Seldia Newsletter June 2013

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June 2013
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Seldia visits Lithuanian EU Presidency

On 5 and 6 June 2013 a Seldia delegation visited Vilnius, the capital of the Republic of Lithuania. In preparation of the country’s EU council presidency from 1 July until the end of the year, Seldia met with several local stakeholders relevant to the European direct selling industry’s advocacy efforts in Brussels and Europe. Seldia was welcomed by Gintautas Zaleckas, Seldia Board of Directors member and Secretary General of both the Lithuanian and Baltic DSAs (the Baltic DSA is a joint venture by the three Baltic states to pool resources).
The meetings also focused on ongoing EU legislation such as the Common European Sales Law proposal where Seldia met with the president of the dossier at the Ministry of Justice. Furthermore, Seldia met with the unit responsible at the Consumer State Authority for the revision of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, an important meeting at which both parties exchanged their views and agreed on the importance of proper implementation of the directive. Seldia also met the director of the European Consumer Centre (ECC-Net) in the light of the alternative dispute resolution directive, through which Seldia is in the process of further developing its consumer redress and code-administrator structure. Lastly, Seldia met with two women organisations to promote the industry’s contribution to women entrepreneurship and to involve them in the growing Women Entrepreneurs Platform which Seldia is setting up with Members of the European Parliament and with the organisations that took part in the European Parliament exhibition in February. 

Industry News

Polish DSA promotes ethical trading
Over the course of the last weeks, Direct Selling prominently featured on several Polish business magazines. The first was a report from a “press breakfast” organized by a weekly supplement called “Super Biznes” of the daily paper “Super Express”, which has the second largest circulation in Poland (c. 350 thousand copies). The meeting was devoted to “Ethics and Entrepreneurship in Direct Selling” and the panel of experts who debated the topic included a high ranking official of the Ministry of Economy, a well known entrepreneur, and representatives of three employers’ organizations, the Consumer Federation and a member company of the Polish DSA. Also present was the DSA Code Administrator. The report was accompanied by a separate story on direct selling and the activity of the Polish DSA.

More Polish Youth in Direct Selling
The latest story article published on 17 June in the Polish edition of Newsweek magazine reports on the most important findings of the latest study on direct sellers commissioned by the Polish DSA. Some of the interesting results: there is a clear shift in what concerns the age of direct sellers. In previous studies people over 50 constituted about 25% of all sellers, now their share dropped to 9%, while the share of young people in the 18-24 age bracket (mostly students) increased to 30% from the previous 24%. This reflects the difficult situation on the country’s labor market, especially when it comes to high school graduates, of whom some 26% are unemployed. It also concludes that nearly one-third of all sellers are based in Poland’s rural areas, and finally the study also confirmed a well known correlation between the length of cooperation with a direct selling company – and the amount of time devoted to the job – and the level of income enjoyed by the direct seller.

For more information on the articles contact the Polish DSA.
Website of the Polish DSA (PSSB)

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New definition of direct selling adopted by US DSA
At its June 8 meeting held in conjunction of the 2013 Annual Meeting, the US DSA Board of Directors adopted a new definition of direct selling:

Direct selling is a business model that offers entrepreneurial opportunities to individuals as independent contractors to market and/or sell products and services, typically outside of a fixed retail establishment, through one-to-one selling, in-home product demonstrations or online. Compensation is ultimately based on sales and may be earned based on personal sales and/or the sales of others in their sales organizations.
Direct sellers may be called distributors, representatives, consultants or various other titles. They may participate in various ways, including selling the products themselves or through their sales organizations, providing training and leadership to their sales organizations, referring customers to the company and purchasing products and services for personal use.

This definition will be used by the US DSA and its member companies in all external contacts.

