Within the CNE, as well as to the local authorities, the ministries, and to the media, we represent the interests of the “users and consumers”.
We communicate on what I would call “the consumers’ sensitivity”, their expectations and priorities, as we perceive them to be through our national network of members and activists…
We are now part of a new society: the distinction between “experts” and “non-experts” is no longer a reality. Information is no longer “vertical”: society is now decompartmentalized.
The general public, the consumers now have access to information, in all the fields, in all the lines of business. They also wish to have access to pieces of information independent from any kind of economic, political or union interests. It is at this level that an independent organization takes action, as an anti-establishment force. We have represented and shared the consumers’ interests for more than 60 years. Each year, we reach more than one million households through our publications, websites and media interventions.
– Your organization is committed to an eco-citizen approach, as evidenced by the studies available on your website (work on eco-labels, publication of an ecological guide…). Is this a real matter of concern for the consumers?
Our role is to relay information. The consumers share their priorities with us: health, respect for the environment… The Bisphenol A affair has now become a textbook case. Waste management is also a real concern: it has impacts on both environmental considerations and purchasing power. All this data needs to be transmitted to our partners.
This is why we work on the cost of packaging issue, the need for eco-design, and cost transparency for instance. Since the Grenelle de l’Environnement, there has been real momentum. Today’s objective is to make the voices of all parties heard and to allow them to intervene early in the debate and not only to back decisions that have already been taken. We are not there yet but this is what we aim to achieve. It is a real cultural change; an exchange between the economic stakeholders and the public authorities that we hope will be “win-win”.
– You are now an integral part of the CNE working and focus groups. What is your first assessment?
It is very enriching to exchange with packaging professionals. As there is a real exchange of information, a real interaction, we become aware for example of certain technical or economic constraints faced by companies and that we did not know of. Of course, the reverse must be true also: the manufacturers need to take into account the arguments expounded by organizations such as ours. Otherwise, it would not make sense. This cultural evolution is not easy but it will lead to more equitable economic relationships.
It is always helpful to make the consumers’ interests and expectations known, as they evolve quickly.
As the exchange of information is invaluable and must be productive, we all have a stake in making sure information is shared.
The CLCV has always privileged the dialogue, and this is why as a think-tank, the CNE has a important role to play.