Thursday, 25 October 2012

How consumer groups can flourish in our digital future

CI director general Helen McCallum writes on the challenges facing the consumer movement.  

Our rapidly changing world continues to throw up challenges to, and opportunities for, the consumer movement.

Our latest global newsletter takes a fascinating look at several ways in which this is happening.

First up is the challenge that all civil society organisations face today – how do we remain relevant  in a digital world where many citizens (and consumers) no longer feel reliant on our expertise to act, react, and protest? 
Well, there are many ways in which this challenge presents opportunities.

The launch of our broadband advocacy toolkit shows how the consumer rights movement can still help the public navigate new markets and challenge corporate behaviour.

CI and its members have a significant role in providing sound, reliable advice in this relatively new area for many consumers.

We also have updates from our Citizenship, collaborative technologies and regulation project, demonstrating how consumer groups in Latin America are helping communities use text messaging to influence utility service regulation.

And we feature a new report from UK member Consumer Focus that looks at how crowd-mapping technologies  can be used by consumers to get better services and fairer deals.

All of these demonstrate how the consumer rights movement is stepping up to new challenges in these changing times.

Alongside more traditional consumer issues (see our newsletter’s other stories on food prices, supermarket competition, and iPhone chargers, for example), we must advocate for digital consumer rights, while using the technology itself to promote and improve consumer protection.

If you would like to receive CI’s global newsletter and other email alert services, you can subscribe here.

Find out more about what CI is doing on Consumer Rights in the Digital Age in our strategy document: Your Rights, Our Mission | Strategy 2015.

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