Friday 8 December 2023

EU lawmakers reach deal on making sustainable products the norm

EU lawmakers reach deal on making sustainable products the norm

A provisional agreement has been reached between the European Parliament and the Council to make sustainable products the new norm in the EU.

They agreed on an update to the so-called “ecodesign” regulation that aims to improve products throughout their lifecycle to make them more durable and reliable, easier to reuse, upgrade, repair and recycle, use less resources, energy and water as well as contain fewer substances of concern and include more recycled content.

Under the new regulation, the Commission will prioritise a number of product groups in its first working plan, including textiles (especially garments and footwear), furniture (including mattresses), iron and steel, aluminium, tyres, paints, lubricants and chemicals, as well as energy-related products and electronics.

It will also contain novel measures to end the wasteful and environmentally harmful practice of destroying unsold consumer products.

The lawmakers also agreed on a direct ban on the destruction of unsold textiles and footwear products, with derogations for small companies and a transition period for medium-sized firms, with other sectors to be covered by such bans over time, if needed.

In addition, large companies will need to disclose how many unsold consumer products they discard every year and why.

A ‘Digital Product Passport’ is expected to help consumers and businesses make more sustainable product choices and enable authorities to improve enforcement of the legal requirements.

The ‘passport’ will be an easily accessible tag on products that will give instant access to information on the product’s sustainability.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said: “Today’s political agreement marks a very important milestone for the Green Deal. It will help us move from the hugely costly ‘take, make, break, and throw away’ model, to the circular economy in which our products are designed to last. As consumers, we will be able to benefit from durable and repairable products that have a lighter footprint on the Earth.

“By agreeing on a way forward today, the EU confirms its role as a global frontrunner in product sustainability. Let’s make sure we get there, by rapidly rolling out effective Ecodesign rules that target the most impactful products.”

The EU Parliament and Council will need to formally approve the agreement before it can come into force.

Written by

Sumit Bose

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