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US industry celebrates Annual Conference
The US DSA Annual Meeting took place in Phoenix Arizona on June 9-11 with over 1,000 direct selling executives and suppliers. During two busy days delegates had the opportunity to participate in over twenty workshops and three general sessions featuring inspiring and overwhelming speakers. During the meeting the US DSA proudly announced that US direct sales amounted to $31.63 billion in 2012, showing an increase by 5.9% compared to 2011.  The number of direct sellers increased from 15.6 million to 15.9 million in 2012. “About 13.8 % of households in the US have a direct seller” explained Orville Thompson, Annual Meeting Chairman and CEO of Scentsy. 

The meeting ended with a Gala Dinner during which US DSA President Joe Mariano announced the names of the DSA Ethios Awards’ winners recognized for their achievements in various categories such as Product Innovation, Technology or Marketing & Sales Campaigns.

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Seldia member Energetix wins court case
The long-lasting legal dispute between Energetix Bingen (based in Bingen) and Energetix-Wellness (based in Frankfurt) has now been resolved by the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt. Energetix Bingen is now the sole owner of the “ENERGETIX”, “Frog” and “EX” brands.

The court’s decision means that whilst everything will stay the same for distributors working for Energetix Bingen, distributors working for the company in Frankfurt are now prohibited to sell jewelry using any of the Energetix brands. Roland Förster, CEO at Energetix Bingen, indicated his understanding for the past activities of distributors working for the company in Frankfurt. Nonetheless, they are recommended to cease sales, order no more goods using these brands and return any such products that they have already received to the company, particularly as it will then be obliged to refund all payments in full. 

Source: Energetix Bingen Press Release 

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Global Direct Selling Statistics
Results of the global 2012 statistical survey on direct selling show another year of increase for our industry with global retail sales reaching US$166 billion, up 5.4% compared to 2011!  These sales were generated by over 89 million direct sellers.  Asia is the largest region for direct selling whilst Europe generated 16% of the sales.  All details on the 2012 statistics will be available on WFDSA’s and Seldia’s website on 24th of June.
Thank you to all DSAs and companies for their participation in the statistical survey!

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MEP Teresa Jiménez hosts next Seldia event
Member of the European Parliament Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio and Seldia will together host the next women entrepreneurship event at the European Parliament Members Salon on 25 September 2013. 


Ms. Jimenez is a friend of the industry, having attended and supported all previous Seldia events she now looks forward to give the topic further momentum and a “mediterranean” angle. She is a spanish national from Sevilla and joined the European Parliament in 2009 as part of the European Peoples Party (EPP).  She is a member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee as well as the Women’s Rights committee.

Teresa Jiménez, after finishing her studies became herself a devoted entrepreneur, managing various business activities in Spain and then moving on to the city of London, where she became Director of the prestigious Italian fashion house Prada. Within a few years she returned to Spain and created a company dedicated to the restoration of housing. Later she began working as a journalist in the Spanish newspapers ABC, El Mundo and La Razon and has also published articles in various national and international journals.

With high level EU and national speakers expected, stay tuned for this upcoming Seldia event in the EU Parliament with registration opening in early September.

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Round Table Sponsorship filling up fast!

The sponsorship opportunities for Seldia’s flagship event – the Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling are being taken up very fast. Just as last year, the third edition of this pan European industry event that will take place in Brussels on 2 October 2013, includes the possibility for member and non-member companies or service providers to become official sponsors. So far Amway and Herbalife have become Platinum sponsors, with ACN, Avon, Energetix Bingen and Nu Skin becoming Gold sponsors. 

For more information on the sponsorship package please click here.
To access this year’s programme, click here

You have not registered yet? Click here to register now and to benefit from early bird registration fee

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EU AT A GLANCE

SEPA Payments in force by 1 February 2014!

***This is an important message on the changes to all payments which will happen on 1 February 2014 in the euro area.  ALL retailers, wholesalers, and international traders – big and small – need to be ready for this.***

On 1 February 2014, all national euro payments – credit transfers and direct debits – will switch to the SEPA format. This means retailers will have to make changes to the way they make and receive payments.

