The Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) entered into force on 4 December 2012. It establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union in order to ensure the achievement of the Union’s targets on energy efficiency.
According to the Directive, the public sector must lead by example by renovating 3% of buildings owned and occupied by the central governments starting from 1 January 2014 and by including energy efficiency considerations in public procurement – insofar as certain conditions are met (e.g. cost-effectiveness, economic feasibility) – so as to purchase energy efficient buildings, products and services.
In 2018, as part of the 'Clean energy for all Europeans package', the new amending Directive on Energy Efficiency (2018/2002) was agreed to update the policy framework to 2030 and beyond. The key element of the amended directive is a headline energy efficiency target for 2030 of at least 32.5%. The target, to be achieved collectively across the EU, is set relative to the 2007 modelling projections for 2030. As part of the Renovation Wave, the Commission will revise in 2021 the EED (and the EPBD).
For further information: Energy Efficiency – targets, directives and rules website
Link to directives: Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) introduces or strengthens a number of measures related to the energy performance of new and existing buildings. Of particular relevance for public authorities is the requirement set out in Article 9 of the EPBD which requires EU Member States to ensure that "after 31 December 2018, new buildings occupied and owned by public authorities are nearly zero-energy buildings." The EPBD together with the EED have been the legislative framework to boost energy performance of buildings.
The EPBD (and the EED) were amended in 2018 as part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package. In particular, the Directive amending the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2018/844/EU) introduces new elements and sends a strong political signal on the EU’s commitment to modernise the buildings sector in light of technological improvements and increase building renovations. As part of the Renovation Wave, the Commission will revise in 2021 the EPBD.
For more information: Energy Performance of Buildings website
Link to directives: Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings.
Directive (EU) 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency
The energy labelling requirements for individual product groups are created under the EU's energy labelling framework regulation, in a process coordinated by the European Commission. 15 product groups (including Lighting, Heaters, Pumps, and Imaging Equipment) require an energy label.
For further information: Rules and requirements for energy labelling and ecodesign website
Link to Regulation: Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 setting a framework for energy labelling and repealing Directive 2010/30/EU
The ecodesign requirements for individual product groups are created under the EU's ecodesign directive in a process coordinated by the European Commission. The EU legislation on ecodesign is applicable on 31 product groups. As an alternative, industry sectors may also sign voluntary agreements to reduce the energy consumption of their products. The Commission formally recognises such agreements and monitors their implementation.
The Ecodesign Directive aims to reduce the environmental impact of products, including life-cycle energy consumption, by providing EU-wide rules for the design of energy-related products.
The Directive is of specific relevance to the development and application of technical or performance-based specifications by public authorities in their procurement. It should be noted that the Directive applies not only to energy-consuming products but also to those which have an impact on energy consumption during use, for example windows and insulation material.
The Sustainable Products Initiative will revise the Ecodesign Directive and propose additional legislative measures as appropriate, aims to make products placed on the EU market more sustainable. The SPI responds to the objectives of the EU Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan. It will aim to make products fit for a climate neutral, resource efficient and circular economy, reduce waste and ensure that the performance of frontrunners in sustainability progressively becomes the norm.
For more information: Rules and requirements for energy labelling and ecodesign website; SPI website
Link to directive: Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a Framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related product (recast)
Ecolabels are placed on certain products to enable consumers to choose those which have been recognised as less harmful to the environment. They are voluntary public schemes based on specific scientific environmental criteria, open to all companies in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner.
Established in 1992 and recognised across Europe and worldwide, the EU Ecolabel is a label of environmental excellence that is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their life-cycle: from raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal. The EU Ecolabel promotes the circular economy by encouraging producers to generate less waste and CO2 during the manufacturing process. The EU Ecolabel criteria also encourages companies to develop products that are durable, easy to repair and recycle.
For more information: EU Ecolabel website
Environmental Management Systems (EMS) are tools for any organisation – enterprise or public authority – to manage the impact of its activities on the environment. An EMS integrates environmental management into an organisation’s daily operations, long-term planning and other quality control mechanisms. The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is the EMS developed by the European Commission. EMAS is open to every type of organisation eager to improve its environmental performance. It spans all economic and service sectors and is applicable worldwide.
For more information: EMAS website
The revised Clean Vehicles Directive promotes clean mobility solutions in public procurement tenders, providing a solid boost to the demand and further deployment of low- and zero-emission vehicles. The new Directive defines "clean vehicles" and sets national targets for their public procurement. It applies to different means of public procurement, including purchase, lease, rent and relevant services contracts. Adopted by the European Parliament and Council in June 2019, the Directive needs to be transposed into national law by 2 August 2021.
For more information: Clean vehicles directive website
Link to directive: Directive (EU) 2019/1161 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 amending Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles
The REACH Regulation came into force on 1 June 2007. It is a regulation of the EU, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. It also promotes alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances in order to reduce the number of tests on animals.
In principle, REACH applies to all chemical substances; not only those used in industrial processes but also in our day-to-day lives, for example in cleaning products, paints as well as in articles such as clothes, furniture and electrical appliances. Therefore, the regulation has an impact on most companies across the EU.
