20 April 2020

Consumer electronics at the heart of the new sustainable product policy

The European Commission’s recently unveiled Circular Economy Action Plan presents a renewed commitment to a transition towards more sustainable production and consumption.

Among the series of new initiatives planned by the European Commission, including the reform and expansion of the EU’s ecodesign framework, one sector in particular has seen a significantly ramped up level of ambition – consumer electronics.

At concrete product level, a number of new or reviewed ecodesign regulations are expected to be put forward in the coming years with a particular focus on material efficiency. Two products deserve to be highlighted here: 

  • Computers: The preparatory study on the review of the existing ecodesign regulation was completed in 2019, and new requirements – including the possibility of introducing a dedicated energy label for this product group – are expected to be discussed in the near future. In February, ECOS published a study outlining concrete policy recommendations for the new regulatory requirements. The report, launched during a dedicated webinar found that if ambitious ecodesign and labelling measures were to be introduced, the average lifetime of our laptop computers could be doubled, bringing about savings of some 5 million tonnes of CO2 as a result.  
  • Smartphones: After the #LongLiveMyPhone campaign, launched by Right to Repair, calling for the inclusion of smartphones in the ecodesign framework, the commitment to regulate this product group was enshrined in the CEAP. Preparatory study aimed at informing the new ecodesign measure is expected to start soon and will draw heavily from the recently published JRC study on the assessment of material efficiency of smartphones, to which ECOS contributed.

ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

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