The MarketWatch project (April 2013 till March 2016) is a key project for the involvement of civil society organisations in market surveillance.  It is supported by the EU Intelligent Energy Europe program and involves 16 environmental and consumer NGO partners in 10 EU Member States. ECOS is an important partner in the project consortium, leading one Work Package and contributing to several others.

Insufficient market surveillance is one of the main obstacles to the full realisation of the energy saving potential of the EU Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives. It is  estimated that 10% to 20% of the expected savings might be wasted due to non-compliant products on the market. This translates into more than 100 TWh of annual final energy savings that could be missed in the EU (as much as the current residential electricity consumption in Eastern Europe).

National authorities in Member States are in charge of verifying the compliance of products with EU laws and sanctioning free riders. However, official activities are not the only condition and opportunity for creating a much more compelling climate of compliance and removing free riders’ sense of impunity. Civil society stakeholders can play a substantial role, provided they build more capacity, ramp up their expertise in this field and collaborate more at EU level.

The project includes a number of activities and operations that civil society organisations conduct towards this objective:

  • Raise awareness in the civil society community on the importance of the enforcement of Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations, as well as better centralise and share their practices in this area.
  • Conduct large campaigns of verification of the proper implementation by manufacturers and retailers of some of the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling requirements (through physical and on-line shop visits).
  • Use and mobilise test activities from independent organisations (such as private endorsement organisations and consumer associations) to identify suspicious products and assess the pertinence of official measurement standards.
  • Engage in a regular and constructive dialogue with national authorities in order to stimulate and inspire them, as well as establish procedures to better take into account the activities and findings from civil society organisations in market surveillance.
  • Use targeted and escalating means to increase the pressure on suspected free riders identified in the previous tasks (such as letters, naming & shaming in the media, etc.).

At the end of the project, there should be a much better understanding among civil society
organisations of the importance of market surveillance of Ecodesign and Energy Labelling. An EU network of active NGOs will be in place to share best practices, centralise and  analyse suspicious cases of non-compliance. Procedures will enable to report these findings to national authorities and encourage them to take action. Free riders should feel more watched by civil society.

More information: project website to be launched soon.