- About Us
- Policy Areas
- Innovation, Brands & IP
It’s definitely a bumpy ride with COVID-19, but we here at the Consumer Choice Center have been working very hard over the summer to keep you more connected and with more choices. Let me give you a guided tour of some of our recent work. Buckle up, it’s quite a ride!
As the continent is slowly getting back into travel mode, our 2020 edition of Europe’s most passenger-friendly airports could obviously not be missed. This year’s winner is Zurich Airport! I’m sure you’ll want to know where your closest airport is ranked in Europe’s 30 biggest airports, so click HERE to get straight to the research by Fred Roeder and Tamar Tarsaidze.
The CCC has started a new campaign in Brazil to fight for innovation and against scrapping the provisions of Article 40 protecting intellectual property. Our colleagues Fabio Fernandes and Fred Roeder lead the way in showing legislators that legislative proposals are going off the rails, and how they would hurt consumers. For Brazilians, make sure to follow our Brazilian CCC account HERE.
|Also related to intellectual property: Together with 11 Members of the European Parliament, we have signed a letter regarding the TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) flexibilities.|
We all want sustainable agriculture, but how do we achieve that? My newest policy note on sustainable agriculture is a toolkit for policy-makers, to make them understand how evidence-based policy-making leads to affordable and safe food that does not overuse natural resources. You can read the full paper HERE.
You might also be interested in an op-ed I wrote about the threat to human health posed by mycotoxin contamination in Parliament Magazine.
Fred Roeder made it all the way into Germany’s prestigious FAZ on sustainability and modern agriculture.
We also had the great pleasure to host Kathleen Hefferon PhD from the Department of Microbiology at Columbia University on our very own Consumer Choice Radio. In our interview, we tried to make sense of the opposition to evidence-based policy-making.
Vape flavours are more than just a gimmick — they are essential tools to help smokers make the switch to vaping products if they choose to do so. In their most recent policy note “Why Flavors Matter” (link), David Clement, Yaël Ossowski, joined by Michael Landl from the World Vapers Alliance make their case that restricting flavoured vaping liquids is the wrong way to go.
Read the paper HERE.
Not all of us do, but either way it’s a bliss to listen to Luca Bertoletti give his take on VAT holders bonuses in Italy. Did the Italian pension office violate the privacy of millions of Italian? Listen to these two interviews to understand more about this!
The Consumer Choice Center has joined a coalition mi to pass Proposition 22 in California (Yes on Prop 22) that would overturn parts of the anti-freelance and anti-contractor AB5 law for rideshare drivers. We’re the only consumer group that has signed up, and you’ll see much more in the coming months as we push to pass this proposition.
In that spirit, my colleague Yaël Ossowski published an op-ed on a similar topic impacting all of us stuck at home: commission caps on delivery apps. A coalition of groups wants cities to intervene in the delivery app market and dictate prices. That’s bad for consumers and means the cost of getting food to your door will be more expensive. Check out his article for more.
Over 29 per cent of restaurant owners cannot make a profit during COVID-19, with 60 per cent saying they’ll need to shut down within 90 days if the pandemic continues. In his recent op-ed for the Financial Post, David Clement argues for changes that would not only alleviate burdens on restaurant owners, but also on consumers.
Here’s a snippet: “If we are going to nudge people back to restaurants, let’s make restaurants fun and affordable again. Simple changes could go a long way to avoiding mass restaurant bankruptcies.”
“The Argentinian government will finally need to implement pro-free market reforms instead of holding onto socialist policies such as price controls on telecom services.” Our colleague Maria Chaplia didn’t mince her words on Argentina’s planned price freeze telecommunications services. Luca Bertoletti added: “Argentina deserves better than a populist government that pretends to act in the interests of consumers by extending price controls of TV, internet and mobile services at the expense of future prosperity.” It’s FIRE and we like it! 🔥
Let us know if you have any ideas on what we should be focusing on in the future!
August is here and while our social and travel patterns are still very limited due to the ongoing pandemic, we were able to have one of our most productive months ever at the CCC!
