Consumer policy

Joint Conference on Consumer Education (Paris, 24 October 2008)


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OECD Headquarters, Paris, France
24 October 2008

The conference was organised jointly by the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Marrakech Task force on Education for Sustainable Consumption (UN MTF ).

The conference examined major issues and sought to identify good practices in consumer education. Participation in the forum was restricted to government representatives and selected representatives from the business community and the civil society.

In order to facilitate the discussion, an analytic report Promoting Consumer Education: Trends, Policies and Good Practices was prepared. 


Related meetings




(as of 9 October 2008)

Opening session (09.30-09.40)

  • Michael Jenkin, Chair, Committee on Consumer Policy

SESSION I: Overview of Consumer Education (09.40-10.30)

What are the roles of consumer education? Why is it important? What kinds of challenges does consumer education today face?

  • Isabella Marras, Program Officer, Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch, UNEP
  • Ginette Nabavi, Principal Administrator, Director General for Consumer Affairs, European Commission
  • Victoria Thoresen, Hedmark University College, Norway
  • Anna Fielder, Senior Policy Advisor, Consumer Focus, UK
  • Thom van Mierlo, Senior Consumer Affairs Officer, Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands

SESSION II: Good practices in consumer education (10.30-12.30)

Brief summary of the analytical background report (OECD Secretariat)

Roundtable discussion

Moderated by Professor Heiko Steffens (Member of Scientific Steering Committee, Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

Discussion Themes

(i) Setting objectives and goals, and measuring and evaluating effectiveness

How governments set objectives for consumer education programs? What has to be done to set up an evaluation program to identify good practices?


(ii) Identifying major approaches to consumer education

How do governments and educational authorities define priorities in implementing consumer education? What kinds of practices are used and have been effective?


(iii) Establishing institutions and promoting co-operation among stakeholders

How do governments work cooperatively with stakeholders (i.e. educational authorities, organized civil society) to respond to the needs of consumer education?


(iv) Reaching different types of vulnerable consumers

What should be done to reach various vulnerable consumers (such as immigrants, elderly, and children) in an effective and sensitive way?


  • Christophe Bernes, Education and Training Project Manager, Institut National de la Consommation, France
  • Nieves Álvarez Martin Director of the European School of Consumers, Spain
  • Inge Huijbrechts, Manager, CSR, Toyota-Europe, Belgium
  • Uwe Bergmann, Sustainability/CSR Management, Henkel and WBCSD Sustainable Consumption Workstream
  • Takao Nishimura, Professor, Yokohama National University, Japan
  • Sue McGregor (paper), Professor, Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada
  • David Istance, Senior Policy Analyist, Center for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD

SESSION III: Breakout session (14.30-17.00)
Towards defining good practices in consumer education – good practices in pilot areas


Session A: Sustainable Consumption

1.  Introduction

  • Graham Branton, Director, EU and International Consumer Policy Team, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, UK

2. Setting objectives and goals

  • Fabienne Pierre, Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch, UNEP
  • Andrea Innamorati, Ministry for the Environment, General Directorate for Environmental Research and Development, Italy
  • Candice Stevens, Sustainable Development Advisor, OECD

3.  Institutions and co-operation among stakeholders

  • Valérie Martin, ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), "Economies d'énergie. Faisons vite ça chauffe"

4.  Reaching different types of consumers

  • Andrea Collier, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

5. Major approaches to consumer education

  • Päivi Palojoki, Professor, Helsinki University
  • Uwe Bergmann, Sustainability/CSR Management, Henkel and WBCSD Sustainable Consumption Workstream

6. Conclusions

Session B: Digital competence

1.  Introduction

  • Hanna Turetski-Toomik, Consumer Protection Board of Estonia

2.  Setting objectives and goals; measurement and evaluation

  • Taina Mäntylä, Senior Adviser, Finish Consumer Agency, Finland
  • David Anstead, Specialist Adviser, Office for Standards in Education Department,   UK

3. Digital safety and consumer rights and obligations

  • Gry Hasselbalch, (and report) Project Officer, The Media Council for Children and Young People,  Awareness Node in the EU network Insafe, Denmark
  • Jennifer Leach, Consumer Education Specialist, the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education, US
  • Bjørn Erik Thon, Consumer Ombudsman, Norway

4. Institutions and cooperation among stakeholders

5. Reaching different groups of vulnerable consumers

6. Conclusions


SESSION IV: Conclusion: Summary and conclusions of the whole conference (17.10-18.00)

What actions can we take to promote consumer education further?- Views of stakeholders

  • Professor Heiko Steffens [Moderator of Session II]
  • Candice Stevens [Rapporteur of the Breakout session I, OECD]
  • Susan Grant [Rapporteur of the Breakout session II, Director of Consumer Protection, Consumer Federation of America, US]
  • Paolo Soprano (Director, Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italy)
  • International consumer/business associations [CI, BIAC, and others]


Related meetings

International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (Bordeaux, 27-29 October 2008)

OECD Workshop on Education for Sustainable Development  (Paris, 11-12 September 2008)