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Consumers (17-10-2008)

Consumer Commissioner calls on consumers and producers to contribute to a sustainable future.

On the 17 October 2008, European Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva addressed the University of Manchester Symposium on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Commissioner Kuneva highlighted the need to consider the sustainablility of consumption patterns as an important part of the response to the energy and climate change challenges we face. She presented consumer aspects of the EU Action Plan which proposes different levels of action from legislation to voluntary schemes, benchmarks, tools for consumers as well as for Member State governments and businesses, and creates incentives to compete on environmental performance.
 
Commissioner Kuneva said, "Current patterns of consumption have major negative environmental impacts on our planet and depletes its resources. Food and drink and housing and private transport contribute to 70-80% of environmental pressures. Everyone can help mitigate these pressures. Through education, and by addressing the social issues related to climate change we can reach significant long term results. How we produce and consume defines the success of our objectives as well as the quality of life of future generations". She called on individual consumers to make sustainable choices which will not only benefit the planet but also the household budget, whether in terms of more efficient use of energy at home or the transport they use. She called on retailers and consumer networks to help consumers make informed choices in a spirit of partnership with a view to achieving positive behavioural change. She called on retailers to expedite their work on the creation of the Retailers Forum proposed in the Action Plan.
 
From the consumer perspective the Action Plan significantly reinforces three lines of action: enhancing consumer welfare through quality products; empowering consumers through information and education and reinforcing our working partnership with stakeholders. Through the work of the Action Plan consumers will be able to make smarter choices, be more informed and be better able to lighten their carbon footprint.
 
Commissioner Kuneva's speech can be found at:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/08/541&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
For further information on the Action Plan please visit:
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/escp_en.htm