Seldia Newsletter January 2014

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January 2014
Newsletter

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Eventful year for Europe and DS Industry

For the Direct Selling Industry, 2014 will be a particularly eventful year with new EU consumer legislation coming into force and with the European Union institutions being re-shuffled. 

A new cornerstone of EU law – the Consumer Rights Directive – will be in force as of 14 June and will for the first time harmonize and strengthen consumer rights of over 500 million consumers that are spread across the 28 Member states of the European Union. Seldia and its members have worked long on this piece of legislation as it directly affects contracts concluded outside fixed businesses premises and requires that DS companies adapt their order forms. For the industry it is a big step forward as it creates harmonized and transparent rules that will strengthen the relationship between the direct sellers, their customer base and new potential customers. 

Similarly, the new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) directive will come into force in 2015, but businesses will be adapting to it in 2014. This EU law will further strengthen the European Codes of Conduct of Direct Selling as Seldia and the member association’s code administrators will be formally recognized by the European Union as official ADR bodies. Consumers will have easier access to the industry’s redress mechanism and this will have an overall positive effect on the direct selling business. Seldia will also further deepen its relations with the European Consumer Centre Network, which are playing an increasingly important role.

In 2014 the European Commission will also revise directives that are key to the functioning of the DS industry. On one hand the EC will continue to pressure Member States to fully comply with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive – a key directive through which specific restrictions and bans on direct selling will be lifted. Similarly, the Misleading and Commercial Advertising directive, as well as the Commercial Agent’s directive are currently being looked into.

Both Europe and the U.S. will enter more in depth negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The deal is estimated to boost the EU’s economy by €120 billion, the US economy by €90 billion and the rest of the world by €100 billion. As the months progress, Seldia will continue to advocate the interests of the industry within this trade agreement. 

Finally, the EU Parliament elections and the new EU Commission and its new President will bring fresh faces and ideas to the EU capital. With a hopeful and positive outlook on economic recovery, all these developments point to a year of consolidation and further growth for both Europe and the Direct Selling Industry.

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EUROPEAN DIRECT SELLING

Seldia EP Event on Entrepreneurship Education
On 20 March 2014 Seldia is organizing a lunch debate in the European Parliament in the framework of its Women Entrepreneurship Platform. The event will for the first time be hosted by a man, namely Austrian MEP Dr. Paul Rübig. Paul Rübig has been a member of the European Parliament since 1996 and belongs to the European People’s Party (EPP). He is the owner of an Austrian blacksmith company and has a degree in Business administration, marketing and production engineering from the University of Linz, Upper Austria. Paul Rübig is very active in the field of the small-scale business promotion, regularly attends events in Austria on direct selling and is very familiar with the industry. He is president of SME Global, a working group of the International Democrat Union (IDU), whose objective it is to support SMEs and to improve their business environment. 

Seldia’s Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) initiative was called into life in early 2013 to promote entrepreneurship and more particularly female entrepreneurship on EU level. The WEP currently counts 21 official MEP supporters and 25 partner organisations. In the framework of this platform and together with Paul Rübig, Seldia will invite prominent speakers and discuss with stakeholders from the EU scene “the importance of entrepreneurship education”. 

The website of the WEP can be found here

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New Agreement between FVD and Pole Emploi

After the signing of a first successful agreement in September 2010, the French Direct Selling Association (FVD) and the national authority for employment centers “Pôle emploi” signed a new three-year agreement in December 18, 2013 on the occasion of the General Assembly of the FVD . This new agreement is in the spirit of “Pôle emploi 2015”, to promote new employment opportunities for thousands of people through promoting trades such as for example Direct Selling which may not yet be known by everyone. This agreement is a true recognition of the direct selling sector, whose dynamism in terms of recruitment and business development is well established in France.
In the agreement the French DSA commits to :
– Favor the recruitment of people who are the most affected by unemployment (people from 18 to 25 years old, people over 50, people without a diploma , women and people with disabilities);
– Participate to job fairs to promote direct selling opportunities towards the unemployed and people in retraining.
– To provide to its member companies’ sales force appropriate and sustainable support

“Pole Emploi” commits to:
– Inform job seekers about job opportunities offered by the Direct Selling industry ;
– Encourage its Regional Directorates to develop a partnership with local correspondents of the French DSA ;
– Promote the profile of job seekers who are interested in direct selling towards member companies of the French DSA

Furthermore, on 17 December the French DSA a trophy for excellence in “managerial action” from Pierre Gattaz, president of the MEDEF (the largest union of employers in France). The prize rewards businesses of less than 500 employees which are members of the MEDEF. The French DSA received the prize “Network” for its “Direct Selling Academy” which consists of distance learning tools for distributors. 

Website of the French DSA

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AVEDISCO membership grows

With the beginning of the new year, AVEDISCO, the Italian Direct Selling Association increased its corporate membership through the acquisition of three new member companies: 4Life Research Italy Srl, Evergreen Life and Xango Products Italy Srl. “We are proud to have these companies as members, it is another milestone for our association, which is the reference point for companies that operate in the direct selling industry for over forty years – Said Giovanni Paolino, president of AVEDISCO.Website of AVEDISCO

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Danish DSA launches new website

Recently elected Chairman of the Danish DSA Ms. Mette Henius has re-launched the website of the association. The webpage is going to be further developed in the next couple of month and will include videos, articles and surveys.
Furthermore, the three Scandinavian DSA’s have each launched a new DSA logo. Their logos have the same look and feel, each with their own national colors and local name. The new logos reflect a timeless design and are a result of one of the common projects within the three DSAs.

