2a G Adriaenssens Sust Cons

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2a G Adriaenssens Sust Cons

  1. 1. Comparative Testing for Sustainable Lifestyles CI World Congress, Sydney 2007
  2. 2. Content <ul><li>Who and what is ICRT? </li></ul><ul><li>Why publish comparative tests? </li></ul><ul><li>How to include criteria related to sustainability? </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations and challenges? </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is ICRT? <ul><li>ICRT is an international consortium of consumer organisations that carry out joint research and testing </li></ul><ul><li>Non profit company limited by shares </li></ul><ul><li>Only consumer organisations can be shareholders </li></ul>
  4. 4. Who can be member of ICRT? <ul><li>Consumer organisations that carry out consumer research and testing provided that they: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>act exclusively in the interest of consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>do not take advertising in their magazine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are independent of commerce, industry and political parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are not influenced by subsidies, sponsorship or incentives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>capable of carrying out a minimum level of testing activity and publishing the results </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. ICRT Members <ul><li>Germany, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, USA </li></ul><ul><li>Austria, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Russia </li></ul><ul><li>Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, India, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>Brazil, Chile </li></ul>
  6. 6. Aims of ICRT <ul><ul><li>Increase the cost effectiveness of testing and research. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop common test programmes and evaluation methods. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To avoid publication of contradictory reports on the same product. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help smaller organisations to develop testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To provide a legal framework for joint testing with established rules and guidelines. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Some figures <ul><li>Secretariat with 10 members of staff </li></ul><ul><li>40 big joint tests per year </li></ul><ul><li>10 continuous tests </li></ul><ul><li>150 smaller joint tests </li></ul><ul><li>Use around 60 laboratories </li></ul><ul><li>Spend around € 6 million per year </li></ul><ul><li>Test around 5 000 products </li></ul>
  8. 8. Why publish comparative tests? <ul><li>They confront the buyers with a real choice based on objective criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Gives clear information on what can be improved </li></ul><ul><li>Influence the behaviour of companies through the buying choices of the consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers are willing to pay for this “golden” information, indicating a clear need </li></ul>
  9. 9. What criteria to include in a test? <ul><li>Traditional test includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Convenience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Safety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Durability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy consumption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental criteria (since late 70s) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New since 2000: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethical criteria </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. What criteria to include in a test? <ul><li>Recent trends: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More emphasis on environmental aspects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recycling </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use problematic materials </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stand by energy and total energy consumption </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Life cycle analysis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Responsibility criteria </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social criteria </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Examples of Methods used in CSR research <ul><li>Research and analysis of information in the public domain </li></ul><ul><li>Questionnaires to be completed by companies </li></ul><ul><li>Anonymous calls and letters </li></ul><ul><li>Company meetings or visits </li></ul><ul><li>Factory visits and audits </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewing employees </li></ul><ul><li>Peer review </li></ul>
  12. 12. Examples of references used in CSR research <ul><li>Universal Declaration of Human Rights </li></ul><ul><li>International Labour Organisation </li></ul><ul><li>OECD Guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Rio declaration and Kyoto protocol </li></ul><ul><li>SA 8000 </li></ul><ul><li>UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection </li></ul><ul><li>Global Reporting Initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Global Compact </li></ul>
  13. 13. Advantages of comparative testing <ul><li>Name and blame bad products </li></ul><ul><li>Promote better products </li></ul><ul><li>Put strong pressure on the manufacturers </li></ul><ul><li>Better coverage by the media </li></ul><ul><li>Compile real data that become strong weapons for our lobby departments </li></ul>
  14. 14. Examples of recent achievements <ul><li>Dramatic reduction of Polycyclic A romatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) in DIY products and tyres in 1 year </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction of standby energy from 100 to less than 1 Watt in most products </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction of water and energy consumption of large household appliances by more than 50% </li></ul><ul><li>Accepting CSR criteria by manufacturers increased from 40% to 80% in 3 years </li></ul>
  15. 15. Comparative CSR research <ul><li>Toys Publication had a huge impact on the behaviour of the importers/manufacturers </li></ul><ul><li>Pharmaceuticals Publication was used successfully by CI for campaigning </li></ul><ul><li>Clothing Retail Chains Publication impacted directly on the market </li></ul>
  16. 16. Upcoming research for 2008 <ul><li>Parquet floors and wooden floors </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic waste </li></ul><ul><li>Energy use Christmas illuminations </li></ul><ul><li>Fire works (labour conditions) </li></ul><ul><li>Kitchen material </li></ul><ul><li>Banks </li></ul><ul><li>Tea </li></ul><ul><li>TVs </li></ul><ul><li>Cotton products </li></ul><ul><li>Washing machines </li></ul>
  17. 17. Limitations and challenges <ul><li>Input side </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not all consumer organisations are convinced that CSR research is a valid task for them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CSR Research is very expensive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for strong coordination in order to avoid contradictory results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Struggle on how to publish: included into specific product rating or not </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complexity of the issues: not easy to summarize into ratings </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Limitations and challenges <ul><li>Output side </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited interest of readers (average scores) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk of generalisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty of changing behaviour </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The challenge is the integration of sustainability criteria as a real aspect of the quality of a product </li></ul>
  19. 19. Possible criticism on comparative testing <ul><li>Pushing to increased consumption? </li></ul><ul><li>Do ethical issues not overrule all the other criteria? </li></ul><ul><li>for discussion…. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><ul><li>Thank you for your attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Guido Adriaenssens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sydney, 30 Oct 2007 </li></ul></ul>
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