Ecommerce Europe commits to new focus area: sustainability

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On 11 December, the European Commission published its highly expected  Communication on the European Green Deal, accompanied by a  timeline with key legislative and non-legislative initiatives. As mentioned in our previous article, the Communication includes various measures with potential impact on digital commerce.

The communication around the European Green Deal leaves no doubt that this will be a flagship project for the new European Commission. But the question of the transition towards a more sustainable economy has already been on the radar of retailers in Europe. New business models and best practices are being developed to ensure the contribution of the sector to this cultural and economic shift.

Discussions with our members have led to several key conclusions on the digital commerce sector and Ecommerce Europe can play a role in this transition:

  1. Businesses on the ground are developing innovative solutions and new business models, rethinking their partnerships and their ecosystem, their offers to consumers etc. With the right framework and the right tools, the transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy represents a real opportunity for online merchants. The digital commerce sector is particularly well-equipped to seize these new opportunities and contribute to this transition.
  2. Online retailers enjoy a privileged relationship with consumers – this means that they can adapt to new demand from consumers that are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their choices, but also contribute to changing our ways of consuming online.
  3. The role this sector aspires to play in the transition of our economy needs to be accompanied by actions at EU level, including open discussions with all stakeholders, exchange of solutions and best practices cross-border, active participation in the decision-making process etc.

Following these considerations, Ecommerce Europe held an in-depth discussion with its members on the state of play in the EU from a business and legislative perspective. Members reached a clear consensus that Ecommerce Europe needs to step up its activities regarding the transition towards a sustainable and climate-neutral Europe.

As a result, Ecommerce Europe will launch a new Sustainability Working Group in February 2020, where members will have the opportunity to share challenges they come across in their countries, best practice, and develop the position of Ecommerce Europe on sustainability related files.

In the context of Ecommerce Europe’s increasing focus on sustainability, on 11 December, the team attended the Retail Forum for Sustainability. The Retail Forum is a multi-stakeholder platform set up in order to exchange best practices on sustainability in the European retail sector and to identify opportunities and barriers that may hinder the achievement of sustainable consumption and production.

During the forum, different topics were discussed, including the progress achieved after 10 years of existence of the forum.  The event focused essentially on the European Green Deal, Circular Economy and consumer engagement, as well as the role of supply chain, with discussion on consumer information, advertising, costs, but also responsibilities of actors along the supply chain.

 If you are interested in learning more about Ecommerce Europe’s strategy on sustainability, please send an e-mail to Juliette Beaulaton (juliettebeaulaton@ecommerce-europe.eu).

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