EDITORIAL. Expo 2015 Milan and the crucial role of consumAtors

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Amid disbelief and uncertainty, open construction sites and delays, Expo Milano has kicked off. The theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ will not be able to be addressed as it deserves, due to simple lack of political will.

Defeating hunger and extreme poverty conditions was in fact the first of the commitments made 15 years ago by the 189 signatory countries of the so-called ‘Millennium Development Goals,’ and no one-other than the People’s Republic of China-has fulfilled it.

Rather, it is worth highlighting how production and distribution chains, and policy, can instead change precisely because of us consumAtors. In the directions of equity, social justice and environmental protection. In two words, sustainable development.

How? The power of choice

The consumer is the independent variable in the market, which marketing pursues with the most diverse appeals. But Consumer 2.0 now has several sources of information to understand what lies behind each brand and choose products because of their intrinsic value. A value that does not always coincide with massive advertising investments, but rather with the actual ethicality of the supply chain.

Authentic productions, which at home mean the real Made in Italy, the one that expresses the Value of Italian Labor and production districts, contributing to our economy and employment, GDP and BES (Benessere Equo Sostenibile). Production that respects, the rights of workers and the dignity of local communities wherever located, the environment and biodiversity, and animal welfare.

Mobilizations

The consumerActor can also affect the decisions of economic operators (and others) thanks to petitions, which are increasingly effective thanks to the Web and social networks, which make it possible to learn about them, join them, and promote them very quickly. Petitions can be activated to ‘ethicize’ supply chains, to counter land grabbing and deforestation. Against child labor and slavery, which take place in Developing Countries-from sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia-but also in Italy, where caporalato is still the rule in fruit and vegetable harvesting in some regions.

Against the neo-colonialism of GMO seeds, the cloning of farm animals, and the use of carcinogenic pesticides such as glyphosate, which poison soils and groundwater everywhere on the planet. But also to promote workers’ fair pay and recognition of their trade union rights, dignified living conditions in local communities, respect for the environment and biodiversity.

Our petitions

A couple of examples, our appeal to exclude the use of palm oil in food production has collected almost 120 thousand signatures in a few months, and we are at 30 thousand with the petition aimed at guaranteeing information on the label about the place of production of food, the only legal guarantee to distinguish true ‘Made in Italy’ from its imitations that are also found on our shelves.

ConsumActors, together, you can!

Dario Dongo