EU Product Safety Award
Rules of the contest
Objective of the Award
The New Deal for Consumers emphasises that, while the general regulatory framework of consumer protection in the EU is working well overall, there is a need to strengthen the enforcement of existing rules, consumer redress and awareness about consumer protection and product safety.
At the same time, there are many good examples of economic operators developing and promoting actions that contribute to improve consumers' rights, safety and redress. Those practices are worth promoting and should receive better visibility at the EU level.
The EU's Product Safety Award aims to reward companies that excel in consumer protection by putting product safety at the heart of their business. It offers prestigious recognition for those who go beyond the EU legal requirements, setting an example that can inspire others.
There are two thematic categories for 2019:
Safety of non-food products sold online
The first category recognises companies selling online that pay particular attention to the safety of (non-food) products that they offer. This may be through effective recall procedures, new ways to identify unsafe products or innovative communication techniques with customers, for example.
The rewarded procedures and processes should demonstrably improve the safety of products sold online and go beyond the minimum requirements set out in EU law.
This category is open to companies that are:
- Producers selling their own goods online
- Online retailers
- Online marketplaces offering third-party products online
Safety of childcare products
This Award is for companies designing/producing or distributing childcare products that put the safety of children at the heart of their business. This may be by putting in place comprehensive processes to ensure safety across the product lifecycle, providing products with innovative safety features, safety messaging, after-sale consumer services or effective and robust product safety monitoring and recall procedures, for example.
The rewarded product, service or process should make a demonstrable difference to child safety and go beyond the minimum requirements set out in EU law.
Childcare products include products for babies or young children such as:
- Clothing and footwear
- Baths & bathing equipment
- Bottles and feeding equipment
- Sleeping equipment such as cots, beds, mattresses and bedding
- High-chairs and other seats (excluding car seats)
- Safety equipment such as safety gates
Toys, cosmetics and food are not eligible for submission.
The Award will be granted to two different types of beneficiaries:
- Micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, i.e. enterprises which (i) employ fewer than 250 persons (expressed in 'annual working units') and (ii) have an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million.
- Larger companies: all enterprises which do not qualify as micro, small or medium-sized enterprise.
There will be 12 winners in total. A Gold, Silver or Bronze Award will be given to three SMEs and three larger companies in each of the two categories (online sales and childcare products).
The eligible companies must:
Be registered in one of the 31 countries in the European Economic Area (the 28 EU Member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or have a subsidiary registered within the EEA.
For British applicants: Please be aware that depending on the outcome of the EU-UK withdrawal negotiations, British applicants may no longer be eligible to participate in the award procedure and their applications may, thus, be rejected.
- Operate in one of the sectors referenced in point 2 (online sales or childcare products).
- Submit an example of work that took place in at least one country of the European Economic Area and started at least 6 months before the deadline for applications (i.e. by 7 October 2018) so that their impact can be evaluated.
- The product or practice submitted must comply with and go beyond relevant EU legislation.
- Operate in line with internationally-recognised Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards. Finalists will be screened for CSR.
The European Commission may exclude entities that are in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and Article 141(1) of the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the Union and its rules of application:
- the entity is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended, or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under Union or national law;
- it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the entity is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the applicable law;
it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the entity (and/or the persons having powers of representation, decision making or control, beneficial owners or persons who are essential for the giving of the Award) is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the entity belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:
- (i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of eligibility or selection criteria or in the implementation of the legal commitment;
- (ii) entering into agreement with other persons or entities with the aim of distorting competition;
- (iii) violating intellectual property rights;
- (iv) attempting to influence the decision-making of the authorizing officer responsible during the award procedure;
- (v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;
- it has been established by a final judgment that the entity is guilty of fraud, corruption, conduct related to a criminal organization, money laundering or terrorist financing, terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, child labor or other offences concerning trafficking in human beings.;
Applicants may also be excluded if they do not respect internationally recognised corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards relating to human rights, labour, environment and fair operating practices.
Procedure and key dates
Companies can apply via an online platform designed for this purpose from 25 February to 7 April 2019. Submissions are accepted in one of the official EU languages (except for Maltese and Gaelic). However, submissions in languages other than English will be evaluated by the jury on the basis of machine translations.
