L’économie de proximité, une alternative à la crise

Avec la crise, l’économie mondiale a perdu de son crédit. Les citoyens n’ont plus confiance. Pour éviter la déconnexion, une solution, l’économie de proximité. Une idée défendue lors de la table ronde “Economie de proximité : quand l’économie redécouvre le local”.
Le concept n’est pas nouveau. Il est pourtant mal connu du public. Pour Bernard Pecqueur, professeur à l’Institut de géographie alpine de Grenoble, il s’agit “d’une économie qui valorise le contexte territorial où vivent les gens, et crée un ensemble historique, culturel, et de paysage”. Cyril Kretzschmar, conseiller délégué à la nouvelle économie à la Région Rhônes-Alpes, défend pour sa part une approche plus pragmatique, “l’artisanat, l’économie sociale et solidaire, et les très petites entreprises (TPE) à ancrage local représentent l’économie de proximité. Cet ensemble pèse près de 80% de l’économie de notre pays”. Pascal Canfin, député européen vert, illustre le propos par deux exemples: “Il y a deux gisements majeurs de l’économie de proximité. Les services à la personnes au sens large, c’est à dire relevant du care, et l’économie écologique, qui repose sur un circuit court, notamment en matière alimentaire.”
Un système imparfait mais nécessaire
Les intervenants, pourtant partisans de l’économie de proximité, ont pointé les défaillances du système. Premier risque majeur pour Bernard Pecqueur, “le risque d’enfermement. La formule communautariste est un piège mortel”. De son côté, Alain Even estime “qu’il faut penser l’économie de proximité comme un développement intégré où les différents acteurs, publics et privés, sont amenés à se rencontrer et se coordonner”, pour permettre aux projets de perdurer. Suite à une intervention du public, la question du prix à la consommation de l’économie de proximité a été posée. “Sur un circuit court, à qualité égale, les produits sont moins chers car il faut penser en terme de coût global, répond Cyril Kretzschmar, élu Europe Écologie. Par exemple, si on achète un tee-shirt chinois à 2 euros, son coût réel est beaucoup plus élevé, car il faut tenir compte de son empreinte carbone”. Une réponse qui ne satisfait pas totalement Pascal Canfin: “Il faut penser aux citoyens. Avec la crise et l’état actuel du pouvoir d’achat, le consommateur se dirige logiquement vers le produit le moins cher. Du coup, il est préférable d’aller vers des circuits de proximité au gain immédiat en terme de pouvoir d’achat. C’est le cas, par exemple, pour les transports, grâce à des formes innovantes de transports collectifs (taxis solidaires, covoiturage) moins chers qu’une voiture, ou encore pour le logement et les coopératives d’habitants qui produisent des logements beaucoup moins onéreux”.

Distance, land, and proximity: economic analysis and the evolution of cities

G Duranton, the author, attempts to provide a synthesis of the long-run evolution of cities by taking an economic perspective. He defends the idea that urban growth for preindustrial cities has been limited by the tyranny of distance. Then he argues that technological progress, by fostering mobility, has reinforced economies of agglomeration and thus allowed for larger cities. This has led to the development of industrial cities and the dominance of the tyranny of distance. Nowadays, however, technological progress in communications and telecommunications seems to be challenging the rationale for agglomeration in cities as more and more economic interactions can be realized at arm’s length. Increasing mobility may have turned into a threat for cities, hence the prediction about the demise of cities. Nonetheless, it is argued that the `tyranny of proximity’ may provide a strong glue to keep postindustrial cities together.
Should you be interested in the book, PLEASE VISIT IDEAS

What is food mapping?

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...

Food for Life distributes food on an international basis produced solely from vegan and lacto-vegetarian ingredients. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food mapping is an opportunity for policy makers at local and national levels to work with others to develop an evidence base for assessing need, developing action plans and monitoring progress. In doing so, food mapping could help bring about positive change and effectively tackle the interlinking barriers to healthy food access. Food mapping can help inform an appropriate, joined-up and supportive policy framework for improving food access over time” Community Food and Health (Scotland).
Food mapping has been defined as the process of finding out where people can buy and eat food, and what the food needs of local people are. It is a type of needs assessment that aims to identify the geographical areas or communities that have the greatest needs in terms of access to food. This generally relates to access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods, however, food mapping may also be used to identify the availability of other specific types of food e.g. local produce or ethnic foods. The area covered by a food mapping exercise could range from a small village or urban estate, to large city or a whole county. Food mapping is one of the first activities that should take place when you are thinking about setting up a food project, and even more so when planning to deliver a programme of different activities to increase access to healthy foods. This is so that you can identify what problems there are with accessing food in an area and then plan initiatives that aim to deal with these problems.

