The European Sting at the Retail Forum for Sustainability live from Barcelona

Mr Antii Ilmari Peltomaki, Deputy Director-General of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Directorate General of the European Commission opening the Retail Forum for Sustainability on 21 May in Barcelona (European Sting)

Mr Antii Ilmari Peltomaki, Deputy Director-General of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Directorate General of the European Commission opening the Retail Forum for Sustainability on 21 May in Barcelona (European Sting)

As part of the 18th European Eco-Innovation Forum on 20-22 May, the Retail Forum for Sustainability took place on 21 May in Barcelona and had a prominent place in the dialogue for a Greener European environment. The Forum came as a necessary module of the Eco-Innovation dialogue organised by the European Commission, DG Environment. The role of the European retailer in Eco-Innovation and Eco-Labeling is certainly crucial and the voice of the market was necessary to be heard.

The European Sting was the only Brussels Based EU Media that travelled to Barcelona to cover the Retail Forum for Sustainability and shed light on the European retailers’ active work for a better environment.

The comprehensive agenda of the Forum allowed for a stimulating discussion based on perhaps the most important asset, facts and truths from the market. The sector was represented by several prominent players like IKEA and Metro Group, together with the Spanish retailers of Mercadona and Consum. The Spanish presence excessively prevailed in this debate, where more balanced representation from pan-European retailers would be awaited. In any case, the quality of the input from the retailers’ side, although often given in Spanish language, was high enough.

The first session of the Retail Forum for Sustainability was titled: “Closing the Loop, How Retailers engage with suppliers and employees seeking to make circular economy a business case”. Some important points were raised during this first session of the Forum. Retailers stressed during their speeches the progress that has been made first in limiting the waste. It is true that the Spanish retailers have succeeded a major reduction of plastic bags in Spain. Further, we were informed about the way some retailers have incorporated circular economy principles inside their value chain, using parts of its existing packaging to recycle.

A stimulating thought was then brought to the table by Fabio Iraldo, Professor of Bocconi University in Italy. “Retailers should go beyond business as usual”, Mr Iraldo provoked the retailers attending the panel. The Professor said pointing towards the retailers “You have to involve/inform the consumer”. By that he basically meant that apart from internal corporate recycling patterns and sustainable practices that the retailers are adopting, they should also not omit to play the crucial role to educate consumers about Green sustainable products, practices and eco-labelling.

This inevitably created a fruitful debate, where some retailers argued that it is not their role to educate the consumer. However they all agreed that they look forward to the new “EU Package on circular economy”. It is very important in the EU that recycling mentality further expands, making all kinds of waste a resource and not just rubbish. It is a pure necessity in the EU to abandon land fills once and for all. What is more, the panel would aspire a reduced VAT for recycled products. The Professor said: “we paid VAT once it was a product, why do we have to pay again?”.

What was very interesting to listen to during the Retail Forum for Sustainability at the end of May in Barcelona was the voice of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC). The Brussels-based organisation was represented in the Forum by Angeliki Malizou. Mrs Malizou interestingly pointed that not in all EU Member states the information on Eco-Labelling of products is well received by the European consumers.

Moreover, she argued that the point is not only to draw the attention via marketing campaigns towards the “Green sensitive” consumers. Instead, for Mrs Malizou there is a lot to be done to sensitise the European consumers who are not today “Green” enough. Further, she claimed that the product labels don’t educate the consumer; the consumer needs to come educated before she goes to the Point of Sale.

Finally BEUC, the ambassador of the interests of the European consumer, questioned by the panelist whether eco-labelling should be mandatory in the EU, she answered negatively. Currently, she argued, there is no targeted legislation available but a practices directive in the EU. She admitted that there is a lot to be done in this direction from the EU.

All in all, the Retail Forum produced some positive takeaways to the visitor regarding the current Green practices of the European retailers on Eco-Labeling and also the urgent need for the European consumers to be further educated as regards the eco-labelling of the products found on the shelves and circular economy as well.

The Forum was so well thought of that it would be really great to have more sessions and more retailers on stage from all over Europe together with some bigger representation of the European consumer. The Retail Forum for Sustainability is certainly an excellent platform to invest on the interchange of insights between the markets and the consumer.

At the end of the day some very concise and effective ideas and plans should be put forward regarding the EU consumer’s Green education accompanied by retailers’ best practices.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Ban Ki-Moon Closing Address at COP21 Action Day Innovation, Imagination, Faster Climate Action

EU and World Health Organisation team up to boost access to health services in developing countries

Western Balkans: MEPs take stock of 2018 progress

5 ways to break down the barriers for women to access leadership roles

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into public support for expansion of LG Chem’s electric vehicles battery plant in Poland

Blue bonds: What they are, and how they can help the oceans

Globalization 4.0 will help us tackle climate change. Here’s how

‘Unconscionable’ to kill aid workers, civilians: UN Emergency Coordinator

Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

What we’ve learned about mental health from young people

Food safety: Enhancing consumer trust in EU risk assessment and authorisation

How young entrepreneurs should be supported: what assistance should governments provide?

With 10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, donors pledge $2.6 billion

Technology can help us end the scourge of modern slavery. Here’s how

How to stop plastic pollution at source

Energy: new ambitious targets on renewables and energy efficiency

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths: Lockdown by a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV

Sweden’s forests have doubled in size over the last 100 years

Illegal fishing plagues the Pacific Ocean. Here’s how to end it

Health: The neglected aspect of climate change

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

A Sting Exclusive: “Sustainable development goals: what role for business?” Commissioner Mimica asks live from European Business Summit 2015

This app lets you plant trees to fight deforestation

France-Germany: Divided in Europe, USA united in…Iran

Wages are flatlining around the world – is automation to blame?

The blackened white coat of the doctors

A day in the life of a refugee: We should be someone who helps

These Dutch tomatoes can teach the world about sustainable agriculture

Fuel crisis rapidly draining last ‘coping capacities’ of Palestinians in Gaza

China is building 8 new airports a year

Is your smart home as safe as you think?

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Failure to register newborns leaves millions ‘invisible’ warns UN Children’s Fund

Parliament approves EU rules requiring life-saving technologies in vehicles

How India’s government can build better contracts with blockchain

Protecting migratory species in a rapidly changing world

‘Stealing’ food from hungry Yemenis ‘must stop immediately’, says UN agency

UN chief urges India and Pakistan to dial down tensions in wake of Kashmir attack

Mergers: Commission approves GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business, subject to conditions

UN ‘comes together in sadness and solidarity’ to honour staff who died on board Ethiopian Airlines flight

Implementation of EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: EU mobilises €663 million in humanitarian assistance

Mergers: Commission approves Synthomer’s acquisition of Omnova, subject to conditions

UN chief expresses ‘full confidence’ in top Somalia official following Government expulsion

UK voters sent strong message to May and Corbyn for soft Brexit

The ITU Telecom World on 14-17 November in Bangkok, Thailand

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

Gig workers among the hardest hit by coronavirus pandemic

Four million Syrian children have only known war since birth: UNICEF

Everybody for himself in G20 and IMF

Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons: Israeli Foreign Minister

In aftermath of Libya airstrike deaths, UN officials call for refugees and migrants to be freed from detention

Ideology is the enemy of growth

Is the world living up to its climate commitments?

Why integrated planning is key to truly transformative electrification

‘Stay at home’ UK tells people as global confirmed cases pass 380,000 – Today’s coronavirus updates

EU Budget 2020 deal: Investing more in climate action, youth and research

Germany: A grand coalition may trouble employers and bankers

Long-term EU budget: Parliament wants safety net for beneficiaries

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s