IFRS / GRI / ANBI
6224 VX Maastricht
+31 (0)43 3635654
Consumer360Academy is the international website
name of Vrije Consumenten Vereniging
(Free Consumers Association).
Official KvK number 08099859
KVK / SBI 63.12 (Web Portals)
Official RSIN code 816252129
Founded July 14, 2001
Peter Daub (chairman)
Sylvia Kwarten (treasurer)
Jaap Wemerman (secretary)
There are no persons paid for any kind of activity.
The Free Consumers Association (Vrije Consumenten Vereniging) is a platform to exchange knowledge and experiences between consumers of the 21st century. A forum for active consumers and innovative initiatives.
Consumers who feel responsibility for their purchases, for the environment and for their relations with producers. Especially a platform for latest developments and new initiatives for sustainable products and services, fair trade and mutual respect in a globalising world, for 'consumer governance' in general! In the world economy there are producers and consumers, and traders and banks to connect those two. As a consumer we have twelve necessaries of life so we have to do with twelve groups of producers / traders / consumer associations (see below).
And in our choices we decide about seven aspects: quality (the most important), quantity, price, guarantees, form of payment, form of delivery and way of consuming. Every day we make decisions to which ‘producer’ our euro yen or dollar starts its new ‘round’. And when we ask the right questions, producers can give the right answers. So we ourselves as consumers have to work from an economy of supply and demand to an economy of question and answer!
PROJECT / Business Case
PRODUCT / Product Innovation
PROMOTION / Social Media
PRICE / Financial Reporting
PLACE / Consumer International
The human being has become a real manager! On our way into the 21st century, we see a mature attitude beyond independent thinking and judging now also increasingly willing to help and take part in "the future we want" in a globalizing world. A stronger interest in the world and with social media leading to better choices for better products and services to buy or to help by voluntary assisting or by financing.
From the observations and experiences working in different banks and after the start of the Triodos Bank the idea was born to investigate and to help with the development of new consumer groups but especially to investigate what the consumer needs for his or her own development as a player on the world stage.
In 1980 November 11 our first plan was written for a consultancy for consumers and starting consumerorganizations followed by seven years of research. In 1986 the Meander Foundation was established and in 2001 July 14 the Free Consumer Association as a platform for exchanging views and experiences. In 2009 in the context of the global trend of consumer education Consumer360Academy started with seminars and workshops and research for further development of consumer insights in consumer governance.
After the Rio+20 conference global society now seems to get from thinking to acting. Consumer education already prepared by many organizations will be used worldwide in schools in the fixed curriculum. Consumer360Academy would particularly like to help the next stage of lifelong learning in trial-and-error of innovative initiatives in the world of consumers, consumerorganizations, (world)trade and business, cultural organizations, politics and NGOs.
Because of this trend towards practical developments it now also means for our initiative a new way of working. From an investigative to a networking lobby / catalyst style of working now also much more focused on thinking and helping with new initiatives or developing initiatives.
The design of our project in all its manifestations was always focused to the individual consumer demand and only a single question, namely a sound management informationsystem. And as every manager works from the big picture and all the others go in the details, so too the consumer needs the big picture as a basis for all life situations and choices to asses properly.
So in the scheme of financial agenda book or website, but also every seminar workshop or exhibition we are always trying portraying the big picture and the consistency of all parts. So never a multitude of information, but themes and key ideas. So that the best possible insights, judgments and decisions can be developed.
NB: For the website, this means explicitly minimal size but complete. And as soon as possible referring/linking to other sites specialised on the area in detail.
To "catapult" a new initiative in the world we usually use brochures, word-of-mouth advertising and free publicity. An existing organization is much more based on networking, and we did so since 2004 mainly through writing reactions in the press, relaying important information to specialized consumerorganizations or others. In addition we developed a nose for (indirect) lobbying and therefore work much better as a catalyst to support other people and their activities.
Today's world is already upside down in a bottom-up where people can indicate what their needs are. Already six billion mobile phones indicate that everyone is now active in looking around and is able to know what's available and what is happening in the world. For companies and consumerorganizations as well it means that now that selling is changing into listening, and promotion into helpdesks.
