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

Sexual abuse of elderly likely to ‘grow dramatically’, UN expert says

EU-Vietnam: Council adopts decisions to sign trade and investment agreements

Afghanistan: UN ‘unequivocally condemns’ attack in Kabul

The European Union and Central Asia: New opportunities for a stronger partnership

More than half a million Rohingya in Bangladesh get ID cards for first time: UN refugee agency

MEPs back update of rail passenger rights across EU

This top-10 of business risks misses the biggest of them all: climate change

New UN bullying report calls for ‘safe, inclusive’ schools for all children

To build the workforce of the future, we need to revolutionize how we learn

These are the cities where people work the longest hours

ILO: Progress on gender equality at work remains inadequate

ECB to support only banks not Peoples

The remote doctor in the 21st century

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

EU budget 2021-2027: Commission calls on leaders to set out a roadmap towards an autumn agreement

UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

Schools must look to the future when connecting students to the internet

Yemen: UN Envoy ‘guilty’ of optimistic hope that war is ‘nearing the end’

How public private partnerships must evolve to create social impact

The EU Commission openly repudiates the austere economic policies

How one traumatised child survived genocide and started a movement for mental health

Take medical use of cannabis seriously, say MEPs

‘Save Tuvalu; save the world’; UN chief echoes rallying cry from front lines of global climate emergency

INTERVIEW: Poverty, education and inclusion top new General Assembly President’s priority list

Mediterranean migrant drownings should spur greater action by European countries, urge UN agencies

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

France sneaks into the Geneva US-Iran talks to claim its business share in Tehran

During the coronavirus pandemic, we must fight for LGBTQ rights more than ever

Here’s how China is going green

‘Critical’ window of opportunity closing fast in Iraq, Security Council hears

COVID-19: How leaders can create a new and better normal

Businesses are thriving, societies are not. Time for urgent change

EU makes key TTIP document public as protests get louder

This is how New York plans to end its car culture

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

Effective multilateralism the antidote to today’s ‘divisions’, Holy See tells UN Assembly

Building an Inclusive ICT Innovation Ecosystem

Stability in Europe has no chances because of Ukraine

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

Indonesia is buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit. And others in ASEAN aren’t far behind

Crime and drugs in West and Central Africa: Security Council highlights ‘new alarming trends’

UN warns of ‘deteriorating climate’ for human rights defenders in Guatemala

EU and India re-open talks over strategic partnership while prepare for a Free Trade Agreement

Your smartphone may know more about your mental health than you

‘Air bridge’ vaccination operation begins for Ebola-hit communities in DR Congo

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Poverty report reveals ‘vast inequalities’, measles compounds DRC Ebola woes, Guterres visits Mozambique, Bangladesh update, freedom of expression online

FROM THE FIELD: facing up to the extreme mental health pressures of conflict

Those who produce food are among world’s hungriest – UN rights expert

Economy on a steady rise in Latin America and Caribbean region ‘despite international turbulence’ – UN report

Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

Britain’s poet laureate has created a prize to highlight poetry about the climate crisis

Collective action now, the only way to meet global challenges, Guterres reaffirms in annual report

UN experts warn Assange arrest exposes him to risk of serious human rights violations

MEPs adopt new Fisheries Partnership with Morocco including Western Sahara

Guinea President Alpha Condé: “We must tackle the root causes of migration”

Migrants: ‘A powerful driver’ of economic growth, ‘dynamism and understanding’

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile Connect availability hits 2B

Commission reports on the risks of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU and outlines steps to address them

How to build a paradise for women. A lesson from Iceland

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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