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General

Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) (GEN – 1219.00)

18 March 2021

3 min read
European Policy
General

Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) (GEN – 1219.00)

18 March 2021

3 min read

GEN – 1219.00. The Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) is a key part of the new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), one of the main flagships of the European Green Deal, and a pillar of the New Industrial Strategy for Europe. Through the public consultation, the Commission is gathering opinions from the public and relevant stakeholders on the main policy options for a Sustainable Products Directive that might be published still before the end of 2021.

Roadmap

The SPI will aim to make products fit for a climate neutral, resource efficient and circular economy, reduce waste and make sustainability principles a norm. As announced in the new CEAP, the core of the SPI will be to widen the scope of the Ecodesign Directive beyond energy-related products and may even include (including services. Besides widening the scope, the proposal would also address harmful chemicals.

The Commission released an Inception Impact Assessment that received input from 193 stakeholders between September and November 2020 with Eurovent providing its input on 16 November 2020.

Objectives

The Commission will consider complementary legislative proposals to regulate the following sustainability aspects: product durability, reusability, upgradability and reparability; the presence of hazardous chemicals in products; energy and resource efficiency; recycled content in products; remanufacturing and high-quality recycling; carbon and environmental footprints; restrictions to single-use and premature obsolescence; a ban on the destruction of unsold durable goods; circular business models; digitalisation of product information and ways to reward the most sustainable products.

It will also strengthen information requirements and establish a digital product passport that gathers data on a product along its value chain to enable consumers and businesses to understand the composition and properties of products, and enable compliance authorities to better fulfil their duties

Priority products under the Sustainable Product Policy legislative initiative identified in the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) are electronics, ICT, textiles, furniture and high-impact intermediary products such as steel, cement and chemicals. Further product groups are to be identified based on their environmental impact and circularity potential.

The Commission will also seek to increase the effectiveness of the current Ecodesign framework for energy-related products, including through the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan 2020-2024.

The main questions in the 26 pages consultation questionnaire relate to:

  • Challenges to making products sustainable
  • Measures to make sustainable products the norm
  • Design for sustainability – sustainability requirements for products
  • Responsibility for information, including Digital Product Passport(s)
  • Avoidance of destruction of goods
  • Circular business models
  • Incentives for circularity
  • Compliance with and enforcement of sustainability requirements

Methodology of Ecodesign for Energy related Products (MEErP)

Since the 12 November 2020 stakeholder on the MEErP no new documents have been posted on the project website. However, that is carrying out the revision is issued a brief statement that it has made progress on Task 1 related to the update of the EcoReport Tool and on Task 2 related to the consideration of material efficiency aspects.

Ecodesign Working Plan

The 2nd stakeholder meeting will take place on 26 March 2021. Among the possible new product groups figure ‘swimming pool heaters’ and ‘industrial smart sensors’. For the announced horizontal issues such as ‘ecological profile’, ‘durability’ and ‘critical raw materials’ no preparatory reports are available.

Response by European associations

Since mid-2020 the informal gathering of European associations (APPLiA, Cecimo, Digital Europe, EHI, EHPA, EPEE, EPTA, Europe-on, Eurovent, eu-nited, EVIA, GCP Europe, JBCE, KEA, Lighting Europe, Orgalim) has been developing a letter that would be addressed to the Commissioners and Directors of DG ENV, DG GROW and DG ENER. While the initial objective had been clear: keep the current Ecodesign framework for Energy related Product (ErP) and have non-ErP products covered by a different framework, the progress on the letter has been slow. The latest draft that is likely to go out before the end of March is attached.

Recommended actions

The SPI is ambitious and when adopted will introduce many more challenge for the industry. Eurovent will draft its reply to the questionnaire, however associations and manufacturers are recommended to respond to the questionnaire too, before 9 June.

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