15 March is World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD). This year’s theme was ‘Building a digital world consumers can trust’. To mark the day, ANEC, CEN-CENELEC and the DIN Consumer Council produced an infographic 'European Standards building a #BetterDigitalWorld consumers can trust'.
In addition, this year's German Presidency of the G20 included a G20 Consumer Summit (#G20Consumers) for the first time. The Summit – ‘building a digital world consumers trust’ – organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice & Consumer Protection (BMJV), Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) and Consumers International (CI) was held in Berlin, also on 15 March. Sadie Homer, BSI’s Consumer & Public Interest Policy Executive, spoke on how standards can help 'deliver digital' and build consumer trust. She also spoke about the proposal for standards on privacy by design made to ISO by BSI, ISO/COPOLCO and ANEC.
The European Consumer Day 2017 was held in Malta on 21 March, hosted by the European Economic & Social Committee (EESC). The event had the theme, ‘The Digital Single Market: How does it benefit consumers?’. The detailed programme is available at this link.
ANEC was represented by Jens Henriksson, Swedish member of the General Assembly, who spoke on the need for the digital society to encompass all consumers, regardless of age or ability. His presentation was part of a panel on the threats and opportunities posed by the Digital Single Market.
Jens Henriksson (Photo: Twitter)
After several months of inter-institutional negotiations, which ANEC followed closely, the three EU institutions have struck a deal on the EU Energy label. We can welcome that agreement has been reached and that the well-known A-G scale will return to the shops as a result. However, it is a disappointment that, for some products, consumers will have to wait years to see the new label. We fear the presence of two labels on the market during a transitional phase will lead to confusion among consumers. Better news is creation of an online database to display product models that will need to bear the Energy Label. This will increase transparency for consumers and help them choose the products that serve their needs.
The Standards Council of Canada proposed the development of an International Workshop Agreement (IWA) on the Sharing Economy. The aim of the IWA is to set out standardised solution(s) to the challenges associated with the sharing economy. It focuses on for-profit sharing economy business models.
The editing work started by correspondence in February, and its completion was discussed in a workshop on 21-23 March 2017 in Canada which a CI Representative attended.
Ahead of the workshop, ANEC and CI developed comments on the draft IWA and published a detailed paper on the collaborative economy. In this Position Paper on Sharing Economy – Input to Draft International Workshop Agreement, we proposed a review of the definitions of actors involved to improve clarity of the responsibilities in this new economic model and thus facilitate a more precise framework. The paper goes on to address the role of standards in such a framework and our expectations from the IWA in building consumer trust.
ANEC welcomes adoption by CEN of revised European standards for high chairs and for table-mounted chairs.
EN 14988 ‘Children's high chairs - Requirements and test methods’ and EN 1272 ‘Child care articles - Table mounted chairs - Safety requirements and test methods’ were both revised under Mandate M/527 ‘Certain seating for children’. ANEC followed the work and submitted comments during the Enquiry stage. As most of our comments were accepted, we expressed support for the final drafts, and submitted ‘Favourable’ Opinions.
In 2016, the first standard under M/527, EN 16120:2012+A1:2014/A2:2016 ‘Child use and care articles - Chair mounted seat’ was adopted with ANEC support. Work continues with development of a standard for children’s chairs in CEN TC 207 WG2 ‘Children’s nursery furniture’.
Draft Standardisation Request on web accessibility
Directive (EU) 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (‘Web Accessibility Directive’) was approved at the end of 2016.
The directive, supported by ANEC and the disability movement, makes use of Harmonised Standards to provide a presumption of conformity with its essential requirements.
To this end, a draft Standardisation Request for Harmonised Standards on the accessibility of apps and mobile apps was issued by the EC, with ANEC support. It has now been sent to CEN-CENELEC for their approval by 18 April, further to approval given by the EC Committee of Standards in March. CEN, CENELEC and ETSI are requested to deliver harmonised standard(s) based on EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04) and including any necessary provisions needed to support the implementation of Article 4 of Directive (EU) 2016/2102.
Safety Promotion in Action, Amsterdam
The 4th European Conference on Injury Prevention & Safety Promotion (EU-Safety-2017) will be held in Amsterdam on 21-22 September 2017, hosted by EuroSafe with VeiligheidNL (Consumer Safety Institute).
