The Council and the Parliament have today reached a provisional political agreement on the proposed regulation establishing a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for sustainable products. The new regulation replaces the existing 2009 directive and enlarges the scope of the current legislation (up to now limited to energy-related products) to set the performance and information requirements for all kind of goods placed in the EU market.
The provisional agreement frames the scope of the regulation, empowers the Commission to set, when necessary, the conditions for the destruction of unsold goods and clarifies several dispositions of the regulation in the areas of penalties and online marketplaces.
Eco-requirements and digital passport
The ecodesign regulation would be applicable to almost all categories of products (i.e. dishwashers, televisions, windows, car chargers, etc). It establishes a harmonised framework for setting of requirements for specific product groups to make them not only energy and resource-efficient (as it was the case in the existing 2009 directive) but also more durable, reliable, reusable, upgradable, reparable, recyclable and easier to maintain. The Commission will be able to propose new requirements by delegated acts when new kinds of products or technologies call for it.
The regulation also aims at facilitating the movement of such products in the Single Market. A new “Digital Product Passport” will provide information about products’ environmental sustainability. It will help consumers and businesses to make informed choices when purchasing products and help public authorities to better perform checks and controls. The proposal also establishes provisions regarding transparency and prevention of destruction of unsold consumer products.
Main elements of the agreement
The provisional agreement excludes motor vehicles from the groups of products covered by this regulation when those are already regulated in other pieces of legislation. Products that have an impact on defense or national security will also be out of scope in line with the treaties.
Empowerment of the Commission
The agreement empowers the Commission to adopt ecodesign requirements for products to improve their environmental sustainability, by delegated acts. The industry, as well as national administrations, will have 18 months, after the adoption of the delegated act, to adapt to the new the eco-design requirements. However, in some duly justified cases, the Commission can set an earlier date of application.
Co-legislators have also agreed that the Commission will be able to adopt, by implementing acts, mandatory requirements for public procurement contracts to incentivise the supply and demand for environmentally sustainable products.
Destruction of unsold goods
The General approach introduces a direct-ban on the destruction of textiles and footwear. Small and micro companies will be exempted of this ban, while medium size companies will benefit of a 6-year exemption. This ban will be applicable two years after the entry into force of the regulation. The Commission will also be empowered to introduce new bans for to the destruction of other unsold products by delegated acts.
The provisional agreement calls the Commission to evaluate the improvements in the environmental sustainability of the requirements adopted, together with other criteria like their life-cycle or environmental, carbon and material footprints.
The provisional agreement establishes some harmonization criteria for penalties in case of non-compliance of the Ecodesign requirements, but it will be for the competent authorities of the Member States to determine which penalties should be imposed in the event of an infringement.
The provisional agreement aligns the obligations of online marketplaces to the Digital Services Act, in terms of cooperation with member state’s market surveillance authorities to make sure that the European legislation is respected in the products sold online.
The current Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC has established energy efficiency requirements covering 31 product groups. According to Commission’s calculations this saved EUR 120 billion in energy expenditure and led to a 10% lower annual energy consumption by the products in scope.
The new proposal, presented by the Commission on 30th March 2022, builds on the existing Ecodesign Directive, but propose new requirements such as product durability, reusability, upgradability, and reparability, presence of substances that inhibit circularity; energy and resource efficiency; recycled content, remanufacturing, and recycling; carbon and environmental footprints and information requirements, including a Digital Product Passport.
The Council adopted its general approach on 23 May 2023.
The provisional agreement reached with the European Parliament now needs to be endorsed and formally adopted by both institutions.