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Organization: Vrije Consumenten Vereniging (Free Consumers Association)
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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Postal address of organization/institution

Schepenenplein 38
6224 VX  Maastricht

E-mail address of organization/institution


Website address of organization/institution


Telephone of organization/institution

0031 43 3635654

PRIORITIES: All of the organization's domains of culture of peace activity


TOP PRIORITY: The organization's most important culture of peace activity


PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

Partnership for Education and research about Responsible Living PERL (for consumereducation) - in cooperation with Consumers International and the UN Decade for Education in Sustainable Development 2005-2014. Consumer education will be introduced now by Consumers International worldwide.

Lots of networks by publishing, going to conferences, cooperating in working groups and new initiatives, membership of many different associations, etc etc.

ACTIONS: What activities have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the ten years of the Decade? If you already made a report in 2005, your information from 2005 will be included in the 2010 report.

In 2004 consumers and consumerorganizations came in a current of actions and publications. Worldwatch Institute published their State of the World about Consumerism. Now in 2010 again! These years also we could start working at last, after preparing our exspertise since the founding of the first ethical bank in 1980 in the Netherlands, the Triodos Bank that I switched to do research in consumer issues and consumer organizations.

PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the second half of the Decade?

The whole world stepped into the 21st century of maturity! Since we learned to think (Renaissance), to discuss in democratic ways (French Revolution) and to consume (20th century - shop till you drop...) we now are consumer/citizens with freedom but also responsibility! We are now co-creators and learn to grow further by trial and error. Lifelong learning! Now we can experience ourselves the words of Shakespeare: the whole world's a stage and every human being a merely player!

Annual report 2009

Consumers and their organizations were asking ever better and more critical questions, even including the financial aspects of their choices. Trade organizations and banks as translators of the economy became more and more aware of their responsibility in the whole process. Producers and service organizations, including governments and ngo's are in the middle of transforming towards holistic ways of research, product development and guarantees, involving nature and all stakeholders. Towards corporate governance, government governance and consumer governance, or in other words: all parties are playing their role in the worldeconomy more and more based on good governance!

The new standards for sustainable production and trade ISO / DIS 26000 were published this year and will be introduced in 2010. The fair trade organizations transformed their common goal into the new World Fair Trade Organization WFTO this year. Ethical banks decided to work together in the new group called Global Alliance for Banking on Values. Consumers International started introducing consumer education on schools worldwide.  

Free Consumers Association

Also our organization was fully involved in all these worldwide developments, although on a small catalizing scale of course. We were asked to give our comments and suggestions for the new ISO 26000 standards. We joined the discussions with World Fair Trade Organization and Consumers International about harmonizing sustainable hallmarks worldwide. And we presented our workshop about consumer governance at the conference of Consumer Citizen Network CCN for consumer education together with Consumers International and United Nations Decade of Education in Sustainable Development DESD 2005-2014. The CCN in which we are partners as well will continue as an advisory organization, now called Partnership in Education and Research about Responsible Living or PERL

The Free Consumers Association still works more like a foundation and as a small catalist organization. The whole information flow is managed by only one person, especially to indicate that every consumer can manage his/her own information 360 degrees! THAT was the initial question asked in 1980 at the start: how can i myself as an individual consumer become an overview and enough insight in the complex worldeconomy around me to work for what later would become a world wide slogan of the World Social Forum: "A better world is possible!" The one who triggered this research project was the Nobelprize winner for economics professor Paul Samuelson, writer of the most famous handbook for economy. He died this year at the age of 94 and will surely be very interested how the world goes on!

Our office is now in the beautiful south of the Netherlands, in Maastricht. The city where in 1992 at the Maastricht treaty the decision was taken to introduce a new coin: the Euro. Our activities in the years to come will be more and more international. Not only by writing and catalizing and lobbying, but also assisting in e-learning programmes. Parallel to that we will go on in developing our research and expertise together with others in the newly started Consumer360 Academy.

OBSTACLES: Has your organization faced any obstacles to implementing the culture of peace and nonviolence? If so, what were they?

There are no roads without obstacles ...

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization in the short, medium and long term to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence?

We will go on as a small catalist and lobby organization for consumer issues, helping innovative consumer organizations and active consumers. Cooperation with other organizations in developing e-learning programmes for consumer education in "consumer governance" and write a summary about it for Wikipedia to connect with consumers worldwide. We will go more and more international connecting to other consumer organizations and initiatives, give lectures and workshops.

GLOBAL MOVEMENT: How do you think the culture of peace and nonviolence could be strengthened and supported at the world level??

About the quality of life.
A consumers' vision

Why is every producer wrestling for stakeholder-value for stock-owners? Why is a consumer shopping and hopping to get lowest prices only? Because everybody is in a desperate fear for not having enough income. And in fact that is the reason why nobody is really interested in quality first! In quality of products and services, in the quality of the labour situation, of fair prices and so on, in sustainability, in quality of life!

But in fact our income is not an economical factor but a (human) right! In the same way as for instance two men, a sick woman and a little child on a Robinson Crusoe Island have to live of what those two man gather for food! In a globalized world we have to share our wealth in the same way among all people. Depending on what we need for our individual development: a reasonable income is a right! Thus between two dollars a day and ten million a year we've got yet a lot to discuss about what's reasonable. Haven't we? If we think about our big world-family as a creation or as a big bang (for dummies) doesn't matter. One way or another we have to deal with it in a way of 21st century (mature?) consumer/citizens should!

But the word itself contains the solution already: REASON-able ! In the same way all social systems are developed on the basis of reasons for what we really need we have to complete that puzzle also for the last group consumers among us who are producers as well for 40/168 part of the week ........... And that discussion is now in a current since two years. Everybody is now discussing about basic incomes and top salaries. But the puzzle is how we manage that whole spectrum in between? For that we need the word 'reasonable' to find reasonable solutions! I think. If those inter-human financial relations are better solved in the near future then only then everybody can really think about sustainability and quality in general. Not haunted anymore by values or prices alone!

Peter Daub

Published in december 2007 for the conference at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, which was a follow-up of the OECD conference "beyond GDP", discussing about how to work from wealth to welfare ...
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Organization: Vrije Consumenten Vereniging (Free Consumers Association)

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