EU approves Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) as part of the European Green Deal
European Green Deal — Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) targets 2025 for mandatory sustainability shift
On 4 December 2023, the European Commission, Parliament, and Council reached a draft agreement on the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) to ensure the sustainability of all consumer products sold in Europe.
Background – European Green Deal & Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR)
ESPR is part of the European Green Deal, a comprehensive strategy to transform the European Union into a sustainable and resource-efficient economy by 2050. The ESPR is a key component of the Green Deal’s Circular Economy Action Plan, which aims to reduce waste and promote product reuse, repair, and recycling.
The ESPR, which replaces the previous draft regulation, the Ecodesign Directive, will set sustainability requirements for a wide range of products. It focuses on reducing environmental footprint, promoting reusability, repairability, energy and resource efficiency, and ensuring compliance with chemical usage regulations.
Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation — Key Takeaways
Expect implementation in 2025. Meanwhile, explore the top takeaways from the ESPR draft agreement.
EPDs for construction products, digital product passports for everything else
Traceability is key to the success of the new regulation. ESPR aims to introduce digital product passports (DPP) to consistently inform consumers and repair shops about various product categories, simplifying repair and recycling.
However, products covered by the Construction Products Regulation will use EN 15804-based Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). EPDs provide transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products within specific product categories. Other building products will use ISO 14067 or the EU’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology.
An end to planned obsolescence
Planned obsolescence is the practice of deliberately designing products to ensure they have a shorter lifespan. The new ESPR requirements aim to boost circularity and drive product durability, reusability, upgradability, and repairability. With this goal in mind, the ESPR will ban the destruction of unsold textiles, footwear, and electronic equipment, with some exceptions for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Sustainable products by design
By setting minimum requirements for all products being sold in Europe, including those manufactured outside of the EU, the ESPR could trigger a global revolution in sustainable product design.
Non-EU manufacturers must comply with the ESPR to sell their products in the EU Single Market. Manufacturers will need to consider the environmental impact of their products from the very beginning of the design process. This will help to create longer-lasting and more resource-efficient products.
Effective enforcement — including online
The proposed ESPR introduces measures for effective ecodesign requirement enforcement. Online marketplaces must cooperate with surveillance authorities to identify and remove non-compliant products. Additionally, market surveillance authorities will have the power to remove non-compliant products from online platforms.
To prevent circumvention, the ESPR will ban products with built-in mechanisms that detect testing conditions and alter their performance accordingly. This will ensure that products are evaluated based on their actual environmental impact rather than their ability to deceive testing procedures.
Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation — timeline and what’s next
- The European Parliament and Council will formally adopt the new regulation.
- Regulation effective 20 days after publication in the Official Journal.
- Adopting the first working plan to identify targeted products under the new regulation.
“It is time to end the model of ‘take, make, dispose’ that is so harmful to our planet, our health and our economy. New products will be designed in a way that benefits all, respects our planet and protects the environment.”
- Read: EU press release on the draft agreement: Commission welcomes provisional agreement for more sustainable, repairable and circular products
- Read: Legislative schedule
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