It is important to understand the consequences of NOT being ready: Under the SEPA End-date Regulation, banks are not allowed automatically to convert non-SEPA payments to SEPA payments after Feb 2014. This means that transactions in old formats will not be processed by the bank. It will be possible for banks or other providers to offer conversion services – as long as these are independent of the banks’ normal payment chain. They will also be at extra cost for the retailer (if his systems are not SEPA-ready). In addition, such services will be available only for a limited time.

Here is a basic list of the steps which will need to be taken:
·    Banking and accounting software must support the technical messaging standards used for SEPA Payments (ISO20022 – XML)
·    Get the BIC/IBAN of all your customers and suppliers (central conversion service in your country).
·    Print your BIC & IBAN on ALL your business papers (not only for cross-border business).
·    Identify any optional or AOS (Additional Optional Services, which are services a bank can offer in addition to those in the SEPA Rulebooks) that have been implemented in your country.
·    Consolidate the local and cross-border payments in one SEPA system.
 
Further detailed information can be found at:
SEPA migration toolkit
ECB website on SEPA

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EC publishes Collective Redress proposal

On 11 June, the European Commission presented two proposals on collective redress, also known as “class action” – allowing multiple claimants to seek damages on a collective basis. The first proposal is a Recommendation addressed to all EU Member States in which the Commission asks that within the next 24 months Member States should adopt horizontal mechanisms for collective redress. Although the Recommendation is non-binding, the Commission has promised to review the level of voluntary implementation within four years to assess whether binding legislation may be necessary to ensure that collective redress mechanisms are introduced across the EU. The second proposal is for a directive aimed at competition issues (B2B) – here the Commission, like in the first proposal, does not aim at EU level collective redress procedures, but rather to implement such procedures successfully on member state level. 

While some forms of collective redress already exist in some Member States, this is the EU’s first proposal aimed at creating a common framework. Many stakeholders feared the introduction of a US style class actions system, which is not the case as the proposals are not for an EU-wide system, but for a horizontal approach based on recommendations. Furthermore, the proposals take into account other dispute resolution mechanisms such as the ADR directive, European Small Claims Procedure, Mediation directive etc. 

Nonetheless, the proposals remains controversial as they will spark resistance in many Member States, particularly in those that do not see a need to reform age-old functioning national legal systems. Business groups have also already voiced their discontent about a collective redress system that would welcome opportunistic litigation. While the EU Commission underlined the fact that the European approach will clearly not follow the US class action model, an intensive debate is to be expected in the short and mid term future.

Documents: 
1) Recommendations on collective redress
Communication
Proposal recommendation
2) Proposal for a Directive on collective redress B2B
Proposal Directive
Key documents

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1 and 2 euro cent coins may be phased out
The European Commission has announced a review on the future of the 1 and 2 Euro cent coins, which many argue cost more to produce than their value to the economy. Four scenarios are proposed: maintaining the status quo; changing the material composition of the coins to reduce costs of issuance; immediate withdrawal of all the coins or a fading out with the coins ceasing to be issued but remaining legal tender for a time. The Commission will continue consultations with stakeholders and, if a clear preference emerges, it will initiate a legislative proposal. 

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Parcel Delivery discussed at EU Parliament
The fourth installment of the European Parliament Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee’s Working Group on the Digital Single Market took place on 16 May and was partly dedicated to the challenges faced in achieving an integrated parcel delivery market. Werner Stengg, responsible EU Commission Head of Unit for Online and Postal Services presented the results from the input given on the Green Paper on “an integrated parcel delivery market for the growth of e-commerce in the EU”. He stated that in trying to increase growth amongst online retailers, delivery issues were mainly seen in cross-border cases. Another perspective came from Andreas Lemmer, DHL, who noted that whilst the growth of e-commerce has changed the postal delivery landscape, e-commerce is still seen as a domestic issue. He urged e-retailers to focus on the “wants” of consumers, as it will be they who will determine the nature of parcel delivery. The Commission expects to publish a roadmap in early autumn 2013.

