On 27 March 2019, the EESC organised its 21st edition of the European Consumer Day in Brussels. With young consumers at the heart of the programme, and the trends in consumption patterns driven by technology, we were talking about the role played by young people in this change and how they can influence the policy that affects them directly. Three key sectors for young people were the subject of participatory workshops to discuss issues and opportunities in mobility, food and clothing. A live debate also was held on the influence of social media on young people.
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Consumers - Related Events
As a follow-up to the Consumer Dialogues, "Les Assises des Consommateurs" (the 2018 Consumer Summit) showcased the results of this outreach and offered the opportunity for debate and conclusions.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in cooperation with the European Retail Financial Forum (ERFF) organised a high-level conference on Consumers at the heart of finance in Europe took place on 26 September in Brussels.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in cooperation with the Thessaloniki’s Traders Association and the University of Macedonia has organised a Public Hearing on the Company Law package. The purpose of this hearing was to gather input and feedback from Greek stakeholders on this comprehensive set of measures aiming for fair, enabling, transparent and modern company law rules in Europe.
The event brought together players from the SMEs scene in Greece, business organisations' and workers' representatives, experts and academics, as well as EESC members to discuss this topical issue.
Consumers are becoming increasingly digital, whether by choice or by default. As society and the economy advance towards the age of post-mass consumption and the Internet of Things, what can consumers expect? A new generation is asking: how does big data affect the choices I make? How much is my personal data worth, and who is using it?
Following on from its work on the the circular economy, the functional economy and the collaborative economy and the successful joint conference on the New Economy Models and Social Innovation, on 30 June the EESC is organising a public hearing to gather practical examples of how the EU can create policies to foster a more sustainable economic, social and environmental system through these new models.
On 22-23 May, the Various Interests' Group held a conference on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Indeed, embarking on a "collective journey…to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty…(delivering a) new universal Agenda …(which will) realise the human rights of all" are very ambitious objectives. However, moving from declarations to concrete action is even more ambitious and hence, the effective governance of the 2030 Agenda is of paramount importance. Without doubt, it will only become a reality if citizens actively support the necessary transitions and if civil society is directly involved throughout the process.
How could the Digital Single Market benefit european consumers? This year's theme was a wide-ranging subject covering issues affecting consumers today in a very tangible way. The Committee has recently issued several Opinions and studies covering the digital transformation and how it impacts modes of production and consumption, and its work feeded into the discussions on many relevant topics, such as data sharing, digital inclusion and access to internet for all, artifical intelligence, digital contract rights, unnecessary geo-blocking, digital currencies and fintech, the sharing economy and the Collaborative economy.
Triggering radical change in the way we buy, exchange or even value goods and services, the collaborative economy, the functional economy and the circular economy have had a considerable impact on businesses, consumers and workers. In its 2016 opinions on all three economic models, the EESC has recognised both the potential of these new models for Europe's sustainability as well as the uncharted legal territory they bring with them. Taking our work to the next level, we have joined forces with the Global Hub for the Common Good, to enrich the European debate with input from communities directly involved in these new economies.
The functional economy focuses on the use of a product rather than its ownership. Specifically, with the functional economy model, a company sells the right to use a product of which it maintains ownership. The famous example is Michelin, which no longer sells tires for fleets of company cars, but supplies "mobility services" consisting of repairing, retreading and in some cases exchanging tires. The economic outcome is that the company has an interest in making its products last as long as possible because the price is based on usage (in this case, the number of kilometres driven) and thus in reducing waste.