In Latin America, Julio Clavijo and Fabio Fernandes launched the First Annual Edition of the Latin American Consumer Airport Index, seeking to rank the continent’s most passenger-friendly airports. We had important local media hits, such as Valor Econômico, Diário do Grande ABC, Monitor Mercantil, InfoTur Dominicano and Revista Dia-a-Dia. The Index is available here.
On July 14th, the Consumer Choice Center branch in Brazil (CESCO) held its first live stream on the topic of medical cannabis. Our Media Associate Fabio interviewed the first and only organization in Brazil authorized to grow marijuana and produce CBD/THC oil for medical purposes. We had over 75 people watching live and asking questions on this still delicate topic in the country. You can watch the full interview in Portuguese here.
In South Africa our Managing Director Fred Roeder interviewed the shadow minister of Trade and Industry Dean Macphearson on the ongoing prohibition and lockdown measures in the African Horn. The campaign can be found under the hashtag #StopProhibition.
In North America
Our North American Affairs Manager David Clement was featured on the TV Channel CHCH news in Ontario where he argued in favour of cannabis delivery and online ordering. He was also published in the Financial Post making the case for liberalizing Canada’s airline market and allowing for international competition.
There’s a lot at stake in Washington, D.C. in the next round of negotiations for a pandemic fiscal relief plan. In the Detroit News, Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski makes the case for a liability shield for responsible businesses, organizations, and schools.
CONSUMER CHOICE RADIO
On the airwaves, we had another great set of episodes of Consumer Choice Radio on 106.7FM in Wilmington, N.C. Some of our guests included author Bjorn Lomborg, general surgeon Dr. Jeff Singer, journalist Brad Polumbo, policy analyst Ashley Baker, and private detective Brian O’Shea.
Be sure to subscribe to the podcast version of our radio show, which broadcasts each week at 10:00AM EST!
Meanwhile in Europe
CCC participated in the Fin-Tech action plan consultation of the EU Commission, demanding a real digital and financial single market for consumers. The entire document can be found here:
Agriculture Webinar with Norbert Lins
On July 7, our own Bill Wirtz hosted a webinar on European agriculture with European Parliament Agriculture Committee chairman Norbert Lins, vice-chair Mazaly Aguilar, and plant biotechnologist Marcel Kuntz. The European Union has recently unveiled its “Farm to Fork” strategy, which seeks to overhaul the way food is produced in Europe.
Last, the current situation could lead to a growth of Illicit Trade and the black market, and that’s why myself and Bill have written a policy paper where we suggest how to tackle this problem!
Even in the middle of a pandemic, parts of our team used a few days in early August to meet up (in a very socially distanced way) and discuss strategies for promoting consumer choice in the second half of this year. One of the highlights was this beautifully designed CCC-cake featuring the four policy areas we represent consumers in.
Summer is here and while our social and travel patterns are still very limited due to the ongoing pandemic, we were able to have one of our most productive months ever at the CCC! A new cool index is out, we had TV appearances on three continents, co-authored letters with elected officials, and contemplated the existence of mold in our walnuts.
Scooters, Taxis, and Baltic Beds: Tallinn stands for tech and consumer-friendliness – The first-ever CCC sharing economy index looked at over 50 cities around the world and found out that Tallinn, Vilnius, and Riga are the top cities for smart sharing economy regulations. Good for consumers in the Baltics and props to our index authors Maria and Tamar who got widely featured by the media.
Policy victory in Ukraine: In May, the Ukrainian government announced it was considering introducing tariffs on imported fertilizers from the EU. We have written extensively in Ukrainian media criticizing such a move arguing why trade protectionism is damaging and costly. On June 24th, the Ukrainian government decided against the quotas in favor of free trade. We are very proud that we have played a role in bringing about this consumer-friendly outcome.
Don’t stop the vaccine now! We co-signed a letter with 9 Members of the European Parliament reminding the EU’s Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan that compulsory licenses for COVID-19 vaccines are not going to get us to a vaccine faster.
