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Expert insights for navigating the big trends and key issues redefining the global consumer sector. From rampant digitisation and supply chain reinvention to sustainability and geopolitical factors, the consumer sector is fast-evolving to meet the challenges – and opportunities – facing companies today.

Join our consumer sector team as they ‘talk shop’ with special guests unpacking the risks and opportunities for companies as they navigate new markets, technologies and customers, whilst managing operational, workplace and regulatory change in the sector.

LATEST EPISODE: Competition and ESG in the Australian consumer sector – Part 2

In Part 2 of our podcast on competition and ESG in the Australian consumer sector, Sarah Benbow and Patrick Gay look at the intersection of competition law and ESG – how industry or cross-sector collaboration could trigger competition law risks and the way the ACCC and global competition law regulators are thinking about these risks. Sarah and Patrick also talk about the ways in which these risks can be managed in Australia.

Episode 13: Competition and ESG in the Australian consumer sector – Part 1

We continue to delve into greenwashing, with Sarah Benbow and Patrick Gay exploring the broad commercial, regulatory and legislative changes addressing ESG in the Australian consumer sector. In Part 1, Sarah and Patrick look at the nature of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) concerns regarding ESG claims and how it’s been taking action recently in this space.

Episode 12: Greenwashing disputes in the consumer sector

Join Susan Black, Rachel Lidgate and Jannis Bille as they delve into the world of greenwashing in the consumer sector on our latest podcast episode. In a time when ESG practices are in the spotlight, companies face mounting pressure to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and other goals. However, amidst this push for transparency, are we witnessing a surge in greenwashing claims? What is driving these claims and what steps should you seek to minimise risks to your business?

Episode 11: Unpacking the Australian Closing Loopholes Bill: What this means for consumer sector employers

Natalie Gaspar joins Aoife Xuereb to discuss the Australian Federal Government’s proposed changes to employment and industrial relations, following the introduction of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes Bill) 2023 (Cth). Natalie delves into how these reforms could impact employers in the consumer sector, including in relation to casual employment, fixed term contracts, wage theft compliance, gig-economy participants and more.

Episode 10: All change: consumer protection reform under the UK Digital Markets and Competition and Consumers Bill

Susan Black and Kristien Geeurickx put the spotlight on the consumer protection provisions of the UK's Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill which is currently going through Parliament and is expected to take effect late 2023/early 2024. Once adopted it will make a number of key changes to the UK consumer protection regime, including strengthened enforcement powers and the introduction of new, enhanced consumer rights in order to ensure the legislation keeps pace with market developments such as the trend towards online retail and advertising. Some of the headline points we cover in the podcast include the possibility for enforcers to impose penalties of up to 10% of global turnover on infringing businesses, a series of requirements imposed on businesses that operate subscription contracts, and focus on unfair practices such as fake reviews and greenwashing. Once the Bill is adopted we will follow up with further insights, so watch this space.

This episode forms part of the wider CRT podcast series, which brings you the latest developments in competition, regulatory and trade law from across EMEA and beyond. More episodes from the CRT series can be found here.

Episode 9: M&A Landscape in the Consumer Sector – a focus on UK and Europe

Susan Black and Alex Kay explore the dynamic landscape of M&A in the consumer sector in UK and Europe. What enduring trends and forces are shaping this landscape and how can deal-makers navigate through this ever-evolving environment?

For more on what to expect in 2023 and beyond on the M&A front, read our Global M&A Outlook

Episode 8: How green is your trade mark?

Emma Iles and Eliza Foley join Aoife Xuereb to discuss trade marks, certification marks and greenwashing risks in Australia. The use of trade marks and certification marks, like the Heart Foundation ‘tick’, by consumer companies to distinguish their product from competitors is not new. There is however an increasing array of certification marks being used to indicate to consumers that a product, its packaging or manufacturing method meets a certain sustainability performance standard, from the well established ‘FAIR TRADE’ mark to increasingly, carbon neutrality status and recyclability. 

Protecting consumers from misleading environmental claims is currently a priority area for ACCC action, with draft guidance recently released following a greenwashing internet sweep in which 57% of businesses (including cosmetics, personal care, fashion, food and beverage) reviewed by the ACCC were found to be making potentially misleading claims – including misleading use of third-party certifications and symbols. 

For more, read our latest article

Episode 7: AI booms – whilst regulation looms

Peggy Chow, Kaman Tsoi, Duc Tran and Claire Wiseman join Aoife Xuereb to discuss the increasing use of AI in consumer sector digital marketing strategies. Analysing customer data to personalise content and target advertising according to purchasing behaviour and demographic information has become commonplace, along with the use of tools such as chatbots to automate customer service conversations.

However, regulators around the world are responding differently to keep pace with the rapid development and use of AI – from Mainland China’s early response and the proposed highwater mark from the EU to the lighter touch principles based approaches in the UK, Singapore and Australia. Our team cover some of the legal and ethical considerations under existing privacy laws and upcoming AI laws as consumer sector companies internationally grapple with old rules applying to new technology.

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Key contacts

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Aoife Xuereb

Partner, Melbourne

Aoife Xuereb
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Andrew Rich

Partner, Global Co-Head of Consumer Sector, Sydney

Andrew Rich
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Nanda Lau

Head of Corporate, China, Shanghai

Nanda Lau
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Susan Black

Partner, Global Co-Head of Consumer Sector, London

Susan Black

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