World Standards Day: "Accessibility for All"12 October 2010
by anec -- last modified 12 October 2010
Standards should implement Design for All principles to meet the needs of consumers of all ages and abilities, ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation, said today. Celebrating World Standards Day, this year dedicated to "Accessibility for All", ANEC warned that most standards for mainstream products and services still fail to make products accessible for older and disabled consumers.
Europe is getting older. The proportion of people aged 65 years or over is projected to increase from 17% now to 30% in 2060. Moreover, there are 50 million disabled citizens, representing more than 10% of the present EU population (see Eurostat's latest population projection scenario (EUROPOP2008, convergence scenario). Bearing these facts in mind, ANEC urges the European Standards Organisations, the European Commission and the European industry to take an initiative aimed at providing standards-makers with the specialist knowledge needed to meet the requirements of older and disabled people. ANEC believes dedicated Design for All experts should be engaged to advise on the development of European Standards for consumer products and services.
Considering that innovation is seen as one of the main drivers of the EU economic recovery, ANEC believes that the implementation of concepts such as Design for All in the elaboration of standards can contribute to the development of innovative products and services. Standardisation can support innovation in creating wealth and so improving the welfare of European citizens.
"As there has been only limited progress in addressing the needs of all consumers, ANEC calls for an inclusive European Standardisation System, for the elaboration of inclusive standards, to serve an inclusive society" said ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell.
"If European Standards are to serve societal needs, expertise must be made available for the development of accessibility standards. Furthermore, the participation of consumers and other societal stakeholders needs to be guaranteed in the future vision for the European Standardisation System", added Stephen Russell.
ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation, defending consumer interests in the processes of technical standardisation and conformity assessment as well as related legislation and public policies. ANEC was established in 1995 as an international non-profit association under Belgian law and represents consumer organisations from 31 European countries. ANEC is funded by the European Union and EFTA, with national consumer organisations contributing in kind. Its Secretariat is based in Brussels.
ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation