11 March 2021

ECOS and EEB welcome European Parliament’s call for greener construction products: The European Commission must ‘raise the bar’

ECOS and EEB welcome the European Parliament’s approval of the report on the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), calling for an ambitious revision of the regulation. The European Commission must now take advantage of the potential of the CPR to green the construction sector, by excluding the most impactful and harmful products from the EU market.

Yesterday evening, the European Parliament approved a report calling for minimum performance requirements that construction products will need to meet before they are put on the EU market. The resolution was adopted with 686 votes in favour (4 against, 5 abstentions).[1]

MEPs call on the European Commission to enhance the current CPR regulation with requirements for environment, health, and safety. Such stricter requirements are intended to make construction products and buildings more sustainable.

In the EU, manufacturing of construction products alone contributes 250 million tonnes of CO2 annually. Based on the way products are regulated and used today, buildings and construction account for ½ of all raw materials consumed, 1/3 of fresh water used, and 1/3 of waste generated.[2]

The European Parliament’s call comes as very positive news: a direct integration of EU environmental policies into the construction sector legislation is long overdue. The current CPR, which largely relies upon technical standards, has proven to be ineffective as a policy tool for reducing the impacts of the sector. The EC now have a mandate to develop the most effective framework for doing so.

ECOS and EEB therefore urge the European Commission to look beyond short-term fixes, and heed calls from the European Parliament to finally tackle the environmental impacts of construction products in the EU.

Michael Neaves, Programme Manager at ECOS, said:

‘The European Commission must raise the bar for construction products, and exclude the worst performers from the market. A standards-only approach will not guarantee progress, and stronger policy tools are needed to achieve this. Introducing a framework for direct EU information and performance requirements for all aspects is the only way to meet the EU climate law targets and give Europe a first mover advantage’.

Gonzalo Sánchez, Policy Officer at EEB, underlined:

‘EU construction product policy has great potential to create a market of products that help make our built environment more sustainable, supported by strong market surveillance and delivering zero carbon emissions in the construction sector in order to meet the EU’s 2050 environmental target. The market is currently dominated by highly impactful products, and direct integration of EU environmental policies into construction sector legislation is long overdue, so this is an important step towards policy in support of a sustainable built environment’.

Next steps in the CPR review:

  • 24th March 2021 – CPR revision consultation validation workshop (DG GROW)
  • Q3 2021 – Legislative proposal for revision of the CPR
  • TBD – EU Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment
Notes to editors: 

[1] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210304IPR99225/meps-call-for-higher-standards-for-construction-products

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=groupDetail.groupMeetingDoc&docid=35639

Further background information can be found in ECOS report From barrier to enabler: Towards a greener EU construction products policy: https://ecostandard.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/ECOS-PAPER-TOWARDS-A-GREENER-CONSTRUCTION-PRODUCTS-POLICY.pdf 

ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

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