Helping consumers choose sustainable products and services
European Commission, Helping consumers choose sustainable products and services, Factsheet, 07.12.2015
Because of the market power consumers have (their wills and choices influence what is offered on the market), driving consumers towards an increased demand for products and services supporting circularity is fundamental for a successful outcome of the EU Circular Economy Package.
They should therefore be driven to ask for and choose products and services supporting circularity. That won't benefit only the environment, but also consumers themselves, as such products and services tend to “provide [to consumers] monetary savings and an increased quality of life”.
Products which support circularity are, e.g., those which implement energy efficiency, those which can be recycled (and which even are recovered and recycled at the end of their life by the supplier himself), those which use more sustainable materials, those which are more durable (e.g., through repairing or upgrading). Services which support circularity are, e.g., those which realize “sharing, recycling or recovery of raw materials”.
In order for consumers to choose these kinds of products and services, there is need for (more) “information about the environmental impact of products” (→ transparency in the broad sense – i.e. not mere substantial transparency, but also formal transparency – should be ensured: e.g., imposing it directly to producers, and/or creating platforms highlighting the circularity-related characteristics of products, and their overall level of environmental impact).
--> The IoT can help transparency: e.g., if it is used in order to enable consumers to inspect the route followed by the product all along the supply chain [Cf. “Intelligent Assets”, p. 17.].
--> “Intelligent Assets”, p. 33, states that for the moment there is lack of consumer demand for circular economy.