EU Parliament sends strong signal for more sustainable products
As announced in its flagship Green Deal back in December 2019, the EU is getting serious about moving to a more sustainable production and consumption model. Today, the EU Parliament has come up with a flurry of ambitious recommendations to benefit both consumers and the environment. The adopted report on the circular economy1 aims to inform the EU Commission’s different legislative initiatives due this year2.
What are the Parliament’s main pro-consumer demands?
- Sustainable products should become the norm. To get there, Ecodesign measures are to be revised to go beyond energy-efficiency. In other words, on top of being more energy-efficient, all products should become more resource-efficient, durable, easier to repair, toxic-free, upgradeable, and reusable.
- The ‘right to repair’ should finally become a reality. To counter early discards of defective products, the adopted report calls for pro-consumer measures such as availability of spare parts, software updates, maximum delivery time for spare parts, etc.
- Consumers should get better information. Today, consumers lack information about how to get their broken products fixed and often end up buying new ones. To make products last longer, both consumers and independent repairers should have easier access to repair information. To further help consumers choose the best-in-class green products in the first place, the EU Parliament calls for an EU Ecolabel applied to more products.
- Consumers’ rights should get stronger. The legal guarantee period is two years by law but after six months, the burden of proof for the product’s lack of conformity shifts to consumers, who often struggle to get their rights enforced. The Parliament rightly encourages the Commission to extend the legal guarantee and reverse the burden of proof rules for some key product categories.
Today’s text complements an earlier report3 that the EU Parliament adopted recently, which aimed at easing repair and fighting greenwashing. Both EU Parliament’s reports give a strong basis to the EU Commission to come up with ambitious legislative proposals.
- Factsheet on premature obsolescence
- BEUC press release on the Circular Economy Action Plan, ‘EU makes bold pledge for resource-friendly consumer goods’, March 2020.
BEUC is part of PROMPT, an EU–funded research project which pushes for products to be designed to last. More info in this factsheet.
1 The ENVI Committee report of MEP Jan Huitema on the New Circular Economy Action Plan (2020/2077(INI)) has been adopted by 574 votes (with 22 against and 95 abstentions).
2 The EU legislative proposal ‘Empowering the consumer in the green transition’ is expected this Spring. The Sustainable Products initiative – which will modernise the Ecodesign Directive – is due later this year.
3 Report of IMCO Committee led by MEP Cormand ‘Towards a more sustainable single market for business and consumers’.