We use cookies to track usage and preferences

Privacy policy

GreEnCommerce - Empowering the Sustainable Online Consumer

In 2022, 62% of consumers say they’re willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact. However, one of the biggest barriers to consumers making sustainable choices is the lack of clear and reliable information on the sustainability impacts of products.  

Sustainability claims are everywhere in e-commerce settings, but they are too often ambiguous, confusing, or even misleading. This has led to low consumer trust in a ‘greenwashed’ online marketplace, preventing sustainable products from reaching the consumers who want them.  

New policy approaches and enhanced stakeholder commitments are needed to create a level playing field in environmental claims and unlock behaviour change for sustainable consumption. 

READ MORE HERE

OUR WORK IN THIS AREA

At COP26, Consumers International and our Members worldwide called for stakeholders to harness the collective power of consumers to accelerate action against climate change 

In 2022, Consumers International is leading a new global project – GreEnCommerce – to grasp this opportunity for change. Implemented in collaboration with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the GreEnCommerce project will draw on original research and in-depth stakeholder consultations to formulate pioneering global recommendations for policymakers and businesses.  

These will provide clear, evidenced pathways that stakeholders can act on to make sustainable choices easier for consumers online. 

What we’ve found so far 

 

 

  1. More laws and policies have been developed worldwide to address sustainable production compared to sustainable consumption. 
  2. There is no horizontal legislation imposing mandatory requirements to disclose product sustainability information in a cross-cutting manner (integrating economic, environmental, and social elements). 
  3. The number of green claims made to consumers online has reached unprecedented levels, with studies suggesting that a proportion of these claims lack evidence. 
  4. Information policies have limits: other tools, such as legislation to regulate green nudging online, have yet to be developed in a systematic way. 
  5. It is often very difficult for consumers to know who they are dealing with in online environments: legislation that better allocates responsibilities and liabilities between traders and platforms on information provision is needed, and those that exist are at a rather early stage of development. 
  6. Today’s legislative frameworks do not appear to be fit for purpose to address online consumer issues linked to artificial intelligence and big data, such as personalised advertisements, recommendations, and rankings. 
  7. In the absence of harmonised and standardised rules, terms, and methods to measure, assess, and communicate product sustainability information at the international level, policymakers worldwide face challenges when protecting consumers, pursuing sustainability objectives, and regulating private sector actors that increasingly function across multiple jurisdictions.  
  8. Enforcing consumer rights remains a significant challenge due to a lack of adequate resources and prioritization of consumer rights. 

 

Read more about our continuing research, undertaken with the International Institute for Sustainable Development. 

 

READ SUMMARY 

What next?

Global, multi-stakeholder action is central to creating an online marketplace that is fair, safe, and sustainable for all. Contact Sustainable Consumption Specialist at Consumers International, Oliver Bealby-Wright, to take part in this global initiative. You may be invited to: 

  • Nominate experts for the global survey of policy, consumer and industry experts in March 
  • Participate in multistakeholder policy workshops on 5 and 6 April 2022 
  • Suggest case studies for the best practice playbook  
  • Collaborate over the project launch during Stockholm+50 in June 2022 

 

 

news

THE ROLE OF CONSUMER ADVOCACY AT DAVOS 2022

Leaders from business and government need consumers to take action to meet the global issues we face, but first consumers need to feel protected and empowered. Below we provide a snapshot of the key themes explored at Davos to explain this further. Not only that but these examples from our work and that of our Members highlight the invaluable bridge building role that consumer advocacy groups play between business, government and consumers.

For each day at Davos, we will keep you informed of our activity there and share key moments and commitments made at the event relating to these areas. Keep an eye on this page as we do so!

READ MORE

blog

Consumer Associations: A Major Player in Responsible Digital Finance

In collaboration with Consumers International, whose membership includes 97 consumer associations from low-income countries, we carried out research looking at the role of these organizations in bolstering consumer protection. Through interviews with 32 associations from low-income countries, we found that consumer associations employ a range of innovative strategies to protect consumers of digital finance.

READ MORE