which explains the ways business, government and others can provide better information to help consumers shift their behaviour.
Our report, The State of Sustainability Information maps key trends and critical trade-offs, to provide decision-makers with a joint framework for action. It finds:
- The way sustainability information is provided to consumers is changing rapidly. We are seeing an increasing profusion of labelling schemes, an emergence of new types of quantitative disclosure, and a growing phenomenon of misleading self-declared claims.
- Strategic multi-stakeholder action is being prevented by overlapping schemes, innovations and initiatives.
Accompanying this research, our Action Agenda establishes the key steps to avoid risks and build on the opportunities in the online information environment to accelerate sustainable consumption. These include to:
- Collaborate to create data commons for product sustainability
- Work with third-party sellers and manufacturers to standardise and verify sustainability information
- Plan interventions to shift consumer behaviours online
The growth of the online marketplace is a crucial opportunity to grasp. The online information environment, with its scale, avenues for co-creation and personalisation, and commercialisation, could push consumers towards more unnecessary and unsustainable purchases. But with the right interventions, e-commerce players can leverage unique online aspects to empower better informed, more sustainable consumers at scale.
The research forms part of our GreEnCommerce project, supported by Amazon and implemented in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). It has been based on a robust consultation with global multi-stakeholder group of experts and practitioners. It has involved insights from our Members including Consumers Council Canada, AMBIO (Costa Rica), and Which? (UK) and leading contributors at Stockholm+50 and COP27.
DIGITAL FINANCIAL SERVICES
Digital services have transformed how we access our finance in many positive ways. Fifty-seven per cent of adults in developing economies now make or receive digital payments and two-thirds of adults worldwide use digital payments. These are important benefits amidst rising inflation, having a marked impact on low-income nations. Yet in a relatively novel sector system glitches, inappropriate design, fraud and other major risks are casting a shadow over the benefits offered by the sector.
This week we will release our latest report, 'Digital Finance: The Consumer Experience, 2023', covering low- and middle-income countries with insight generated from our Members such as Yogyakarta Consumers Institute (Indonesia), Consumer VOICE (India) and Consumer Council of Fiji (Fiji). This shows exactly how far the sector has to go to be inclusive, safe, data protected and private, and sustainable. The report assesses the sector across four core pillars in these contexts and finds an overall score of just 40%. Other alarming results are shown across the four areas, for example, a high perception of risk is exacerbated by factors such as how consumers are able to protect themselves which scored just 37%. Other scores demonstrate the vitality of advancing collaboration across actors – when looking at the extent of engagement between consumers, service providers and regulators – we found a low score 43%.
We will be sharing these and other findings from our work on Tuesday 17 January, 14.00-14.45 UTC as we join leaders from Mastercard, the New York Times and Edelman in a session entitled, Disrupting Distrust. You can tune into the session on Tuesday here and keep an eye on our website this Thursday as we release our metric.
In our global consumer insights survey 2022, 81% of our Members reported that consumers are adjusting their budgets so they can pay their energy bills. The cost of energy is expected to stay high in 2023, and some predict a deepening crisis - addressing the systemic roots of the crisis and its interlinkage with the climate crisis has therefore been placed high on the Davos agenda.
As the energy world is shifting to meet these crises and accelerate a clean energy transition together with our Members we have been calling for people to be at its centre. This means consumers being supported to deliver change at the pace and scale required to avert the crises, with decision-makers adopting measures which make it easy for people to take the low-carbon option.
At Davos we will be sharing insights from our research on the role of consumers in clean energy transitions. With increased consumer engagement in the energy transition, what benefits will we see to both people and the energy system? What are the barriers and risks faced by consumers who want to adopt new practices? What interventions are needed to empower them?
Our discussions will further shape a white paper on consumer protection and empowerment in clean energy transitions, produced in knowledge partnership with Enel Foundation and with the support of a global, multi-stakeholder group of experts and practitioners. The white paper will be launched in March as part of our celebrations for World Consumer Rights Day 2023, as we unite with our 200 Members to call for ambitious action to create clean energy systems that put consumers at the centre.
Influencing dialogue at Davos:
- Disrupting Distrust (livestreamed here), Tuesday 17 January, 14.00-14.45 UTC.
- Follow us on Twitter here and here as we share insights from other sessions and discussions.
- Check out our call to decision-makers through our blog here.
Insights and tools:
- The State of Sustainability Information and our Action Agenda
- Consumer Empower in Clean Energy Transitions Snapshot
- Finance Metric Report – stay tuned for its release this Thursday.