The European Commission’s Regular Meeting on Integrated Product Policy decided in its second meeting in September 2004 to set up two IPP working groups. Their aim is to discuss and find solutions for specific subjects which are important for the development of IPP with the participation of relevant experts. The working groups have clear objectives and mandates with a specific lifespan. The two working groups are:
1. Working Group on Reporting Formats
The IPP Communication states that the European Commission should submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the progress made in the implementation of Integrated Product Policy (IPP) in the European Union. The progress report to the European Parliament and the Council based on reports from members states and stakeholders detailing the measures taken and progress made in implementing the IPP approach will allow the Commission and EU institutions to reflect on whether the nature and direction of IPP needs to be altered.
The working group on IPP Reporting Formats was set up in April 2005 to review the type of information that could be reported in light of the IPP Communication and to propose to the Commission an approach for collecting the necessary information for reporting. The work was carried out by the European Environment Agency and the European Topic Center of Waste and Resource Management in cooperation with the European Commission. For more information, please look at the official mandate of the working group.
A final report by the working group was submitted to the Commission in December 2006. The working group proposed an approach for collecting information to report the progress made of implementing IPP. The report summarises the procedures and tools the working group proposes to use for reporting on the progress made of implementing IPP.
2. Working Group on Environmental Product Information
This working group examines the issue of life cycle information throughout the product chain. Its objectives are to identify the needs, examine the tools, identify the gaps and opportunities, and propose how the situation should be improved. Twelve experts from government and industry and NGO were selected to serve on the working group. The group was chaired by Bob Ryder from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). For more information, please look at the official mandate of the working group.
The final report of the working group was presented at the sixth IPP Regular Meeting in November 2006. The report builds up a practical vision of what actions governments and stakeholders can take to make life-cycle-based product information a real force for environmental improvement, working in combination with the toolbox of other IPP measures and activities.
The report states that good product information is a necessary condition for effective policies to improve the environmental performance of products but its potential is a long way from being achieved. Under present conditions, the market on its own is unlikely to unlock this potential: the barriers in this field are steep and the drivers are weak. The report also states that work is needed to create the right frameworks and to apply the necessary influences that are needed for creating the change. The framework for product information will need leadership and action taken at government level (both EU and Member States), and there is a strong case that it becomes a policy priority at EU level. The report identifies opportunities with practical technical solutions, and recommends actions that can be taken at EU level. The report also demonstrates how action on product information can help to turn the ‘integration’ principles of IPP into a practical programme using some of the key tools and activities highlighted in the IPP Communication.
A workshop with representatives from the IPP Regular Meeting and members of the working group broadly endorsed the report's results and recommendations.
The results will also help to inform the debate about the forthcoming EU Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Action Plan.
NB. The views expressed in the documents are solely those of the working groups. The documents must not be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission services or any of the participating organisations.