Programme

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9:30 Opening address

  • Isabel Caño, Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in charge of Communication
  • Renatas Mazeika, Head of Unit «Consumer policy», DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission

10:00 Introduction: Changes in young people's consumer behaviour

  • Ariane Rodert, President of the Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption, EESC
  • Gabriel Tavoularis, Director of Studies and Research at the Consumption and Enterprise cluster, Centre de Recherche pour l'Étude et l'Observation des Conditions de Vie (CRÉDOC)
  • Vasileios Rizos, Research Fellow & Head of Sustainable Resources and Circular Economy, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

10:20 Outline of participatory workshops

10:30 Parallel sessions

Participants to the workshops will be invited to discuss the following questions:

  1. What are the changes in consumption brought about by technology, particularly by young people?
  2. What regulatory developments are needed to adapt consumer policy to new patterns of consumption?

Participatory workshop 1: Food for thought: changing the world  through food? 

    

This workshop focused on changes in the food habits of younger generations. In recent years, we have seen the emergence of new diets such as vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian ones. Today’s consumers live in a world of plenty and over-supply, resulting in massive food waste. In fact, a third of all food produced globally goes to waste and this means not only wasting food, but also all the natural resources used to produce it. However, eating habits are changing, either to protect the environment, to join the animal protection cause, to improve health or to address social issues. Do young people want to consume in a healthier, more sustainable and more responsible way? How should we tackle these issues? What do they expect from regulators?

  • Moderator: Martin Siecker, Member of the Workers' Group, EESC
  • Rapporteur: Marta Messa, Director of the Slow Food office in Brussels
  • Good Practice: Julien Diaz, Too Good To Go Gand

Participatory workshop 2:  Youth on the move?

 

This workshop focused on the mobility needs and demands of young people. Technology and transport options are constantly evolving. Bus companies, high-speed trains, low-cost airline tickets, shared cars or bicycle-sharing systems: consumers have a wide choice of speed, prices, carbon footprints, etc. What should mobility look like in the future according to young people? In which world do they want to live in 2030?

  • Moderator: Vladimira Drbalová, Member of the Employers' Group, EESC
  • Rapporteur: Yoann Le Petit, Transport & Environment, Clean Vehicles & New Mobility Officer
  • Good Practice: Dr. Imre Keserü, Senior Researcher, MOBI research group (Mobility, Logistics and Automative Technology), Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Participatory workshop 3: Fast fashion and sustainability: a youth-driven challenge?

  

The aim of this workshop was to look at how young people react to ‘Fast Fashion’. The textile industry is among the world’s most polluting: over-production, waste creation, the use of chemicals and pollutants. How is Generation Y reacting to these challenges? The concepts of ‘circular fashion’ and 'slow fashion' have emerged in recent years in the context of the circular economy and sustainable development: they aim to change the way companies produce and influence consumer behaviour towards more sustainable patterns of production and consumption. Do these notions appeal to young people? How can regulators contribute towards making fast fashion a sustainable alternative?

  • Moderator: Baiba Miltoviča, Member of Diversity Europe Group, EESC
  • Rapporteur: Arthur ten Wolde, Circular Economy expert of Ecopreneur
  • Good Practice: Mariana Nicolau, Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP)

11:30 Coffee break

12:00 Workshop conclusions and debate

  • Moderator: Evangelia Kekeleki, Member of Diversity Europe Group, EESC

12:30 Lunch break

14:00 Inspirational speech:

  • Youna Marette, Generation Climat

Debate: Social media: still a strong influence?

Social media is part of young people's daily life and has become an ‘indispensable’ element of the way they socialise. The development of these networks over the last few years has been so rapid and wide-ranging that legislation doesn't seem to follow quickly enough its almost daily changes. On social media people are under the impression that anything goes, including xenophobia, hate speech and harassment. How can the flow of information shared over the Internet be better managed? Should it be regulated? should it be censored? In addition, products are now advertised in ways that consumers are not aware of, making them feel vulnerable. What regulations exist on these issues? Are they effective, applied and respected?

  • Moderator: Jennifer Baker, EU Journalist

Panel:

  • David Martin, Senior Legal Officer Digital Rights, BEUC
  • Prof. Karine Charry, Louvain School of Management
  • Vanessa Madi, Education and Training Coordinator, Institut national de la consommation, France
  • Pablo Jonas, Director, Influenzo

15:30 Closing remarks

  • Reine-Claude Mader, Member of Diversity Europe Group, EESC