NB: For the website as a working platform it means enough promotion side (search engines, home page, tags, links, reviews, networking, etc), but especially an active (educational text and inspiring video lectures) and interactive (forum and webinar) methods to allow the questioners at the level of a help desk like sitting (as IBM does) next to the customer at his/her worktable. Due to the worldwide audience, our website is the basis for all substantive information and information-exchange in the first encounters.
The price of the project covers all costs of purchase, maintenance, personnel and promotion. And because of the nature of independence it can only be financed with unconditional grants. This has never been a problem by working with volunteers, using existing infrastructures and subscriptions for all information, and participate in many networks and (international) conferences.
Especially the view that the message is more important than the organization itself made sure we were heard everywhere, but as consumer organization we could maintain the size of a small foundation. So as a little CATALYST we could help generate new ideas and help larger organizations to become bigger and more important.
To add a picture of our organization in financial terms: about 50 euros per month can be calculated for internet costs, ditto for literature and ditto for travel expenses. Occasionally a larger post because of a conference, a new website or a new secondhand laptop. In total something between 2000 to 3000 euros per year in donations.
NB: For 2012 and beyond, the same financial pattern is expected because indirect lobbying and networking remain the core business. The only additional cost this year relates to a technical upgrade of the website and the publication of our basic book and financial manager in an English translation as e-book and/or e-course.
Because all people are consumers, the world of seven billion (everybody is a member, free of charge!) is the market for our activities. In practice however we have mainly to do with the consumerorganizations and especially the general national consumerassociations represented jointly by Consumers International.
Because we are not promoting ideas or fighting for consumer-rights according to our statutes, we are particularly active as a moderator and a platform for exchanging views and experiences. And because that information and "best practices" are especially important for the next generation, we focus in particular on consumer education worldwide.
Therefore we focus our attention next to the ongoing lobbying especially thinking together with organizations that specialize in consumer education. As PERL, IFHE and Consumers International.
Annual Report 2017 / Consumer360Academy
Consumer360Academy presentation March 24 for the conference at the University of Sligo in Ireland of the International Federation for Home Economics IFHE. April 29 conference listening to Frank Trentmann about his bestselling book Empire of Things about 500 years history of the consumer since the start of worldtrade and bookkeeping in Venice in the 15th century. In June presentations of Consumer360 on invitation of Anthroposophical Society and Christian Community (Christengemeinschaft) the two organizations who helped us finding deeper insights in the living principles of the world and mankind towards freedom and responsibility.
Making a new business plan for the next few years. Focussing on our website and links to all directions to find and to be found. Planning of updates and upgrades. Membership of the International Council on Archives ICA to save all knowledge of Consumer360Academy for the future. Our website is already saved by the Internet Archive in San Francisco USA and the Royal Library in The Hague in the Netherlands.
Financing these activities is still possible by own means. Website, books and magazines, following webinars and visiting one conference every year are the only expenses to be made for continuing every year this project since 1980 and will not change very much in the years to come. It is about 5000 euro per year made possible by donations (financial report available).
Our plan to reach the consumer worldwide is as easy as every other initiative nowadays thanks to internet: links links links and wikipedia as the place to be for all information for everybody who is interested! As a catalyzing force for change the best people to help us are the teachers in the world of education. That is why we are connected to PERL, IFHE, UN and ConsumerClassroom and sending all interesting news we see forward to many websites of the press and otherwise.
180 Membership Fees (IFHE & ICA)
1080 Website/Internet/Telephone (KPN)
240 Webmaster (HeartCoded)
600 Daily Paper (FD)
400 Monthly Magazines (Foreign Affairs & Monde Diplomatique)
1200 Books/Handbooks/Readers (Professional Literature)
480 Travelling NS (Seminars Lectures & Projects)
1000 IFHE Conference in Sligo, Ireland (Not EU Funded)
100 Materials (Paper etc)
1 Lenovo Computer (written off)
1 Book Cases (written off)
1 Books/Handbooks (written off)