For more information and a toolkit, please visit FOOD VISION

Green Paper on promoting the tastes of Europe


Agriculture (Photo credit: thegreenpages)

The European Commission has today launched a debate on the future of promotion and information schemes for EU agricultural products. With the publication of a Green Paper on these issues, the Commission is looking at how to shape a more targeted and more ambitious strategy for the future, which will make clearer to consumers – both in the EU and beyond – the quality, traditions and added-value of European agricultural and food products.
Presenting the Green Paper in Brussels today, EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Dacian Cioloș stated: “To protect the health of our consumers farmers in Europe face stricter rules on food safety, environmental conditions, and animal welfare than their competitors elsewhere in the world. The European agriculture industry needs an ambitious and effective promotion policy which highlights the added-value of the sector. It is also important for European jobs and growth that the EU agri-food sector can improve its position on traditional and emerging markets. We therefore need to consider how best to adapt our schemes to support this goal.”
The paper raises a series of multi-faceted questions and invites all stakeholders – consumers, producers, distributors and official authorities – to give their comments and suggestions by September 30, 2011. On the basis of these responses, the Commission will draft a Communication for publication next year, which should then lead to legislative proposals.
The Green Paper is divided into four sections – the European added-value of this policy; objectives and measures to use on the internal EU market, including on local and regional markets; objectives and measures to use on world markets; and broader questions on the content and management of the policy. The various questions raised, 16 in all, contain different aspects and suggestions, aimed at stimulating responses. For example, they ask about the specific needs for information and promotion, both on the EU market and the external market, and what priorities should be set. There is also a question about multi-country programmes, and what can be done to encourage programmes with a greater European dimension.

Source: European Union

For more information, and to participate in the consultation, see the following site:

Food: from farm to fork statistics. 2011 Edition

This pocketbook provides the reader with information on how the food chain evolves in Europe; it presents a range of statistical indicators for each step of this chain from the farm to the fork, passing from production on the farm, through food processing, to logistical activities such as importing, transporting and distributing, before reaching the end consumer either through purchases made in retail outlets or through the consumption of food and drink in cafés, bars and restaurants. Its aim is to give a summary of the data currently available within Eurostat s Food: from farm to fork database. The publication structure follows closely the approach adopted by the European Commission on food safety policy, and the indicators presented have been developed with this in mind. This publication may be viewed as a compendium of the data available within Eurostat on the food chain


¿ Cómo protege la UE a los consumidores europeos de los productos peligrosos ?

Meglena Kuneva, European Commissioner for Cons...

Meglena Kuneva, European Commissioner for Consumer Protection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

La legislación europea garantiza una protección elevada y uniforme de la salud y la seguridad de los consumidores, para ello, los productos comercializados en el mercado interior se someten a exigencias generales de seguridad y, en caso de que se detecte una amenaza grave para los consumidores, se pone en marcha un sistema de alerta rápida: RAPEX (regulado por la Directiva 2001/95/CE).

Gracias a este sistema, los Estados miembros pueden informar inmediatamente a la Comisión, a la que deben remitir:

  • La información que permita identificar el producto.
  • Una descripción del riesgo que comporta el producto, así como cualquier documento que permita evaluarlo.
  • Las medidas adoptadas (preventivas o restrictivas).
  • La información sobre la distribución del producto.
  • Si el riesgo grave tiene un efecto transfronterizo.
Los datos de RAPEX contribuyen a:
  • Impedir y limitar el suministro de productos peligrosos a los consumidores.
  • Supervisar la eficacia y la coherencia de las actividades de vigilancia del mercado y las medidas destinadas a garantizar el cumplimiento de la normativa por parte de las autoridades de los Estados miembros.
  • Identificar las necesidades y proporcionar una base para actuar a nivel de la UE.
  • Garantizar la aplicación coherente de las exigencias comunitarias en materia de seguridad de los productos y, de este modo, el buen funcionamiento del mercado interior.

Los Estados miembros están obligados a utilizar este sistema cuando:

  • No puede descartarse que un producto peligroso se haya vendido a los consumidores en más de un Estado miembro de la UE.
  • No puede descartarse que un producto peligroso se ha vendido a los consumidores a través de internet.
  • El producto procede de un tercer país y es probable que se haya importado en la UE a través de varios canales de distribución.

Más información aqui
O en el portal de la Unión Europea.

European Parliament set to pass new consumer rights bill into law

The official emblem of the European Parliament.

The official emblem of the European Parliament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consumers and businesses alike should reap the benefits of new consumer rights legislation in Europe, with years of negotiations set to conclude with the approval by the European Parliament on Thursday (23 June) of the EU’s Consumer Rights Directive.

Last week (16 June), the Parliament’s internal market and consumer protection (IMCO) committee backed at first reading a compromise agreement on the draft law reached on 6 June between representatives of all three EU institutions, paving the way for this week’s first-reading vote in plenary.
‘Win-win’ situation for businesses, consumers
“Consumers and businesses will equally win. We are a big step closer to a truly common internal market in Europe,” said German centre-right MEP Andreas Schwab (European People’s Party), who is steering the directive through the Parliament, ahead of the vote.
Describing the directive as “a good compromise between necessary consumer rights and justified business interests,” Schwab said it would serve as an example of where “more Europe” benefits shoppers and traders alike.
Brussels has been wrestling with the legislation since it was first tabled by the European Commission back in 2008 (see ‘Background’).
“More safety for consumers shopping online and common rules for businesses – these are the headlines of the political agreement between the Parliament and the Council on the Consumer Rights Directive,” said Schwab.
An EU-wide right for consumers to change their minds about purchase decisions within two weeks and clearer pricing rules for Internet sales were among changes made to the draft legislation by representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and member states in trialogue talks earlier this month.
That deal was backed unanimously by the IMCO committee with 28 votes in favour, none against and three abstentions.

Source: EurActiv