Mold in your food? Yes, that’s a growing global problem called ‘Mycotoxins’! One of these poisonous substances even has the very telling name vomitoxin (ugh…). Why you should care about this issue, and what it has to do with the current food and agricultural policy of the EU, can be read in this paper in English and German authored by Bill.
The CCC participated in World Vape Day and filled two hours of the day-long VapeTV. We also launched an interactive map showing how many smokers could switch to vaping if their country would copy the smart vaping policies of the United Kingdom. David also testified (virtually) in front of British Columbia’s Finance Committee suggesting they repeal their 20% vape tax.
Pusat Pilihan Pengguna means Consumer Choice Center in Malay – CCC Malaysia launched!
We keep fighting for #ConsumerChoice across the globe. Next stop: Fighting the idea that increasing excise and consumption taxes are a good way out of this recession (spoiler: they are NOT!).
Let us know if you have any other ideas on what we should focus on this Summer,
P.S.: Some media hits we really can’t leave unmentioned:
David on the legalization of blood plasma on TV in Alberta.
Luca and Maria make the case why brands matter now more than ever in Euractiv.
Maria on fertilizer protectionism in Ukraine and why ‘Buy local fertilizer’ policies are bad for consumers.
David in the Financial Post on zoning laws in Canada which got syndicated by over 50 media outlets.
Modern Agriculture is under threat – Bill in Euractiv fighting for innovative food policies.
David on TRT World discussing the WHO’s relationship with China in the light of COVID.
Our interview on Consumer Choice Radio (Episode 24!) with Danish journalist and author Flemming Rose.
David in the Western Standard on Hong Kong and the Communist Party of China
David and Martin in Daily Maverick on South Africa’s new prohibition.
David on FDA reform and why forcing drug companies to kill puppies is not cool in the Washington Examiner!
CCC participates in the Fintech consultation of the EU Commission.
Mexican media on our vaping research
P.P.S.: Don’t miss our webinar on the future of food in Europe with MEP Norbert Lins, Chair of the EP’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (EPP, Germany), MEP Mazaly Aguilar, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (ECR, Spain), and Marcel Kuntz, Research Director in the Laboratory of Plant and Cell Physiology at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France. Sign up HERE
The last weeks were definitely crazy for us. After some great policy victories in Brazil and Canada we published two more indices and now find ourselves as an international consumer organization in the midst of the Coronavirus hysteria. Let me share what we have been up to in the last four weeks:
Yael and I went to Washington DC and met the Federal Communications Commission’s Commissioner Brendan Carr to discuss 5G, NetNeutrality, and #consumerchoice.
The FCC has been recently doing many positive things towards more choice for consumers and showed us its open doors for consumer involvement.
On a diet: Good that the FCC is very close to a stellar donut shop near the DC waterfront
The Consumer Choice Center hosted a panel discussion at Students For Liberty’s LibertyCon 2020 in Madrid. Our Senior Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz joined me to debunk some urban legends on vaping.
Last weekend, the Consumer Choice Center was in Madrid attending LibertyCon. It was an amazing opportunity to talk about freedom and choice directly to consumers from all around the world.
Fabio received in our booth hundreds of people, from students, sponsors to speakers interested in finding out more about consumer issues and consumer choice!
A new report by Unearthed — Greenpeace’s “investigative journalism” platform — claims that a large chunk of pesticides sold to farmers are “highly hazardous”.
Their claims are highly misleading and outright wrong, and can have potentially life-threatening consequences.
Food could be so much cheaper and better in Europe if the EU would allow novel breeding techniques such as gene editing for plants.
The Gene-Editing Index produced by the Genetic Literacy Project and us shows which countries currently lead the way in offering consumers the future of agriculture.
It’s always hard to get the 2-meter-something of Bill in one picture but this shot shows him in Madrid at Cannabis Europe, discussing European and global efforts towards medical and recreational use of #cannabis.
Our North American colleague David was published in Canada’s Financial Post about commercial cannabis consumption, a topic we are very excited to be working on moving forward.
