Seldia Newsletter February 2014

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February 2014
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Entrepreneurship Education in the EU

Women entrepreneurship is the largest unexploited source of economic growth and yet it is being neglected and sidelined. There is an urgent and real need to encourage women entrepreneurship both at governmental levels, with educational programmes and straightforward access to support mechanisms and at a societal level, with the need to boost entrepreneurial culture and make entrepreneurship an attractive, sound business option for women. 

Women currently only makeup 30% of all European entrepreneurs and supporting entrepreneurship goes beyond access to finance and will to succeed. It also embraces developing and boosting entrepreneurial spirit and skills. Thus, education and training are vital for changing cultures and igniting entrepreneurial mindsets since youngest age. Entrepreneurship education should be proposed to young girls through school curricula and at an early stage. Since March 2012 Seldia has been actively involved at EU level by promoting different facets of women entrepreneurship. With 80% of the 4.8 million direct sellers in the EU being women, the Direct Selling industry has been recognized as being at the forefront when it comes to promoting entrepreneurship amongst policymakers.  

At the latest Seldia EU Parliament event on 25 September 2013, keynote speaker EU Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding highlighted that: “Entrepreneurship Education is the very key on how to succeed. It must be a gradual approach on how we change old-fashioned societal values. Intensifying our efforts in Entrepreneurship education will naturally lead to more women entrepreneurs.”

On 20 March Seldia is organizing the next luncheon debate in the European Parliament on the importance of Entrepreneurship Education for Women Entrepreneurs. The event will be hosted by Member of the European Parliament Dr. Paul Ruebig, who himself is closely involved both in the Direct Selling industry and recently published a book on women entrepreneurship. The event will feature several speakers, amongst them WfDSA Executive Director Tamuna Gabilaia who will highlight best practices from the Direct Selling industry in the United States and around the world.

Seldia members will receive invitations by e-mail. If you are not a Seldia member please contact seldia@seldia.eu to receive more information to this event. It is as always free of charge and open to all interested persons.

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INDUSTRY NEWS


SELDIA CEO’s Council meets in Amsterdam
The Seldia European CEO Council met on 18 February in the stunning offices of ACN Europe in Amsterdam. With 15 European CEO’s of Seldia Corporate Members present, the meeting allowed participants to network and discuss on direct selling trends in Europe.  During the meeting the Seldia Action Plan was endorsed and the CEO’s encouraged the association to continue with its lobbying policy in promoting direct selling and defend its interests at EU level.The next European CEO Council meeting will take place in March 2015 in Munich.

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French DSA Professional Qualifications Video

In 2013 the French DSA (FVD – Fédération de la Vente Directe) created and issued a professional qualifications programme targeted at direct sellers and managers from its member companies. These professional qualifications allow for better recognition of Direct Selling ethics, jobs and skills in France. 

The FVD has now created a promotional video on these professional qualifications. Several candidates from different member companies explain their interest and desire to get a professional qualification in Direct Selling through the FVD. The association organized the first exam sessions in October and November last at CPRO Stephenson in Paris, a  Centre renowned for training apprentices in commercial business lines.

To see the video click here
Website of the FVD

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UK DSA Event: Introduction to Direct Selling
The UK DSA is organizing an event aimed at professionals that want to launch a Direct Sales Business in the UK or are planning to expand their existing operations. The event features a panel of renowned long standing Direct Sales experts and will take place in London on 13 March. 

For more information or to register to the event click here

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Support the Polish DSA in collecting signatures
If you are involved with Direct Selling in Poland or are simply based in Poland and you are a friend of Direct Selling, then we urge you to support the Polish Direct Selling Association with their project on a Civic Legislative Initiative for the establishment of 17 October to become the Polish National Day of Direct Selling.

