A whistle-stop tour of what we have in store

Welcome to the newly-launched MarketWatch campaign, and a whistle-stop  blog of what we have in store, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Why MarketWatch?  Simple. Consumers, and the law (ecodesign and energy labelling), want to see  efficient products saving energy and money. Is this what we’re getting? Can  you trust what’s on the energy label? Does the shop even display the label?  The fact is that a significant chunk of products are substandard. Knowingly or  negligently they are marketed, their poor performance obscured. We’re all  losing out as a result. MarketWatch aims to change that.

Of course we’re not the first to recognise the problem. The authorities at national level run checks and civil society has devised an array of useful labels and guides to help consumers. But while the authorities are best placed to test products, there are few forums for them to share their knowledge. Civil society is great at bringing pressure to bear, but has shied away from the sometimes technically challenging area of ecodesign. MarketWatch is here to help! By assisting both, we can raise the bar and put renewed pressure on wayward firms, thereby rewarding honest and diligent ones and delivering big figure savings for consumers and the planet.

While things look calm on the campaign’s surface, there is a lot going on in the background. Over the last few months we’ve been busy scrutinising what works and what doesn’t in the realm of traditional ‘market surveillance’ in order to help spread effective ideas and ways of working.

But MarketWatch is not an academic exercise and will not remain in the background. We are gearing up for a major surveillance programme over the next 3 years, starting in November 2013, on the street and online, gathering sequential snapshots of the market to help hone in on problem trends and failures. Sixteen civil society partners from across the EU are engaged, but we’ll be making a major effort to bring others on board. If you want to know more, sit back and let the news come to you via our newsletters or twitter account, or if you want a more active role, get in touch by email.

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    Frances Downy
MarketWatch coordinator