Our European Affairs Associate Maria wrote about why banning beef on campus won’t help save the planet.
Nannying students is easy; encouraging them to become responsible consumers mindful of the importance of their freedom to choose is harder.
Our two usually very harmonious radio hosts David and Yael showed some rifts on the airwaves when discussing probably the most controversial debate after sports: Are you allowed to recline your seat on short flights?
See how this pans out on our YouTube Channel.
Earlier this year we hosted our annual Cannabis Conclave in the beautiful mountains in Davos, Switzerland. An amazing event that we have mentioned many times.
Thanks to our friends at the Canadian Securities Exchange you can also watch a longer video of our Davos Cannabis Conclave. Enjoy!
Europe’s Railway Stations – And the winner has been choo-choo-chosen! Our first ever European Railway Index kept many news busy across the continent. We got over 600 media hits in February alone covering the sister index of the European Airport Index. Proud winners of this year are London St. Pancras, Zurich Main Station, and Leipzig Main Station. Stay tuned for more consumer indexes coming your way!
On the other side of the world: Welcome our new Indonesian Policy Fellow Haikal who already published several articles on some of our core issues such as innovation in medicine and harm reduction.
Onwards: While the measures trying to contain the Coronavirus might slow down some of our in person activities and conferences such as meetings of the Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Brands Interest Group, we are committed to continue our battle for consumer choice through media and online!
Stay tuned for a much more entertaining newsletter by our new colleague Bia in April.
In the meantime please consider joining us as a card-carrying and dues paying member of the CCC – We need your support to fight for YOUR right to choose!
Dear Friend of Consumer Choice!
It’s February, but this year it’s a little bit more special: 2020 is a leap year, which means that the shortest month of the year just got an extra day!
Customarily on leap years, and especially on leap day, we are challenged to take a leap ourselves. What’s the one thing we could all use more of? Money? Probably. Fun? Sure. Time? Absolutely. We could all use more hours in the day. Every four years we kind of get our wish and are given the rare February 29th, a calendar anomaly and the time equivalent of found money: found time. Make the most of your extra day and do something special, fun, different, daring, brave, spontaneous, unexpected. Take a leap!
Here are our latest updates and what the Consumer Choice Center team is doing with our extra time:
Excellent News for Brazilians: The telco regulator Anatel announced that vertical integration of foreign-owned PayTV and Streaming Companies are legal – What this means: Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, but also traditional PayTV can continue offering their wide content to Brazilians.
This is the positive end of a 9 months campaign my Brazilian colleagues lead to allow choice and innovation in the Brazilian entertainment content market!
We are very proud of Andre Freo, Bia Nobrega, Ivanildo Santos Terceiro, Andrea Giuricin, and everyone else who helped to make this campaign a success. The Consumer Choice Center is delighted about this victory and we are confident that our campaign, reaching nearly 4 million consumers and meeting over 25 policymakers, has helped to get to this positive outcome.
On February 3rd, the Consumer Choice Center joined the Genetic Literacy Project and the British Conservation Alliance at the Adam Smith Institute in London to discuss “The Future of Food in a Climate-Changing World“. The event had over 60 attendees.
To learn more about Why GMO and Gene Edited Crops are more sustainable than Organic Farming, click here.
On January 23rd, we hosted our second Cannabis Conclave in Davos, Switzerland with over 100 attendees. It was a great event, with lots of social media echo and media hits. Thank you all who joined us over 1,500 meters above sea level to advance the legalization discussion internationally, for both medical and recreational cannabis.
You can listen to the Rebels of Davos special radio recording in Davos by Yaël Ossowski and David Clement here.
We launched in partnership with the Genetic Literacy Project the first Gene Editing Regulation Index. The index illustrates the existing differences in regulation for gene editing in plants, animals and humans and the frameworks for gene drives. It was created to help journalists, regulators, and policy-makers understand how their actions can help or stifle innovation.
