What can sustainable consumer policy in Europe look like? NEXTdays asked young people from Europe, brought them together in an online conference and made sure that their ideas, opinions and interests are heard!
In 2015, the agenda 2030 was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in New York, defining a roadmap for the future in order to ensure a decent existence worldwide. As part of it, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on sustainable politics have been established by considering economic, ecologic as well as social development aspects. These goals aim at reducing poverty and hunger worldwide, improving health, ensuring equal rights, giving access to education and health and protecting the planet.
In this context, a forward-looking and sustainable consumer policy can play an important role. It can create framework conditions which do not only take into consideration individual interests, but also implement sustainability objectives in the interest of future generations. The consumer policy also gives advice and information and motivates the consumers. It has an impact on consumer behaviour since consumers are then more oriented towards quality and sustainability characteristics of products, services and manufacturing processes, thus generating a stronger demand for sustainable products and sustainable production. This kind of consumer policy also affects young people’s life, since it is mostly in their interest to preserve natural resources for future generations. In addition, especially young consumers will significantly shape the future through their behaviour.
In the second half of 2020, Germany took over the Presidency of the EU Council. During the Presidency, one of the key objectives shall be to implement sustainability.
The project NEXTdays - Young Consumers for Europe intended to make a contribution to this and to make European young peoples’ voices heard when expressing their ideas, opinions and interests concerning questions about the future consumer policy. As part of an open online consultation, young people from different European countries got the opportunity to identify together the most important aspects related to the sustainability goals like sustainable consumption and sustainable production patterns and climate protection measures. The emerging issues and questions provided the basis for a youth conference, where 40 committed young people from different European countries discussed together how to implement the sustainability goals and set a European Youth Agenda for sustainable consumer policy. The young peoples’ key messages were presented in a video at the “Consumer Days”, organized by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection within the framework of the EU Council Presidency.