Our problems are manmade–therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable–and we believe they can do it again.– John F. Kennedy 1963
In 1962 President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress and asserted four basic rights for all consumers. These four basic rights (The right to safety, The right to be informed, The right to choose, And the right to be heard) ushered in a new standard for American consumer rights. President Kennedy’s declaration also inspired the mission of the global organization known as Consumers International. His efforts also paved the way for the United Nations to add an additional four rights to protect consumers in 1985 (the right to satisfaction of basic needs, the right to redress, the right to consumer education, and the right to a healthy environment.)
In honor of our rights, and the man who spearheaded them lets take a look at the four basic Consumer Rights presented by JFK
The Right To Saftey
This right ensures safety of our products and protects us from the marketing of goods or the provision of services that are hazardous to health and life. This is why cigarettes are required to have warning labels. With heart disease and obesity becoming a national epidemic I wonder if there are some products that are overstepping this right of ours. I want to see a world where products like McDonalds French Fries feature warning labels on the side of the carton. At the end of the day it comes down to choices, which brings us to our next consumer right.
The Right To Choose
The Right To Be Informed
We have a right to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising or labeling and we have the right to be given the facts and information needed to make informed purchasing decisions. This right is why people have been fighting to do things like label GMO’s on products. When using words like natural on products that are NOT natural, consumers are being misled. While this right has brought forward legislation such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Truth in Lending Act, we still have a lot of work to do in order to uphold our right to be informed.
The Right To Be Heard
We have a right to speak out about problems with products and services. We also reserve the right to obtain and pursue remedies when necessary. Consumer law attorneys, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and organizations like the better business bureau support our rights to be heard. The loudest voice we have though is our ability to vote with our dollars. Let your voice be heard by investing in companies with a triple bottom line.
These rights are often challenged by our modern marketplace. Too often we are taken advantage of by companies. The best consumer is an educated consumer. So take the time to inform yourself and get hip to your purchasing decisions. Brands like Sambazon Acai that have a triple bottom line business model measure success not just from their profit but also their ability to positively make a difference for people and the planet. It is also important to educate yourself on food labels, what they mean, and how much credibility is behind them. Educating yourself on labels is key to ensuring
We are assembling an esteemed group of citizens under a common agenda to create a road map for the future we desire together. People who are awake, people who care, people who want to be part of the solution.
I am committed to being a catalyst for change and pledge the following: