Seldia Newsletter April 2014

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You are subscribed to the European Direct Selling Association’s Newsletter

April 2014
Newsletter

Check our website!

For continuing news on
direct selling, please visit us at:
www.seldia.eu

 

The European Direct Selling Conference

Today Seldia launched the website of its 4th consecutive Annual Industry Event – the European Direct Selling Conference. After last year’s successful event, Seldia decided to further build on the format by increasing the number of breakout sessions, exhibition spots and awards categories. The new conference format comes with a new logo that is easily associated with Seldia and its Members:
The conference will take place in Brussels on 2 October 2014 and the Seldia Astra Awards Gala Dinner will take place on the evening of 1 October. As always, early bird registration will ensure you reduced fees. The registration page is already available on the new website. 

The conference has already a confirmed set of exceptional speakers. Amongst them Alessandro Carlucci, Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations and CEO of Natura is our key note speaker. Alongside Carlucci, three further CEO’s have signed up to participate in this year’s CEO panel, Peter Strydom from Amway, Martin Koehler from PartyLite and Chris Fenna from The Pampered Chef. 


On the new website you will also find information on the different sponsorship opportunities. There is no better way to brand your company than to associate it to this flagship event of the industry.

Please note that parts of the website are still under construction. You will be informed on updates in due course.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

World Federation Ethics Committee meets in Paris

The French DSA (FVD) hosted the World Federation of Direct Selling Association’s (WfDSA) Ethics Committee in Paris on April 16, 2014. Philippe Jacquelinet, Chairman and Jacques Cosnefroy, General Secretary of French DSA welcomed Joe Mariano and Adolfo Franco from the US DSA, Tamuna Gabilaia from WFDSA, Maurits Bruggink from Seldia and Ray Patrick from Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd. of Canada. The meeting resulted in valuable and constructive exchanges and provided all the participants with greater knowledge of the various projects implemented in favor of the design of Direct Selling in the future. Among other tasks, the Committee discussed about a new global ethics and integrity benchmarks tool and the revisions of the Code and explanatory provisions.

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EuroCommerce approves Herbalife membership

The General Assembly of EuroCommerce, the Brussels-based EU federation representing the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe, unanimously accepted Herbalife as a new company member on the 1st April 2014. This is great news, as Seldia is already an affiliated federation of EuroCommerce and together with Herbalife the direct selling industry will be even more strongly represented.

EuroCommerce website

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Dear Marianna, what is typical about direct selling in Greece?
We have to think out of the box, today more than ever before. Traditional direct selling methods for recruiting new members seem not to be so effective any more, with people to be very reluctant even to hear what you have to offer to them. We have to think of new, initiative ideas to approach people and make them trust direct selling.

Greece was one of the countries hit hardest by the World Financial crisis. What has the effects been of this crisis on the Direct Selling industry?
The competition is very strong. A lot of direct selling companies appeared and look at the Greek market as the ideal ground to flourish their business. Unfortunately, some of these companies do not work legally and they use questionable practices that damage the name of Direct Selling. Also, the retail stores do very competitive offers , similar to the ones that usually Direct Selling companies use, making even stronger the competition “arena”.

When Seldia visited Athens and the Hellenic DSA in December 2013, we spoke about the “hot issue” – social security. What is the current status and what are your expectations on this issue?
We are still in contact with the Greek authorities, as this is a very difficult time consuming issue to solve and come up with a common decision, given that the current framework is not clear. What we believe is logical and have also proposed to authorities, is our Representatives to pay fees for social security, when their earnings exceed a certain amount annually. Our expectations are that finally through many and hard negotiations we will be able to convince the Greek authorities about the rationality of our arguments, so to have a decision that will permit the future operation of Direct Selling companies.

The Hellenic DSA won the Best DSA Award at the last Seldia Annual Conference due to its resilience during the crisis. What is your vision for the DSA for the coming years?
Although the difficulties we face, Direct Selling business has a very dynamic future in Greece. We are a very strong Association and thanks to all Members’ cooperation and support , we believe that we will manage to make Direct Selling to grow further. And I say “grow” I mean not only to increase our representatives but also to increase our customer basis, as we offer not only a great earning opportunity, but also a high quality range of products. We have to follow an extrovert strategy to the public, so the consumers to know and trust even more Direct Selling. The new Facebook page we are going to launch in the next month will help us on this direction. To increase our credibility and to have an open relation with our target audiences. We are going to bulid more on our public image in the next 2 years and also, we would like to increase our members and “clean” the direct selling business from the not reliable companies. We are a very strong team, very dynamic and I would like to seize this moment to thank HDSA members for their help.
Thank you for the interview Marianna. 