For more information and to support this initiative click here

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Infringement procedure against Austria

Seldia has recently learned that the European Commission has initiated a formal infringement procedure on Austria’s non-compliance with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD). in November 2011 Seldia filed a complaint with the EU Commission on Austria’s ban on direct selling of cosmetics products. The infringement in now in course, mainly due to Austria’s unwillingness to lift the ban, which is in breach with the UCPD. The full harmonization nature of this EU directive makes it illegal for EU member states to ban or restrict direct selling. The primary goal of the infringement proceedings is not to reach the Court or sanction the State, but rather to give the Member State concerned an opportunity either to justify its position or, if it so wishes, to comply of its own accord with the requirements of the Treaty. The formal infringement procedure is one of the cornerstones of the mechanism which enables the Union to guarantee that the common rules set by EU law are respected by the Member States. In this respect, it indeed reflects the specificity of the Union’s legal system enabling the Union interests enshrined in the Treaty to prevail over the inertia and resistance of Member States, and ensure that obligations of States are fulfilled. The infringement procedure against Austria on its non compliance with the UCPD is likely to become a lengthy process, however, a very important step in the right direction has finally been made. 

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WFDSA World Congress 2014 in Brazil
The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) has chosen Brazil to be the host of the 14th World Congress, entitled “Direct Selling: The Original Social Network”.

Brazil is well known for both its friendly, open and extremely diverse people, and peaceful and creative coexistence of different ethnicities and cultures. The conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro between November 10th and 12th, 2014.

In the 14th WFDSA World Congress the following topics will be discussed:

  • New Technologies
  • Quality of relationships
  • Entrepreneurs and the new labor
  • Industry’s Advocacy
  • New markets, new opportunities
Registration will open on 1 February. Early Bird rates available only to companies associated to at least one Direct Selling Association affiliated to the WFDSA.Website of the World Congress XIV

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Did you know that…

Seldia was precursor in the area of self-regulation ?  In 1982, Seldia (then called FEDSA) published the “Principles of Conduct for direct selling businesses in Europe”, a text which would be the basis for the European Codes of Conduct of Direct Selling which were launched at the Forum for Self Regulation in Brussels in 1995 and with the official endorsement of the European Commission.

The European Code’s of Conduct set out the highest standards of ethics for direct selling companies that are members of the 27 national member DSAs of Seldia. The Code is a result of the direct selling industry’s commitment to ethical business and consumer protection practices, as well as its determination to ensure equal and consistent codes throughout the European Union.

Members of Seldia, representing directly and indirectly around 80% of the EU Direct Selling market, are obliged to adopt the standards of the European Code in their national codes. Companies that are member of a Seldia member association, are bound by the European Code throughout the European Union, independent of whether they are a member of a local DSA in other EU markets.

For more information click here

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EU AT A GLANCE

European Parliament Elections Forecast 

On 19 February EU polling institute “Pollwatch” held opinion polls on the upcoming European Parliament elections. Surprisingly the results turned out to favour the European Social Democrats group. If accurate, it would be a stunning defeat for the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), which has dominated the last four legislatures and currently has a 274 to 194 seat advantage over the Socialists. Recent political developments in the six largest EU Member States also point towards stronger support for the social democrat camp. Italy’s new centre-left led government will influence the opinion polls, while the polling in the UK already is pointing towards a victory for the opposition Labour party.

Pollwatch has assessed that while the Social Democrats group may be in the run for a surprise victory, their number of seats in the EU Parliament will not increase by much. One major and troubling reason is a general rise in Eurosceptic right-wing parties to nearly 100 seats, which has raised serious concerns that the Parliament may find it difficult to pass new legislation. Pollwatch calculated that the EPP, Socialists and Liberal (ALDE) groups strength will fall from its current 72 percent level down to 65. For Brussels and Europe this is not good news. These new Eurosceptic right wing MEPs will come at the cost of those formerly with liberal ALDE group and may then even take over the role of the so-called “swing vote” – either siding with the EPP or the S&D on critical dossiers.

However, with around 90 days to go, the outcome of the vote is too close to call this far from the elections. For more information on when the different national elections are taking place and by when you have to register, click on the infographic below.

For more interesting information on the EU elections we recommend the following website: www.elections2014.eu

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Seldia attends ECC-Net Event 2014
On 19 February Seldia attended the yearly event that brings together the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) representatives. Taking place in Brussels, it allowed for EU policy makers from the EU Parliament, the Commission as well as business representatives to take stock of this organisation’s activities and to network. At the event, the Commission reported that the ECC-Net dealt with over 80,000 enquiries in 2013 from citizens across Europe. EU Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimica described this as a “valuable contribution to the Single Market which benefits people who need it most”.

