Sven Giegold

Good news for climate, circular economy & innovation: EU countries adopt regulation for sustainable products (eco-design)

Dear friends,

Today, the Council of EU Member States adopted the next big milestone of the European Green Deal. The new Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) will make sustainable products the standard in the EU internal market.

The previous Ecodesign Directive will thus be comprehensively modernised. In future, products will have to be energy efficient and also durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable in order to be offered on the EU internal market.

Please share my tweet with this good news here (in German):

As is so often the case, really great progress is happening in Brussels without anyone really noticing. This regulation in particular now deserves a lot of coverage and public discussion before it is finally decided. Here is also the video excerpt of my speech at the beginning of the session.

With strong ecological product standards, