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Sustainable product policy & ecodesign

Sustainable product policy & ecodesign

There is world-wide demand for more efficient and sustainable products to reduce energy and resource consumption. The EU sustainable product policy as well as the legislation on ecodesign and energy labelling are effective tools for improving the energy efficiency  and sustainability of products. They help eliminate the least performing products from the market and support industrial competitiveness and innovation by promoting the better environmental performance of products throughout the internal market.

Sustainable product policy

To help reach the green deal objectives of lower resource consumption and less environmental impact, we are developing a sustainable product initiative. With this legal framework, we’re bringing all products produced or sold in the EU in line with technical standards for sustainability. In developing the sustainable product legislative initiative and other complementary approaches, we will improve coherence with existing instruments regulating products in various phases of their life cycle.

We will explore various options, taking into account the priority product groups identified in the value chains featuring in the new circular economy action plan (e.g. electronics, ICT and textiles, but also furniture and high impact intermediary products such as steel, cement and chemicals). Scenarios will include a widening of the Ecodesign Directive's scope to cover a wide range of products, beyond energy-related products. We will also analyse additional legislative and non-legislative actions including, but not limited to

  • better implementation of existing relevant legislation
  • overarching product policy principles and minimum sustainability and information requirements for most relevant products
  • rules on extended producer responsibility for sustainability, making producers responsible for intervention before products become waste (take-back schemes, providing products as a service, providing repair services, guarantees for spare parts availability)
  • EU rules for requirements on mandatory sustainability labelling and disclosure of information to consumers on products along value chains
  • EU rules for mandatory minimum sustainability requirements on public procurement of products
  • measures on raw materials and products (e.g. certifications demonstrating due diligence to eliminate child or slave labour and environmental impacts)
  • measures on production processes (e.g. to facilitate recycled content or remanufacturing and to minimise the use of hazardous substances)

Ecodesign

The legal framework

  • The Ecodesign Directive provides consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of products, such as household appliances, information and communication technologies or engineering. The directive sets out minimum mandatory requirements for the energy efficiency of these products. This helps prevent creation of barriers to trade, improve product quality and environmental protection. FAQ (600 kB)
  • The Energy Labelling Regulation may complement those ecodesign requirements with mandatory labelling requirements

The ecodesign directive and the energy labelling regulation also establishes a consultation forum (X03609) to consult stakeholders on the implementation of the directive and regulation. The list of members includes representatives from EU countries, industry and civil society. The group is open for observers from candidate and EFTA countries, and from organisations that have a legitimate interest in the discussion.

Product-specific regulations

The Ecodesign Directive is implemented through product-specific regulations, directly applicable in all EU countries.

See the lists of all ecodesign and energy labelling regulations. See also the list of all voluntary agreements.

Harmonised standards

Ecodesign and energy labelling regulations are complemented by harmonised European standards. These technical specifications indicate that a product complies with the mandatory requirements. Only then can the manufacturer affix the CE marking and sell it in the EU.

Market surveillance

National market surveillance authorities verify whether products sold in the EU follow the requirements laid out in ecodesign and energy labelling regulations. See the list of national contact points (sector 23) in charge of market surveillance under the ecodesign directive.

International aspects

A number of non-EU countries (USA, Australia, Brazil, China and Japan) have legislation similar to the EU’s ecodesign and energy labelling directives.

An international conference on product policy was organised by the Commission in February 2014.

Support tools for SMEs

The enterprise Europe network ecodesign SME specific action project provides advice to SMEs on ecodesign as part of an overall business strategy.

Support tools for experts

Methodology for the ecodesign of energy-related products (MEErP)

The methodology for the ecodesign of energy-related products is used to prepare draft implementing measures.

Material efficiency study for MEErP (published in December 2013)

MEErP : The final report of the study (published in December 2011)

MEEuP : Documents related to the 2005 MEEuP for energy – using products

Working plans

The ecodesign working plan sets out a list of products that are a priority for implementing measures

Documents and links