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.

Advertising

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

Engaging ‘head and mind’, key for effective learning, says UNESCO chief on Literacy Day

The best and worst parenting advice I’ve heard, by a leading psychologist

Denmark plans ‘Silicon Valley’ on 9 artificial islands off Copenhagen

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

Is there a cure for corruption in Greece?

Despite lagging in the Global Goals, Africa can meet the 2030 deadline: Rwandan President

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Partnerships key to taking landlocked countries out of poverty: UN Chief

The global economy is woefully unprepared for biological threats. This is what we need to do

Paris, Washington, IMF against Berlin and ECB on money and interest

Remembering slave trade offers chance to raise awareness, ‘oppose all forms of modern slavery’ – UNESCO

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

The Middle East needs a technological revolution. Start-ups can lead the way

Job vacancy data reveal better prospects for Britain, stagnation in Eurozone

Google and Apple suddenly realise that doing business in EU is tough?

How Gen Z and Millennials can learn to love manufacturing jobs for real

Mali: UN chief calls for calm as clashes leave over 20 dead in Mopti

EU Directive makes haircut on uncovered deposits a standard in bank bail-ins

UN gender agency hails record-breaking number of women in new US Congress as ‘historic victory’

Greece’s Tsipras: Risking country and Eurozone or securing an extra argument for creditors?

Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

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

Trade war or not New York bankers will have it their way

Service and Sacrifice: Malaysian peacekeepers in Lebanon proud to serve their homeland and the United Nations

Empty stadiums and online streaming: how coronavirus is affecting the media industry

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem. Here’s what to do about it

How supporting climate action on a local level can transform the world

Is the energy industry meeting its sustainability goals?

6 things to know about coronavirus today, 1 April

Myanmar doing too little to ensure displaced Rohingya return: UN refugee agency chief

These are the countries where most adults still don’t have a smartphone

Spring 2020 Economic Forecast: A deep and uneven recession, an uncertain recovery

New UN data tool shows ‘mismatch’ between government aid and places modern slavery exists

Mali peace process in a ‘critical phase’, says head of UN Mission

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

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

What India’s route to universal health coverage can teach the world

Joint statement by EU and UK negotiators following the videoconference on 15 April 2020

Why the merchant ships can pollute the atmosphere with CO2 quite freely

Europe is designing satellites that ‘surf’ their way past space debris

The different ways of care: Is there a general rule to follow?

Combatting terrorism: Parliament sets out proposals for a new EU strategy

Companies can help build a more inclusive world. Here’s how

Veteran public official from Portugal elected to lead UN migration agency

Ebola in DR Congo: conflict zones could constitute ‘hiding places’ for the deadly virus – WHO chief

EU and US close to an agreement on data sharing amid European citizens’ concerns

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

Prolonged economic crisis and drought demands urgent response for Zimbabwe’s ‘hardest hit’: UN relief chief

Palestinian children’s education deeply impacted by ‘interference’ around West Bank schools, UN warns

Killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ Guterres warns, urging ‘swift action’

Libya: Attack on foreign ministry, an attack on all Libyans, stresses UN envoy

How the finance industry can save the world

Here’s what keeps CEOs awake at night (and why it might be bad news for your next job)

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

Davos on Climate Change: citizens demanding more actions while CEOs tried to balance profit with sustainability

Eurozone: Statistics don’t tell the whole story

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

Ukraine takes EU money and runs to sign with Russia

5 ways urban transport could step up a gear for women

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