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Metaverse, green claims, and data privacy – what critical issues await retailers and consumer brands in fall 2022?

  • International law firm RPC launches latest edition of Retail Compass

With metaverse claims, green claims, data privacy and plastic packaging high on the agenda, international law firm RPC helps companies maximize opportunities and weather future regulatory changes The latest retail compass version.

The post coincides with the opening of the RPC Retail Compass Live! – A one-day event presenting key life themes with guest speakers and panel discussions – Wednesday, November 9th.

Key points from the latest edition of Retail Compass include:

Login to Metaverse The metaverse offers great potential for retailers looking to build their omnichannel offering and embrace virtual engagement as an essential part of the overall consumer experience.

In this new (virtual) world, what should they be looking for?

RPC has collected top 10 tips on everything from how to protect and log your IP address, to taking care of customer data, negotiating contracts, and keeping up with the latest regulations.

digital transformation Innovative technologies present risks and rewards. On the other hand, these technologies can help retailers and consumer brands gain valuable information about their customer base, such as proximity marketing using Bluetooth technology, personalized reward systems, and footfall analytics.

On the other hand, technology that captures large amounts of consumer data can put retail businesses at risk of violating data privacy laws. Recently, retailers and consumer brands have been warned against collecting customers’ “faceprints” as a deterrent to theft.

With GDPR breaches incurring potential fines of €20 million, retailers will need to ensure that any data they collect is treated in accordance with data privacy regulations.

Greenwashing What are green claims and how can companies mitigate the risk of being caught up in regulators?

RPC provides retailers and consumer brands with a list of key points to consider to ensure they comply with the CMA Green Act.

The UK government has proposed changes that would give the Capital Markets Authority sweeping powers to strike companies with fines of up to 10% of their annual global turnover if they make misleading or incorrect claims about their environmental credentials. RPC helps clients navigate the evolving regulatory landscape.

plastic bottles Effective January 1, 2023, Extended Product Responsibility (EPR) will be introduced on plastic packaging.

However, EPR is not limited to packaging manufacturers as the initial impression might be.

Retailers and brand owners also fall within the scope of the EPR regulations because “packaging activities” include:

  • Packaging of private label products for sale to UK consumers;
  • use of a third party to package and sell privately branded merchandise to UK consumers;
  • Importing private and third party branded packaged products into the UK for sale to consumers, unless done on behalf of a third party (eg supermarket)

With data collection requirements rapidly approaching under this new change, what steps should meet standards retailers take to prepare for the data reporting aspect of EPR?

Karen HindiPartner and Co-Head of Retail and Consumer at RPC says: “Retailers and consumer brands face a plethora of regulatory changes and increased scrutiny as they approach 2023, ranging from issues involving environmentally friendly claims to plastic packaging and data protection.

“Taking steps now is the best way companies can ensure that they are ready and compliant when these changes come into effect.”

Jeremy DrewPartner and Co-Head of Retail & Consumer says: “Retail is transforming at a rapid pace as technology pushes the sector even deeper into the digital revolution, providing retailers and consumer brands with a vast wealth of information that will propel their businesses forward.

“But as custodians of such data, there is a huge responsibility. Avoiding regulatory scrutiny will affect how strong companies can protect their customers’ data.”

partner Ciara Cullen, The head of the food and beverage division adds: “A sweep of new forces in the pipeline for the CMA could result in retailers and consumer brands being fined at the GDPR level for making unsubstantiated claims about their environmental credentials. With so much at stake, (not least from a reputation perspective), it would be prudent for retail brands and consumers to review existing claims for compliance.”

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