Rebuilding Europe after COVID-19: consumer recommendations to make the European Green Deal a success
While the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting European countries hard, the absolute priority is to treat patients and contain the virus. At the same time, governments have started taking measures to rebuild their economies. It is important that this happens while being mindful of another crisis affecting people and the planet: the climate crisis.
To keep fighting climate change, the EU must make its green ambitions — as laid out in the European Commission’s Green Deal — a reality. BEUC wishes to contribute to the urgently needed systemic change and has published a series of recommendations to make the Green Deal a success.
Here are the main take-aways:
- Consumers’ buy-in is crucial. Climate policies mean that we need an urgent and systemic transformation of the way consumers eat, move, travel, live, use products and services. For the Green Deal to succeed, consumers need to be at the centre of all relevant policies.
- Structural change and creating new infrastructure is crucial to allow consumers to adopt more sustainable lifestyles, particularly in food, housing, mobility and the products and services we use every day.
- Consumers need the right price signals in all areas. Today, the sustainable choice is often the most difficult or expensive one. In the future, the sustainable choice must be the easiest and most affordable one.
- Consumer information alone cannot replace a comprehensive change in the way products are made. Though beneficial when well designed and implemented, there are limitations to what can be achieved with information measures. They should come second to ambitious action on mandatory product policies and the creation of new consumer rights (right to repair, improved interoperability between devices, improved legal guarantees).
- Consumer organisations can and must play an important role in engaging consumers in the green transition. To make the Green Deal a success, the Commission needs to put consumer policy at its heart. The upcoming Consumer Agenda is the perfect policy tool to do so.
In our new position paper, ‘Consumers at the centre of the drive to sustainability - BEUC’s view on the European Green Deal’, we rate in green, amber and red the Green Deal’s measures which impact on consumers from housing and finance, to mobility, food and more.