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The Changing Face of Direct Selling
A guest contribution by Lynda Mills, Director of the Direct Selling Association, UK & IrelandAt the UK DSA we have seen a huge number of changes across the industry in recent years, both in terms of the perception of the industry and people involved. With a fresh wave of new products, companies and demographics, it’s a very exciting time to be involved in direct selling. With continued growth, we wanted to showcase the aspects of our industry that reflect the innovation present throughout direct selling in the UK.

New products
As our member companies have continued to grow, they have been able to expand their range of products and provide unrivalled choice for consumers. With our wellness companies enjoying particular growth, the sector has recognised the nation’s desire to get healthy and responded with a fantastic solution for buying health and wellness products. We’ve also seen a significant rise in the number of products in the health and beauty sector aimed at men in response to the growing number of men getting involved in direct selling.

New companies
We are seeing so much entrepreneurialism with new companies entering the direct selling market. New companies are increasingly looking at the direct selling as a way to go to market. A great example of this is Little Trove, which specialise in fair trade craft and homeware products. With direct selling now being recognised as an alternative channel of retailing and distribution, it is wonderful that new businesses are looking to join us as a member companies.

New demographics
Despite our traditional demographic of working mums still rising, new demographics such as students, couples and over 50s have seen a surge in recruitment recently; bringing vibrancy and variation to our industry. Direct selling continues to be the largest provider of part time work in the UK, and it is great to see how people are really taking the opportunity to make

direct selling work for them.  Website of the UK DSA
Website of the Irish DSA

To learn more about the UK market make sure you register and attend the UK DSA Annual Conference taking place on 15 May at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire.

UK DSA Annual Conference Website

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FVD Event at Université Paris-Est Créteil 
On 2 and 4 April 2014 the French DSA (FVD) organized the 2nd edition of its European Conference on Innovation and Trade with Université Paris-Est Créteil. The event focused on today’s consumer buying behavior, which tends to become more and more cross-channel where consumers frequently switch among the different retail channels of e-commerce, brick and mortar shops and direct selling. While consumers increasingly make use of the internet, studies have shown that the person to person consultation occurring in direct selling remains indispensable. 

The event was attended by 150 participants from the Direct Selling industry, amongst them several European CEO’s acting as panelists and by university students and other interestees. Director General of the FVD, Jacques Cosnefroy handed a student the award for best study. 

The event was organized in partnership particularly with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, ADETEM (French association of marketing professionals), the Agency for Employment of Managers (APEC), the French Association Customer Relationship Management (AFRC), the National Foundation for Teaching Business Management (FNEGE) and the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA).

French DSA (FVD) Website
For more photos of the event click here
For a video report on the Event (in French) click here

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Polish DSA (PSSB) News
On 31 March 2014 the Director General of the Polish DSA (PSSB) Miroslaw Lubon made a presentation on “Direct Sales Today” at the University of Economics in Poznan, under the frame work of the the program “Each of the Economy” where dozens of students particiapted. The PSSB works with the University of Poznan since 2009 And regularly intervenes in open lectures. 

Polish DSA PSSB Website

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European Court of Justice rules on Pyramids case
Seldia welcomes the ruling of the European Court of Justice of 3 April in which the court rules on the clarification of the European Union law on Pyramid schemes. The concerned clause is part of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive Black list of commercial practices which are deemed illegal in any circumstances. The ECJ clarifies in its judgment that a pyramid scheme needs to fulfill three conditions to be identified as one: 1. It is based on the promise that the consumer will have the opportunity of making a commercial profit; 2. The realisation of that promise depends on the introduction of other consumers into the scheme – a Pyramid scheme only exists when there exists a link between the consideration by new members and the compensation to existing members. 3. The greater part of the revenue to fund the compensation promised to consumers does not result from a real economic activity. 

This clause came into force in 2007 after Seldia (formerly FEDSA) worked with the European Commission on including it in the black list. Seldia is continuously committed in fighting pyramid schemes.

