ADVOCACY.

THINK TANK.

EDUCATION.

At Smart Consumer Institute, we have been advocating for the interests of smart consumers, educating and contributing to policies that improve the consumer environment since 2018.

We think consumer protection is much more than just a fight against unfair business practices – we want Slovakia to grow and become a truly innovation-friendly country capable of attracting and retaining domestic and foreign investments and know-how supporting consumers’ quality of life. As consumers, we deserve to live in an economic environment that offers high-quality, green, affordable, and innovative products and services in every field, from finance to healthcare. We believe appropriately set regulatory frameworks can support innovative behavior and help stimulate such growth.

OUR ACTIVITIES

Petition #ForFairTaxation (#ZaFérovéZdanenie)

Finance Ministry has unveiled a proposal to tax sweetened soft drinks from January 2025, regardless of the type or amount of sweetener used. At the Institute, we could not concur with the proposal. Still, at the same time, we positioned ourselves as a constructive partner and asked that the most problematic points be removed, namely the proposed taxation of plant-based milk alternatives, sports drinks and powders, and yogurt or milk drinks.

We submitted a collective comment-petition to the inter-departmental comments procedure, which received the support of over 4,500 people, many experts, and influencers. We were instrumental in creating strong public and media pressure, which led the Finance Ministry to accept all the points of our comment and exempt the products from the tax.

We were thus able to protect consumers from unfair taxation of harmless and beneficial beverages. Plant-based alternatives were set to become 10% more expensive, even though they contain a similar amount of sugar to cow’s milk, which would not have been affected by the tax. Powdered concentrates for athletes (e.g., protein) were to be hit with an effective tax rate of over 40 cents per liter, while classic sweetened drinks (e.g. cola) would have been taxed at just 15 cents and energy drinks at 30 cents.


#ForAffordableHousing (#ZaDostupnéBývanie) Platform

Slovakia has one of the least affordable housing markets in Europe. That’s precisely why, at the end of January, we launched a new project – #ForAffordableHousing, a platform hosted by the Smart Consumer Institute. In cooperation with experts, prominent Slovak influencers and YouTubers, the most popular podcasts, and opinion-forming media, we:

  • discuss the problem
  • independently analyze the financial and real estate market
  • provide recommendations and solutions to consumers and politicians

In a relatively brief period that the platform has been up and running, we have already reached and engaged with hundreds of thousands of people.


Call #ForOpenSundays (#ZaOtvorenéNedele)

In 2022 and 2023, the parliament considered several proposals to restrict Sunday shopping. Such a ban would have far-reaching impacts on consumers, employees, and the economy as a whole.

Given its harmful effects, we united 13 different think tanks, organizations, associations, and companies (INESS, INEKO, PAS, Bratislava Policy Institute, Panta Rhei, TESCO, Manufaktura, etc.) in our call #ForOpenSundays. We approached members of parliament and executed outreach in most opinion-forming media. Thanks to our public pressure, the lawmakers eventually did not approve the ban. We also surveyed both consumers and store employees in video polls to find out their opinion on Sunday shopping and Sunday work.


We protect consumers from harmful legislation

In the media, online, on social networks, and directly within the legislative process, we provide constructive analyses, proposals, and comments that help create a modern, future-proof legislative environment that stimulates innovation and improves the quality of life for all consumers.

Whether it was proposals for taxing sweetened soft drinks, banning Sunday shopping, special taxation of financial institutions, or abolishing the new tax regime for mutual funds and cryptocurrencies, we closely monitor legislative initiatives and express our views on proposals that threaten the quality of the consumer environment. On the other hand, we are not afraid to come up with our own initiatives or further improve beneficial proposals.


We fight disinformation

In collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, we are working on a project aimed at debunking the most common disinformation and hoaxes in various fields, whether in the consumer environment or politics. At the institute, we realize that our place is in Europe – it is the European standards and institutions that guarantee strong consumer rights protection for Slovaks. Slovakia’s anchorage in the West represents stability, making us attractive in the eyes of investors and contributing to the influx of foreign capital.


NEWS