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New Seldia Supplier Member: 
Hyväheimo AB

Hyväheimo AB helps Direct Selling companies to expand in Europe and to build positive corporate cultures. Full market opening services, events management, training and with a specialty in high performance coaching and career mentoring. Personal development is not only for the sales force – Hyväheimo can help to bring out the best in direct selling managers at all levels and develop young, ambitious talent to really shine in your organisation. Website of Hyväheimo

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New Seldia Supplier Member: DB Schenker

DB Schenker, a world leading provider of logistics services, has a specific focus on the direct selling industry. DB Schenker understands the specific needs of the industry and has customized EMEA & Russia wide solutions to manage your complete logistics operations. With warehouses throughout Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Kenya and Nigeria, with existing direct selling business cases they offer: Warehousing services, Fulfillment services, Co-packing / manufacturing, Parcel carrier management, Local sourcing.

With great commitment DB Schenker will help you manage your supply chain smoothly, cost efficiently and against the best industry standards.Website of DB Schenker

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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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EU AT A GLANCE

Greek Presidency official inauguration in Athens

On 8 January 2014, the official inauguration of the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first semester of 2014, took place in Athens. The President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias as well as Prime Minister Samaras and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos welcomed both President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. Amongst the Greek Presidency priorities announced, there are measures to boost growth, jobs and social cohesion and tackling the crisis in the eurozone, completing the new EMU architecture, measures to control immigration flows and finally, promoting marine and maritime activities in a sustainable way in order to boost the EU economy.

To read more about the Greek Presidency priorities, please click here

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EU Parliament adopts Consumer Programme

On 14 January the European Parliament  formally adopted the EU’s Consumer Programme 2014-2020 by a large majority. The programme focuses on the funding of actions in four different categories:

  • Monitoring and enforcing safety through EU-wide systems such as RAPEX, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products;
  • Information and education initiatives to make consumers, particularly young consumers, aware of their rights. One example is the Consumer Markets Scoreboard which maps out the markets that fail consumers in Europe;
  • Enhancing consumer rights, for example the Consumer Credit Directive ensures that consumers across Europe enjoy a common set of core rights. It also includes the electronic translation tool of the online dispute resolution platform. This will help consumers resolve online cross-border disputes with traders in other Member States where there are linguistic barriers.
  • Enforcement action through ‘sweeps’ operations, which are co-ordinated by the European Commission to see where consumer rights are being compromised or denied.

For more information on the Consumer Programme 2014-2020, please click here

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Possible revision of Commercial Agent’s Directive
The European Commission is currently assessing the need for a review of Directive 86/653/EEC on the coordination of the laws of the Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents. This Directive sets down rights and obligations between self-employed commercial agents and their principle, including provisions on issues like remuneration and terms of termination of contract.

This directive is important to direct selling because many of the 4.5 million direct sellers in the European Union have the status of commercial agent. EuroCommerce, the umbrella organisation for the distribution sector recently met with the responsible European Commission services, who said that all options are open, from not changing the directive, amending it, to a complete repeal of the directive.  EuroCommerce has established a small expert group, of which Seldia has become a member, to provide the European Commission with data and a position.  

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Additional six months for SEPA migration
On 9 January 2014, the European Commission published a proposal introducing an extra transition period of six months during which payments which differ from the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) format can still be accepted in order to guarantee minimal disruption for consumers and businesses. According to EU Regulation 260/2012 (SEPA Regulation) all Businesses active in the Eurozone are required to migrate to the SEPA payments system this year. The initial deadline was set at 1 February 2014. However, due to an unsatisfactory level of migration, the EU Commission has decided to propose a regulation that extends the deadline by another six months. The proposal is very likely to be adopted. 

To access more information about the SEPA, please click here

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Latvia introduces the Euro

Latvia replaced its previous currency, the lats, with the euro on 1 January 2014, after a European Union (EU) assessment in June 2013 asserted that the country had met all convergence criteria necessary for euro adoption. The adoption process began 1 May 2004, when Latvia joined the European Union, entering the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union.Many Latvians opposed the introduction of the new currency and over 80 percent believe that the euro will lead to higher prices, according to a separate study by the European Commission.

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EP report on social protection for Self-Employed
Following the vote on 16 January, the European Parliament published the full text of its new report on social protection for self-employed workers.

For the report please click here

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EP report on UCPD
IMCO adopted on 17 December its implementation report on Directive 2005/29/EC concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices (UCPD), concluding that it needs to be better applied rather than revised. The report calls on the Member States to apply the rules properly in order to protect consumers from misleading advertising or aggressive marketing, insists that adequate penalties should be imposed on companies, and requests that the guidance document is updated regularly by the Commission in order to reflect new practices appearing on the market.

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Eurostat publications

Eurostat: Unemployment

Eurostat published on 8 January 2014 the EU and euro area unemployment rates for November 2013. The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.1% in November 2013, stable since April. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.9%, stable since May. In both zones, the rates increased compared with November 2012.
To access this publication, please click here.

Eurostat: Retail trade
On 8 January 2014 Eurostat published that both the EU28 and the Euro Area volumes of retail trade went up by 1.2% and 1.4% respectively in November 2013.
To access this publication, please click here.

Eurostat: Inflation
On 7 January 2014, Eurostat stated that the Euro area annual inflation was expected to be 0.8% in December 2013, down from 0.9% in November, according to a flash estimate.
To access this publication, please click here

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EVENTS

An Introduction to Direct Selling – UK DSA
13 March 2014, London (more information)
European Consumer Centre-Net Evening

18 February 2014, Brussels
EU Parliament Event on Entrepreneurship Education
20 March 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
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      

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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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