Friday, 27 August 2010

Our new website

Our new CI website offers a tremendous range of additional features for our members, stakeholders, and those simply interested in consumer rights. Whilst there’s a guide to this exciting new functionality, it’s important to take this opportunity to explore the substance of the new site too. As we celebrate our 50th year, it gives me great pleasure to point you towards some momentous milestones in 2010, for which the global consumer movement can be rightly proud.

Joost Martens
Our long-running campaign for a global code on junk food marketing to children helped secure the first ever set of WHO recommendations on this issue at the World Health Assembly in May. The strength and persuasiveness of the CI code has been fundamental to a global shift in opinion about the need for such guidelines, and it continues to gather support from national delegates to the WHO and opinion-formers everywhere.

Following eight years of lobbying and campaigning, we have also seen our efforts to secure an ISO guidance standard on social responsibility come to fruition. Another global first, ISO 26000 will eventually give consumers a trusted benchmark for assessing the ethical behaviour of companies anywhere in the world.

These two milestones in consumer protection should not be underestimated. They can lead to real improvements in the well-being of consumers and, I believe, have the potential to sit alongside the the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection, as hard fought successes for the global consumer movement.

Of course our campaign activities do not stop there: beyond the WHO and ISO, we also continue to build momentum in other key areas, all of which are featured in the Our Work section

On financial services, the Our money, our rights! theme for this year’s World Consumer Rights Day made WCRD 2010 one of the most active in our history – over 90 CI organisations in 70 countries took action around 15 March. Supported by a range of CI materials, WCRD 2010 saw a huge variety of member activities: from the public shredding of financial services junk mail in Germany, to consumer workshops on setting up a bank account in Kenya.   

On sustainable development we continue to strengthen the position of the consumer movement. As the international decision-making bodies consider how we secure a sustainable future for all, we are demonstrating leadership and vision through our contributions to the UN, the Marrakech Process, the Green Economy Coalition, and the official preparations for the Rio Earth Summit 2012.

Whilst our campaign and policy work make great strides, we also continue to nurture the development of consumer protection around the world. With this in mind, I am delighted to announce the opening of the new CI Africa Office in Johannesburg, South Africa  This is yet further evidence of our commitment to building better consumer organisations across the continent and through out the world. 

The new site is part of our wider aim to look forward in our 50th year, not just back at our past successes. This desire to look at ‘what’s next’ has informed our decision to build next year’s World Congress around the theme of Empowering Tomorrow’s Consumers. Taking place in Hong Kong, 3-6 May, the 19th CI World Congress will consider the challenges facing tomorrow’s consumers regarding sustainable consumption, financial services reform, the digital economy and other key areas. It promises to be a great event, packed with high-profile speakers and engaging debate. Online registration will start soon and I look forward to perhaps seeing you there.

And of course none of this would be possible without the determination, enthusiasm and support of our 220 member organisations from around the world. They, ultimately, are the global consumer movement and the power of our collective voice means we hold attention where others cannot. That’s why our new site aims to highlight the breadth of our member activity, provide enhanced member search and profile information about the organisations, and publicise the range of member services that their financial, technical and moral support allows us to provide.

I hope you enjoy the site, and please be sure to sign up for all the latest updates.

Joost Martens
CI Director General

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