Around a third of all complaints concerned the transport sector. The largest hare concerned air transport (18.3%); however car rental is attracting an ever increasing number of complaints. The other top complaints received by the ECCs related to household equipment, problems related to the purchase of tickets for sporting and cultural events and time-share. Just over 15% of the problems registered concerned the non-delivery of the purchased product or service and another 12% of the complaints cited defects in their purchase. 

Seldia regularly visits the national ECC-Net offices when travelling abroad. They are useful contacts as they are able to provide valuable information on cross border consumer protection issues. In the Czech Republic for example, the Czech ECC-Net communicated that in 2012 they received a total of 429 complaints, out of which only 10 complaints concerned doorstep selling or off-premises sales.

Background
The ECC-Net is a European network giving European citizens consumer advice in cross-border problems, for example while travelling in another country or e-shopping. The ECC-Net covers 30 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland), consumers residing in one of these countries and shopping in another one can benefit from their services free of charge. The ECC-Net is co-funded by the EU Consumer Programme and by national authorities.
For more information on ECC-Net click here

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EU Parliament adopts report on UCPD

On 4 February Seldia welcomed the adoption by the EU Parliament of its Own-Initiative Report on the implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. Seldia congratulated the rapporteur, French MEP Robert Rochefort on a very good report which highlights some of the key challenges that the directive is currently facing. The transposition of the Directive has not been an easy and smooth process and there are still serious problems as regards the proper implementation and enforcement across the EU. The EU Parliament correctly highlights these shortcomings and encourages the EU Commission and national authorities to now focus on correct implementation and proper enforcement. 

   
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Hungarian retail tax ruled as discriminatory

On 5 February, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling in the national case of ‘Hervis’ against ‘Hungary’ about the ‘Hungarian legislation on the special retail tax’. The Hungarian Court had posed a question about the alleged discriminatory nature of the tax to the ECJ. The ECJ says in its judgment the tax indeed has a discriminative element: companies interlinked in an international group pay more taxes than local companies. The Hungarian Court will now continue the case with the preliminary ruling of the ECJ and will have to work out the case now. Retail companies that claim to have suffered damages and seek redress can await the final judgment of the Hungarian court, but in any case they have to start an own legal procedure in Hungary to get redress.

For the ECJ preliminary ruling click here

   
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EC launches consultations on fragrance allergens
The European Commission launches consultations on fragrance allergens, which will run from 13.2.2014 until 14.5.2014. Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 on cosmetic products (‘Cosmetics Regulation’) provides that perfume, aromatic compositions and their raw materials shall be referred to in the list of ingredients on the packaging as ‘parfum’ or ‘aroma’. However, 26 fragrance allergens listed in Annex III of the Cosmetics Regulation shall be mentioned in the list of ingredients in addition to the term ‘parfum’ or ‘aroma’, if their concentration exceeds 0.001% in leave-on products and 0.01% in rinse-off products. Moreover, Annex II lists substances which are prohibited in cosmetic products, including some fragrance allergens. Any interested parties, including authorities of the Member States, manufacturers of cosmetic products, producers of the substances concerned and relevant industry and consumers associations can take part in this public consultation.

For more information please click here

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EVENTS

An Introduction to Direct Selling – UK DSA
13 March 2014, London (more information)
EU Parliament Event on Entrepreneurship Education
20 March 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)

DSN Global – The Growth Conference

23-24 April 2014, Grapevine Texas (more information)
UK DSA Annual Conference

15 May 2014

Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling

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

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Troy Dooly is recognized internationally as an influencer in the areas of personal branding, leadership development, marketing campaigns, organizational expansion, and corporate launch strategies. Dooly is a speaker, results coach, and radio host. He is a founding member, show host (Beachside CEO) and News Director of the Home Business Radio Network. He is a founding member, and currently serves on the Board of the Association of Network Marketing Professionals