World Consumer Rights Day unites a powerful coalition for just energy transitions
On World Consumer Rights Day 2023 – March 15 - consumer advocates, partners and energy experts galvanized around the theme, Empowering Consumers Through Clean Energy Transitions. Coming together, our global effort focussed on supporting consumers through the cost-of-living crisis and helping to meet net zero goals.
We released our latest recommendations, commended and focussed on by leaders such as the European Commission and World Energy Council. Our Clean Energy Conference united 600 influential thinkers in the energy world to hear from government, business and civil society leaders. One hundred consumer advocates ran campaigns, from grassroots behavioural change in Romania to press calls in Malaysia.
Clean energy leaders
Clean Energy Conference
Leading a Consumer-powered dialogue on a changing energy world
Climate change, conflict, and global crisis mean the energy world is being reshaped. As we work towards a clean energy future, how can we ensure that consumers are given a fair deal?
During the week of World Consumer Right Day, our Clean Energy Conference united a powerful coalition of actors to explore the legislation, innovation and approach we need to empower consumers and ensure a just transitions.
Across five days, 590 leaders from business, government and consumer advocacy came together, emphasising the potential for demand-side action to advance progress to net zero.
Speakers spoke about the need to secure three pillars of the transition - affordability, sustainability and security. We discussed that while digitalisation, insulation, solar and other measures offer optimism for unlocking demand-side changes, transition initiatives must be grounded in an understanding of people’s real lives. This means including local communities in transition projects from the outset, understanding what affordability really means in differing contexts, and considering how to include marginalised groups, such as poor women or the unbanked. As Angela Wilkinson from the World Energy Council put it, ‘the transition is going to take hundreds of thousands of small steps by communities’.
The conference was change-driven, with discussion reaffirming the critical role of consumer protection and empowerment within the transition to clean energy.
Our multi-stakeholder approach helped to forge strengthened partnerships between consumer advocates and the energy sector. The World Energy Council announced how they will collaborate with Consumers International and Members to deliver a just transition, and business such as Enel, Danfoss, Signify and others endorsed our work to deliver impact for consumers globally.
unlocking consumer action for clean energy
There is great opportunity for consumer action to accelerate the transition. Empowering consumers will make the energy system more effective, efficient and resilient, energy bills will be more affordable, and net zero goals will be in closer reach.
But right now, the walls that prevent consumers from participating in clean energy solutions are high.
Setting the scene for the week, our white paper ‘Consumer Protection and empowerment for a clean energy future’ assesses the barriers and opportunities experienced by consumers in 11 countries across diverse socioeconomic and market contexts. It sets out opportunities for action from energy actors, regulators and consumer advocates through;
- Aligned consumer and energy policy,
- support for business models which protect and empower consumers by design, and
- scaling up data which illuminates the consumer-side of energy transitions.
Representatives joined the launch event from Sudan, India, UK Nigeria, Romania, the USA and many more, with leaders from the European Commissioner on Energy, OECD, Signify and World Energy Council and others commending the paper.
Global campaign highlights
Members in over 100 countries joined the campaign, helping us reach consumers, decision-makers and energy-leaders across the world.
With diverse campaigns centring around our joint message, Members launched new tech to support consumers, sat down with national governments, released new research, spread the word in the press, and took consumer education to schools, universities, roadshows, radio stations and more.
Every year we are inspired by our Members' and partners' efforts, dedication and innovation to reach consumers and key actors that need to protect them – thank you for building with us
Asia and Oceana
Kicking off the day, Members in Australia ran impactful information campaigns, the Consumer Council of Fiji convened dialogues with consumers, policymakers and national energy suppliers, in Malaysia, FOMCA addressed residents on national television whilst in India Members and others participated in the government supported programme to promote clean energy, ‘LiFE’ Lifestyle for Environment.
In South America, IDEC (Brazil) made a call for increased regulation on harmful advertising, FOJUCC (Chile) raised awareness on clean energy transitions across social and traditional media, and in Mexico, Tec-Check launched an investigation into companies with high consumer complaints.
Middle East and North Africa
In the Middle East and North Africa region, the Yemen Association for Consumer Protection partnered with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy for strategic dialogue events, and in Algeria, Alert Center took its message to television.
Consumer Reports in the USA called for the Senate Environment and Public Works committee to develop a federal Clean Fuel Standard and Consumers Council of Canada placed articles across its website and magazines on the importance of clean energy transitions.
InfoCons in Romania ran a behavioural change campaign, working with the Ministry of Energy to place posters across 25,000 locations where children would see them. On social media, the Danish Consumer Council painted a picture of the challenges the average consumer might face on the journey to clean energy, alongside key insights on consumer trust in energy providers.
In Nigeria, CADEF, one of our newest Members, brought the campaign to high schools in the Lagos and Enugu states – leading students in engaging debates and workshops. They also organised a webinar on clean energy transitions with industry leaders and civil society in Nigeria.
We will build on the ideas, approach and commitments we heard throughout 2023 as we influence discussions at the OECD, during government, business and academic dialogue and at UNCTAD's IGE session this July. Keep an eye on our social media on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as we share more.