After 30 years working in consumers protection for ALTROCONSUMO.it which this year turns 50 with its 314.000 members, 38 million visits to its website, 18.000 media quotes in 2022, I share here some learnings about some critical success factors that could be relevant in the future.
INTERNATIONALITY. It has always been our distinctive feature: we have always worked so that Europe could truly serve the interests of citizens. We have been the protagonists of many successful advocacy actions within Beuc and the first to take care of monitoring their application. The European battles have been also our national battles and together with colleagues of Euroconsumers network we translate into our work program: from the collective redress, to the Unfair commercial Practice to the GDPR, to the Digital service act, Digital Market act, to the reform of the rules on product safety , to access to medicines, to nutritional labelling , to energy efficiency, to sustainability crosscutting measures.
TRANSPARENCY. An updated section on our website finally tells the complexity of our organization. I firmly believe that this is a fundamental element, closely connected to the credibility, respect and value that our public will want to recognize us. After years income statement is finally available online alongside the activity reports and information on the projects for which we have received public and private funding. This has allowed a diversification of our funding sources which has integrated the budget of the association, which is based mainly on membership fees, guaranteeing us independence.
PROXIMITY. The reorganization of the work of our regional representatives , now a network of 10 local volunteers that seeks to amplify our voice in our regions and contributes to making Altroconsumo less Milan-centric. When we started they were a list, now they are a group – also on teams – the regional representatives of AC. But also digital proximity via the enriched touch points offered via the hub and presence on the social media that counts over 822.500 people in touch with us in 2022.
ENFORCEMENT Several class actions have been launched in recent years, the law must not exist only on paper, but walk on people’s legs. In addition to the many reports to the authorities both for unfair and aggressive commercial practices and for violations of the rules on competition mainly originating from the abuse of dominant positions, we’ve monitored in particular pharmaceutical market, but not only that. We started many collective actions and petitions visible on our websites.
There are still many challenges ahead of us: digitalization and sustainability encourage rethinking of the development model. T COVID 19 pandemic has taught us many things and has taken away others. Not to talk about war in Ukraine. I think we have reached a turning point. I think we must look to the future without forgetting why we do what we do. Let’s not forget our mission: to empower people and make their everyday life better improving the market. Today more than yesterday this means no longer just informing, but launching training and co-creation processes with users, managing relationships with upstream and downstream companies, at the same time being able to maintain our economic independence and freedom of judgement to stay relevant.