Our job as advocates for choice and science will continue to be making the case for the innovation principle – allowing scientists and scientific agencies to make determinations of efficacy and safety, and not being at the mercy of the theatre of our broken political process.
Where does your country stand? Find out here.
We are pleased to announce that we will be joining the Students for Liberty at the amazing LibertyCon in Madrid on March 7th.
Less than 14% of U.S. adults are now smokers, the lowest rate ever recorded. To talk about that and other Myths and Facts on Vaping, our Managing Director Fred Roeder and our Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski will be hosting a panel discussion on the topic of Harm Reduction.
Our European Affairs Associate, Maria Chaplia will also be at LibertyCon, joining a very interesting panel on feminism to talk about gender neutrality in trade agreements.
Don’t have tickets yet? Sign-up now for exclusive access to the latest ticket offer here.
The Uber battle in British Columbia continues. The provincial (FINALLY!) approved Uber, and Yaël Ossowski discusses with David Clement about Mobility in BC in the Consumer Choice Radio.
Listen to the Consumer Choice Radio here.
We are pleased to announce the newest member of the Consumer Choice Center branch in Brazil, Beatriz Nobrega.
As Brazilian Affairs Associate, she will help us spread the word of Consumer Choice in Brasilia.
You can welcome her to the team here.
As you can see, we are using our leap year to advocate and push consumer choice in 2020. As always, you can help support our work by making a small donation or becoming a member! Please consider supporting consumer choice around the world.
Stay tuned for our spring updates and please keep supporting our work on Social Media!
Dear Friend of Consumer Choice!
The CCC is now entering into its fourth year and we’re excited to see more and more interest in our work.
Here’s a breakdown of everything our team has been up to since our last message:
Our North American team has launched a whole radio show dedicated to #consumerchoice. Consumer Choice Radio is broadcast on Saturdays at 10AM EST on The Big Talker 106.7 FM out of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Yaël and David will talk for an hour every week about pressing consumer issues that are happening around the world, and have interviews with entrepreneurs, innovators, and people leading the charge for more consumer choice.
Either tune in every Saturday or subscribe to our podcast or YouTube channel.
This gets me to the next big item of this newsletter: Our third episode of the radio show will be brought to you from Davos, Switzerland. Six of us will observe what global elites are planning in the areas of consumer-facing issues.
We will also host the second-ever Cannabis Conclave in Davos and expect another packed house!
The Conclave is a networking event that seeks to connect industry leaders, investors, and policymakers. The purpose of the event is to advance the legalization discussion internationally, for both medical and recreational cannabis.
As part of our 21Democracy project, we will host a dinner with leading policymakers, liberal business leaders, consumers, law enforcement, and civil rights activists who will be will be sharing ideas on how we can deploy our resources to combat Chinese Communist Party power and influence in liberal democracies and on consumer choice globally.
During our week in Davos we will also attend other events on brand freedom (especially important given recent moves by Israel and Denmark to boost the black market by banning branding of vaping products), trade, meet policymakers, and make consumer voices heard in the debate.
Let us know if you or any of your friends will be in Davos. We would love to connect at 2,000 meters high!
Our latest campaign is on drug transparency: We believe patients should have the right to know which drugs are available now and which ones will become available soon in their country. Therefore we started a media and social media campaign promoting this idea. You can read my piece in CapX here.
You might also like my thoughts on how we can bring down the cost structure of new life-saving drugs.
This week my colleague Bill will be at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin, Germany and see what’s in for consumers. The GFFA brings together leading voices in global agriculture. The CCC defends innovative agro-tech methods such as gene-editing, as means to improve the lives of consumers across the globe. You’ll be able to catch updates from Bill on our Instagram and Facebook stories. Bill also made it into Germany’s top daily newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, writing about lessons from the French Nutri Score labels.
Maria’s and my open letter to the EU Commission to give GMOs and gene editing a chance got picked up by The Scottish Farmer.
On February 3rd we will be co-hosting an event on the future of food in London, UK with our friends from the Genetic Literacy Project, Adam Smith Institute, and the British Conservation Alliance.