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EU Trade News
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
On 14 June the EU Member States joined the EU Parliament in giving their green light for the European Commission to enter into the formal transatlantic negotiations as soon as possible. EU Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht stated: “Latest estimates show that a comprehensive and ambitious agreement between the EU and the US could bring overall annual gains of between 0.5% and 1 % in GDP for the EU. This would be equivalent to at least €86 billion of added annual income for the EU economy. In other words, by reducing red-tape and lowering consumer prices, a future trade deal with the United States would put almost an additional €545 per year on average in the pockets of a European family.”

For the direct selling industry these negotiations offer an important opportunity to address several regulatory trade barriers that exist in Europe. In cooperation with the US DSA, the industry will be able to advocate its position efficiently on both sides of the Atlantic. Seldia will be meeting relevant stakeholders over the course of the next weeks, with the actual negotiations on TTIP starting in the summer.

EU – Thailand Free Trade Agreement
On 31 May, EU and Thai officials completed the first round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. The negotiators spent several days in Brussels working through a heavy agenda that included amongst others issues on trade in goods, rules of origin, intellectual property rights, customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, public procurement and services protection. Thailand is the EU’s third largest trading partner inside ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and the EU is Thailand’s third largest trading partner, trade between them in 2012 reaching nearly €32 billion. 

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New Eurostat Publications
EU Commission: Spring forecast 2013 shows that the EU economy is slowly on the path toward recovery
On 3 May 2013, the European Commission published its spring forecast for 2013. Following these projections the European Union economy will growth in the second half of 2013. Economic activity will increase by 1.4% in the EU27 and by 1.2 % in the euro area. This year’s annual EU GDP is predicted to contract by 0.1% in the EU27 and by 0.4% in the euro area. To access this publication, please click here.

EIB Group: Supporting SMEs in 2012 – joint report
On 2 May 2013, the European Commission, jointly with the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund presented a report on their activities facilitating access to finance for SMEs in 2012. To access this publication, please click here.

Unemployment in the Euro area grew up to 12,2%
On 31 May 2013, Eurostat released new figures on unemployment data in the Euro area as well as in the EU27. In the Euro area, it increased up to 12.2% in April 2013 compared to the 12.1% in March 2012. Whereas in the EU27, the unemployment was registered at 11.0%, the same level from March 2012. To access this publication, please click here.

22.9 billion euro surplus in the international trade in goods for the euro area and 15.8 billion euro for EU27
On 16 May 2013, Eurostat released figures about the trade in goods balance. In the euro area, a surplus of 22.9 billion euro was noted for March 2013 compared with 6.9 billion in March. In the EU27 a surplus of 15.8 billion was noted, compared with -8.2 billion in March 2012. To access this publication, please click here.

Trades records between EU27 and Russia in 2012
On 3 June 2013, Eurostat released new figures on the record levels of trades between EU27 and Russia. In 2012, EU27 exports to Russia raised up to € 213 billion; while the EU27 deficit with Russia augmented up to € 90 billion in 2012. To access this publication, please click here.

Report on restructuring in European SMEs
On 14 May 2013, Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, published a report on Restructuring in SMEs in Europe. The report aims at raising awareness among policymakers on the challenges faced by the SMES when restructuring and adapting to new competitive conditions. To access the report, please click here.

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EVENTS

European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) Conference
    20 June 2013, Brussels (more information)
Reversing Europe’s waning productivity through internet?
   20 June 2013, Brussels (more information
EuroCommerce E-commerce day
   10 July 2013, Brussels 
Seldia European Parliament Lunch
    25 September 2013, Brussels
Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling
    2 October 2013, Brussels
5th Annual EU E-Commerce Conference
    15 October 2013, Brussels (EMOTA)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