For the ECJ Judgment click here


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SELDIA selected to participate in TiSA Study
Seldia has been selected as one of the stakeholders that will contribute and participate to the Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment on the international Trade in services Agreement (TiSA). The independent consultancy team working on the report informs stakeholders about TiSA and its impact by disseminating  study results, while stakeholders in turn provide important input into the process and feedback on the results. The interaction between international and local experts, NGOs, business, national government officials, EU-officials and other stakeholders will lead to a two-way exchange of information.

For Seldia and the Direct Selling Industry, TiSA is an important trade agreement through which improved conditions for direct selling are to be advocated. One of the aims is to have the industry as such be recognized in this agreement, this would provide for a standard reference for all countries involved in TiSA and would become a benchmark for recognizing direct selling.

For the draft inception report please click here

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Registration Open – WFDSA World Congress 2014 
The registration page for the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) World Congress in Brazil is now open. It will take place in Rio de Janeiro Brazil from 10-12 November 2014 and the topic of the 14th World Congress is: “Direct Selling: The Original Social Network”.

Website of the World Congress XIV

EU AT A GLANCE

– – – – – European Elections at our Doorstep – – – – – –

The European Elections are now before our doorstep and in many countries these elections are happening at the same time as local elections. On 22-25 May citizens of the EU’s 28 Member States will vote and elect the 751 Members of the European Parliament that will ultimately come to represent 500 million European citizens. What sceptics portray as a mere “protest vote” – the European elections end up producing a fairly balanced EU Parliament with the two main party groups the Social Democrats and the Conservatives making up almost half of the MEPs. Considering these projections it is fairly evident that European elections are taken very seriously by most Europeans.

The current projections indicate that the European People’s Party is at the helm with 28.36% of the vote, followed by the Social Democrats with 27.83%. This will result in a very close race and will remain an exciting race until the end. 

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TV debates with Commission President candidates
In an effort to raise the profile of the European elections and boost voter turnout, the European political parties have organised a series of televised debates for their respective Commission President candidates in the lead-up to the elections in May. The first of these debates took place last week live on French television when the EPP candidate, Jean-Claude Junker went head-to-head with the leader of the Socialists, Martin Schulz.

The next debate, which will be between all of the candidates, will be held on 28 April in Maastricht, broadcasted live by Euronews and available in 13 languages. Following this there are a number of other debates foreseen – one held in the Parliament between all candidates on 15 May, hosted by the European Broadcasting Union, and two in German between Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz on 8 and 20 May.

For the video and an analysis of the first debate please click here
   

 

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MEPs call for stricter product safety standards

On 15 April, the last Plenary Session before the elections, the European Parliament adopted its position at first reading on the new Product Safety Package, which consists of two Regulations on Consumer Product Safety and Market Surveillance. The aim is for MEPs to conclude negotiations with the EU Member States on the final text of the laws later this year.

The purpose of the proposals is to ensure consumer protection by preventing unsafe products from entering the EU market, and to put in place an enhanced system for monitoring the market and recalling unsafe products. The Consumer Product Safety Regulation will apply only to products not already covered by specific sectoral legislation. Today’s vote saw MEPs largely endorse the reports on the legislation as adopted by the Internal Market Committee earlier this year, including mandatory country-of-origin marking for products (a major point of contention for many of EU’s national governments). However, the Parliament scrapped a proposed article which would have introduced a voluntary “EU Safety Tested” standard for products sold in Europe.

Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the final text of the two laws have been on-going for some months. The talks are expected to continue after the European elections and a final agreement could be found by the third quarter of 2014, allowing for the Regulations to be formally adopted by the end of the year. They are due to enter into force in 2015.

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Data Protection Update
The article 29 working party, which brings together the EU’s national data protection authorities, has published a letter to Vice-President Viviane Reding on the actions set out by the European Commission in order to restore trust in data flows between the EU and the US”. The article 29 working party has also issued a new opinion on the “notion of legitimate interests of the data controller” under the 1995 Data Protection Directive. This opinion concerns aspects of the draft Data Protection Regulation still under discussion and could therefore further inform the legislative debate.