Our push for legal reform in the United States keeps gaining ground.
Last month Yaël got published in the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Daily News on the various ways lawmakers should reform the U.S. legal system.
As you can see, we are starting 2020 at full steam ahead, pushing for choice in the fields of Digital, Transportation, Consumer Goods, and Health & Science.
Stay tuned for our February updates and please keep supporting our work!
The holiday season is here!
But worry not – even though most of you may be surviving the glitzy office parties and shuffling your feet in the cold streets, we’re keeping the fire of consumer choice burning as 2019 winds down.
We at CCC are quite toasty, as we just returned from our annual staff retreat in Miami. We usually meet in various cafes in Brussels, but the warm weather and opportunity to protest at an NBA game was too precious – more on that later.
Here’s a break down of everything our team has been up to since our last message.
Yes indeed – earlier this year, the Consumer Choice Center launched a campaign to reform the tort law system in the United States. Why you may be asking?
It’s simple. Abuse in tort law has led to massive harm for consumers and citizens, resulting in bogus lawsuits and payouts that lead to higher costs to both taxpayers and consumers. It’s the United States of AMERICA, not the United States of LAWSUITS.
We believe there should be just as much focus on legal reform when it comes to tort law as criminal justice. Both are vital.
My colleague David Clement was published on this theme in the Journal Star, and I’ve had my share of articles in Houma Today and the Daily Comet in Louisiana, and we even praised comedian John Oliver for his embrace of legal reform.
On that same path, our science video on IARC has racked up a quarter of a million views thus far. Who knew there was such thirst for unmasking of the myriad of problems that come with an international agency colluding with lawyers and “science consultants” for big lawsuits?
You’ll find more at time4legalreform.org.
Hey, remember when we said California’s gig economy law would hurt contractors and consumers, the very people it was purported to help? It’s already happening. It seems California’s efforts are backfiring faster than we could predict.
And for another “told you so” moment, we’re now celebrating two years since the repeal of Net Neutrality. Remember how it was supposed to be doomsday? It turns out, the Internet is better than ever! Thankfully, your CCC was on the case.
My colleagues Fred Roder, Luca Bertoletti, and I were published in Politico EU with this message, as well as La Tribune in France. Europe needs smart policies if it wants to combat authoritarian regimes.
We know full well that authoritarian regimes have a negative impact on consumers and consumer choice. That’s why we must support liberal democracies like HONG KONG!
In usual provocative form, we joined our friends at Students For Liberty at the Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat basketball game donning FREE HONG KONG shirts and throwing out chants between baskets.
It’s no secret the NBA has been toeing the line on criticism of China, notably censoring or silencing players and coaches who support the Hong Kong protests. We Stand With Hong Kong, and so should everyone who believes in liberal democracies.
But what about Europe? Here is the Christmas presents for all of you who loves Innovation the consumer choice center is happy to announce that in collaboration with leading MEPs such as Gianna Gancia, Jan Zahradil, Massimiliano Salini, Patrizia Toia, and many others we put together a new group of MEPs named “IP, Innovation and Brands: The Future of Europe”. For the next 4 years, you can be sure we will work together to make sure Europe will have a great future.
We’re returning to the Swiss Alps, the same time as the World Economic Forum. We’ll host our Second Annual Cannabis Conclave high in the sky to fuel the debate over the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis globally. We’ve got A-list speakers and participants, and we’d love to have you there as well. Respond to this email if you’re interested in attending.
21Democracy will also host a private Davos dinner for chosen participants. Respond if you’d like to be there.
Exactly what else have we been following that’s been lost in the headlines? How about the free trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur.
There are untold benefits that would come from such a deal, and consumers on both continents would be winners. More info in this delectable infographic for your consumption.
And speaking of Europe, there’s a new Executive Vice President of the Commission in town, the familiar Frans Timmermans.
Our Fred Roeder penned an open letter to Timmermans earlier this month, calling for a climate policy that will help consumers.
Bill Wirtz is a writing machine and the hits keep on coming.
Catch you in the New Year,