Consumer education has been defined in many ways by different organisations, from UNESCO, OECD and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to Member States.
Among them, the European Union has made consumer education part of the general objectives of consumer protection (Article 153, Treaty of Amsterdam, 1997). Consumer education is therefore a recognised right of European consumers and an objective to be achieved jointly by the European Community and the Member States.
The European Commission has also defined digital competence as one of the key aspects of lifelong learning. With the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, apart from Article 12 on consumer protection, the article 169 of the treaty stipulates that “the Union shall contribute to protecting health, safety and economic interests of consumers; to promoting consumers right to information, education and the right to organise consumers in order to safeguard their interest.”
The Consumer Agenda published in spring 2012 announced that the European Commission would develop an “interactive platform for exchanging best practices and distributing consumer education materials amongst teachers and other professionals working with 12-18 year olds, including materials on digital literacy, new media technologies and sustainable consumption.”