The conference will demonstrate good practices in injury research and prevention, and address a wide range of topics such as child safety, leisure safety, safety for older people and safety of vulnerable road users. It will bring together professionals with interest in injury prevention policies and safety promotion, including decision makers, researchers and professionals working in private business.
The organisers invite abstracts for presentations to be made during break-out sessions at the Conference. These need to be submitted before 15 May. For more information, please visit the conference webpage.
Revision of the Drinking Water Directive
At the end of February 2017, the EC published the Inception Impact Assessment for the revision of the Drinking Water directive (98/83/EC). This Inception Impact Assessment aims to inform stakeholders about the Commission's work and allow them to provide feedback on the intended initiative.
Further to our contributions to earlier consultations on the evaluation of the drinking Water Directive and ANEC position on the chemical safety of materials in contact with water, we replied to the consultation on the roadmap.
We welcome that materials in contact with drinking water have been recognised as a key issue to be tackled in the revision. However, we strongly disagree with the proposed problem definition. Instead, we stress the lack of consumer protection that arises from only a few EU countries having comprehensive approval systems in place. We call for a European regulatory approach in the form of implementing measures adopted by the EC (provided for in the Directive), or through a separate legal framework for materials in contact with drinking water. These could be complemented by European test standards prepared by CEN.
CEN-CENELEC “Functional safety & cybersecurity” workshop
On 16 March, ANEC attended a stakeholder engagement workshop on functional safety & cybersecurity, hosted by CEN-CENELEC in Brussels. It aimed to engage industry representatives in defining standardisation needs for functional safety, and the digital protection of processes, systems and data. Participants provided practical recommendations that could meet these needs. The detailed programme of the event is available at this link.
RAPEX Annual Report 2016
In March, the EC published the latest annual report of the Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products. The results confirm a good cooperation is in place at European level to ensure dangerous products found on the market are removed as quickly as possible.
The Rapid Alert System (RAPEX), established in 2004, is operated by 31 national authorities, assisted by the EC. Each week, about 50 alerts are registered and published online via a weekly notification report.
CEN-CENELEC webinar for ANEC Representatives. . .
On 27 March, the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre hosted a webinar on the CEN-CENELEC electronic platforms especially for ANEC experts. The focus of the online training was the CEN e-Committee platform and CENELEC Collaboration Tool, and it provided tips and tricks on how to use them efficiently.
. . . and ANEC webinars
ANEC is continuing to run its own webinars, following on from those last year. So far, we have addressed rules on Standardisation Requests, CEN-CENELEC Guide 25 on partnership with CEN-CENELEC, and new right of Opinion for societal stakeholders in CEN-CENELEC. We are planning to host webinars on the Joint Initiative on Standardisation, soft skills for consumer experts and on a general introduction to ANEC for new members.
News from ANEC Members
EKPIZO’s survey: Do schools' canteens contribute to children's obesity?
EKPIZO has launched a survey in school canteens within the Attica prefecture, "Do school canteens contribute to child obesity?". Its duration will be 2 months and it aims at finding whether school canteens offer food items other than those permitted and whether prices comply with the law. The survey will look at the degree to which canteen operators and school principals are informed about the law and their compliance with it. This research was triggered by complaints received by EKPIZO stating that food items available in many school canteens are not permitted by law as they contain high levels of sugar, fats, salt and empty calories. The law is intended to combat child obesity. The results will be disseminated to the competent authorities, parents and media, and EKPIZO will then consider its next steps.
VeiligheidNL campaign: 'With a bit of risk, they'll get there'!
In an online campaign, VeiligheidNL (Consumer Safety Institute) raises awareness about the benefits of ‘risky play’ for children aged 5 to 7 years.
VeiligheidNL (www.veiligheid.nl) is committed to the healthy and safe upbringing of children. As a national centre of expertise, it offers parents, professionals and children both help and advice to reduce the risk of serious accident. Outdoor play is an activity where children can explore boundaries, test their limits and gain experience through taking risks. The concept of ‘risky play’ seems to conflict with child safety, but children who engage in such play develop competencies and skills that can actually protect them from accidents.
The campaign includes an online video, information and practical advice.
ANEC is supported by the European Commission and EFTA.