The application consists of an eligibility section (including a declaration on CSR criteria) and an award section. The application forms are set out in Annex 1.
Participants may be asked for further documents at a later stage (for legal entity validation, bank account validation, information related to CSR check, etc.).
Selection of winners
There are three rounds in the selection process:
- Phase 1: Applications will be screened to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria.
- Phase 2: National market surveillance authorities will select top candidates from each country. This selection will be based on the quality of the practices submitted for the Award, as described in the answers to the award questions in the application forms.
- Phase 3: An EU-level jury, made up of high-level EU officials, representatives from NGOs, industry and/or academia, will choose the finalists – to be screened against internationally recognised corporate social responsibility (CSR) criteria before the final list of 12 winners is drawn up.
All applicants will be informed by email of the contest results by the end of July 2019.
Award ceremony and networking workshops
The 12 winners and other shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a prestigious Awards Ceremony and a networking workshop in Brussels. Companies invited, in addition to the winners, will be selected based on the results of the national pre-selection process and with a view to ensuring a balance of countries represented and the size of businesses present. The winners will receive their award from Věra Jourová, the EU Commissioner for Consumers.
Deadline for applications
Pre-selection by national market surveillance authorities
Final selection by EU-level jury
Award Ceremony and networking workshop in Brussels
Rights and obligations of applicants
The applicants commit to attend a high-level Award Ceremony and present their best practices at a networking workshop taking place in Brussels on 26 September 2019 (tbc), should they be short-listed. The European Commission will pay for the accommodation and travel (from one of the 31 countries eligible for the Award) for one representative of each short-listed company invited to Brussels.
The 12 winners may use the logo and branding of the Award to promote their position as product safety champions without prior approval of the European Commission. No financial contribution will be given to the winners and the Award itself will be purely symbolic.
The Commission will promote the rewarded practices on its website, on social media, in a dedicated brochure and through any other appropriate channels. It may use any information submitted in the applications (in particular the names and countries of the companies, the description of the best practices and what makes them innovative), unless the applicant explicitly requests that certain elements remain confidential (e.g. to protect their commercial interests).
The applicants authorise the European Commission to publish any photos or videos taken by the Commission either in preparation or during the Award Ceremony and the networking workshop(s). All such audio-visual material will be the sole property of the Commission.
All personal information gathered during registration will be held by the European Commission, which will use the data solely for the purpose of the Award and the campaign linked to it.
Any personal data will be processed by the Commission under Regulation 2018/1725.
Conflict of interests
Applicants must take all measures to prevent any situation where the impartial and objective running of the Award is compromised for reasons involving economic interest, political or national affinity, family or emotional ties or any other shared interest ('conflict of interests').
They must inform the Commission without delay of any situation constituting or likely to lead to a conflict of interests and immediately take all the necessary steps to rectify this situation. The Commission may verify that the measures taken are appropriate and may require additional measures to be taken by a specified deadline.
Cancellation of the Award
The Commission may cancel the Award process or decide not to attribute all or any of the Awards without any obligation to compensate applicants if:
- no applications are received
- the jury does not judge any of the applications to be of sufficient quality
- the winner(s) do not abide by the rules of this Award.
Under no circumstances can the organisers be held liable for any accident, cost, direct or indirect damage which might occur as a result of participation in this Award.
Similarly, the organisers cannot be held responsible for any theft, loss, injury, delay or damage during the trip to Brussels.
In addition, the organisers can under no circumstances be held liable for cancellation, postponement or modification of the Award due to unforeseen circumstances.
Applicable law and competent court
Any dispute arising from the application, the interpretation or the validity of the present rules and this campaign shall be governed by Belgian law and any dispute arising shall be exclusively submitted to the competent court of Brussels.
If there are discrepancies between the translated version and English version of any Award documents, the English version will prevail.
In case of a controversial interpretation and/or application of the different language versions, the English version will prevail.
For more information about the Product Safety Award, please visit the Award website or contact the helpdesk on: email@example.com
Participation in the Award assumes full acceptance of these rules. Failure to comply with the rules may result in disqualification.