For the letter please click here
For the opinion on data controllers please click here

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EU Justice and Home Affairs Agenda 2020

The Commission has released its communication “The EU Justice Agenda for 2020 – Strengthening Trust, Mobility and Growth within the Union”. The document provides a short overview of what has been achieved and how future challenges will be addressed. The Commission proposes that the future EU justice and home affairs policy should be based on consolidating what has been achieved, codifying EU law and practice where necessary and complementing the existing framework with new initiatives. Specifically referring to “confident consumers”, the communication highlights cross-border online sales as an example.  Businesses and consumers need to be confident that they will be able to effectively enforce contracts and handle litigation in court, or where possible out of court, within a reasonable timeframe and without encountering the variety of barriers that they still confront today. The importance of data protection was also stressed, particularly due to the concern of consumers of the large-scale processing or surveillance of their personal data when using online services. This will be discussed with the Parliament and Council in June, following the elections.For the EC memo please click here

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EP study analyzes cost of Non-Europe in 2014-19
As a contribution to the growing discussion about the EU’s policy priorities for the coming five-year institutional cycle, the Parliamentary Research Service has published the report “Mapping the Cost of Non-Europe, 2014-19”. The report offers estimates of the possible economic gains resulting from the European integration and cooperation – whether from additional GDP generated or from a more rational allocation of public resources. These gains (800 billion euros, or approximately 6% of EU’s GDP) could help significantly boost the European economy over time.The report stresses that the digital single market is still very fragmented and incomplete, and that there is a clear need to update EU single market rules for the digital era focusing on removing barriers. There are too many barriers that still block the free flow of goods and online services across national borders, including e-privacy, consumer protection and dispute resolution, data protection, e-payments, and VAT payments. Half of the potential gains should be achievable in coming years, the report concludes.

For the report please click here
   

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ECC-Net Kehl Annual Report 2013 

The European Consumer Centre in Kehl CEC-EVZ is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has just published its Annual Report for 2013. The Consumer Centre in Kehl is a joint German-French project which aims at cross-border consumer protection and focuses on German and French consumers. The centre is a member of the European Commission’s European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net).In 2013 the Consumer Centre recorded more than 66,000 inquiries and treated more than 10,000 European cross-border complaints of which 74 % were resolved amicably. The Centre also conducted specific projects, such as an information campaign on “the protection of personal data of consumers in the European Union ” or the Franco-German project dedicated to young “Young consumers in the Upper Rhine.” The centre has also been successful in developing the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services for e-commerce and has become an indispensable partner of the European institutions that regularly use its experience and its analysis.

For the 2013 Annual Report of ECC-Net Kehl please click here
   

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Problems faced by Retail Trade in Italy and Europe
Italian Member of the European Parliament Mara Bizzotto has initiated a motion for resolution where she asks the European Commission to review this year the situation in the retail market for both Italy and Europe as a whole. This comes as a response to the 2010 the Commission publication of its retail market and distribution sector monitoring report. The report concluded that there are at least 20 problems which undermine the smooth functioning of the retail sector, including rules on establishment, issues related to accessibility for consumers, unfair practices between undertakings and problems associated with the employment of the workforce. Additionally in Italy, sectoral associations are now complaining about new additional difficulties, such as increased taxes and administrative costs.

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Plastic Bags: EU Parliament fights to limit their use

On 16 April at the EU Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg MEPs voted to significantly strengthen draft EU rules aimed at reducing plastic bag use and waste, notably to include obligatory European reduction targets and a requirement that plastic bags come at a cost. The report of Danish Green MEP Margrete Auken was approved by 539 votes to 51, with 72 abstentions.EU countries would have to reduce the use of the most common and most polluting plastic bags by at at least 80% by 2019, under draft rules backed by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs recommend using taxes and levies, marketing restrictions or bans. Plastic carrier bag litter is a major environmental problem, known to pollute water bodies and aquatic eco-systems in particular. Member states would have to at least halve their consumption by 2017 and reduce it by 80% two years later – compared to 2010 figures. They should use measures such as taxes, levies, marketing restrictions or bans to stop shops from giving out plastic bags for free, except for very light ones, used to wrap loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy products. Parliament voted at first reading to ensure that the work done during this mandate can be taken up by the new Parliament and used as a basis for further negotiations with EU member states.

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EVENTS

French DSA (FVD) Annual Conference
13-14 May 2014, Disneyland Paris
UK DSA Annual Conference

15 May 2014, Northamptonshire (more information)

Seldia Board and Committee Meetings
27 & 28 May 2014, Stockholm
The European Direct Selling Conference

2 October 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
WfDSA World Congress XIV
10-12 November 2014, Rio de Janeiro To top      

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