Further information related to the ongoing reviews and planned amendments to the REACH Annexes may be found on the website of DG Environment at the following link
The CPR lays down harmonised rules for the marketing of construction products in the EU. The Regulation provides a common technical language to assess the performance of construction products. It ensures that reliable information is available to professionals, public authorities, and consumers, so they can compare the performance of products from different manufacturers in different countries.
For more information: Construction Products Regulation website
Information on the review of the CPR: Review of the CPR link
Link to Regulation: Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC
EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC) and promoting the collection and recycling of such equipment (WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC) has been in force since February 2003. The legislation provides for the creation of collection schemes to increase the recycling and/or re-use of such products and requires heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) to be substituted by safer alternatives.
In December 2008, the European Commission proposed to revise the directives on electrical and electronic equipment in order to tackle the fast increasing waste stream of such products.
The RoHS and WEEE directives on electrical and electronic equipment were recast in 2011 and 2012 to tackle the fast increasing waste stream of such products. The aim is to increase the amount of waste EEE that is appropriately treated and to reduce the volume that goes to disposal.
For more information about the latest reviews of these directives, visit the website of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan
EU waste policy aims to contribute to the circular economy by extracting high-quality resources from waste as much as possible. The European Green Deal aims to promote growth by transitioning to a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. As part of this transition, several EU waste laws will be reviewed.
The Waste Framework Directive is the EU’s legal framework for treating and managing waste in the EU. It introduces an order of preference for waste management called the “waste hierarchy”.
Certain categories of waste require specific approaches. Therefore, as well as the overarching legal framework, the EU has many laws to address different types of waste. The EU Waste Framework Directive lays down some basic waste management principles.
Specific EU rules and regulations governing waste are also in force. These address batteries and accumulators, biodegradable waste, construction and demolition waste, end-of-life vehicles, landfill waste, mining waste, packaging waste, (PCBs/PCTs) and RoHS.
For more information: Waste and recycling website
In December 2018, the revised renewable energy directive 2018/2001/EU entered into force, as part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package aimed at keeping the EU a global leader in renewables and, more broadly, helping the EU to meet its emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement.
The recast directive moves the legal framework to 2030 and sets a new binding renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of at least 32%, with a clause for a possible upwards revision by 2023, and comprises measures for the different sectors to make it happen. This includes new provisions for enabling self-consumption of renewable energy, an increased 14% target for the share of renewable fuels in transport by 2030 and strengthened criteria for ensuring bioenergy sustainability.
Most of the other elements in the new directive need to be transposed into national law by Member States by 30 June 2021, when the original renewables directive will be repealed. As part of the European Green Deal, the Renewable Energy Directive is in the process of revision in 2021.
For more information: Renewable Energy Directive website
Link to directive: Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
There are many European regulations and directives related to food production, trading and safety. Some focus on animal welfare, some on feeding substances, others on fishing practices, several aim at controlling food quality to avoid the presence of substance residues or other toxic elements and finally there are regulations aimed at correct food labelling and identification.
In 2007, the EU Council agreed Council Regulation 834/2007 setting out the principles, aims and overarching rules of organic production and defining how organic products should be labelled. This Regulation, still in force, is also complemented by several Commission implementing acts on the production, distribution and marketing of organic goods. All these legislative acts are the legal basis that govern whether goods can be marketed as organic within the EU, including those that have been imported from non-EU countries. The regulations also define how and when the EU organic logo can be used. There are additional specific regulations governing aquaculture and wine production.
The new organic regulation (EU) 2018/848 was published in June 2018. It will apply from 1 January 2022. The European Commission is currently working on the implementing and delegated acts.
Public authorities need to be aware of their obligations with regard to waste management when specifying and purchasing goods, services and works. A number of EU measures apply in this regard, including specific Directives relating to packaging, electrical and electronic equipment, disposal of certain chemicals and oils, and end-of-life vehicles.
A useful overview of the relevant legislation is available here.
The EU's policy to fight illegal logging and associated trade was defined back in 2003 with the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. The key regions and countries targeted in the FLEGT Action Plan, which together contain nearly 60% of the world’s forest and supply a large proportion of internationally traded timber, are Central Africa, Russia, Tropical South America and Southeast Asia. The FLEGT Action Plan covers both supply and demand side measures to address illegal logging, and was endorsed by the EU Council of Ministers in November 2003.
The FLEGT Action Plan has led to two key pieces of legislation:
For more information: Illegal logging/FLEGT Action Plan (including evaluation of the FLEGT Action Plan) website
Standards are technical specifications defining requirements for products, production processes, services or test-methods. These specifications are voluntary. They are developed by industry and market actors following some basic principles such as consensus, openness, transparency and non-discrimination. Standards ensure interoperability and safety, reduce costs and facilitate companies' integration in the value chain and trade.
Public authorities should be aware of the available EU standards and make use of these as appropriate in their public procurement practices.
For more information: European standards website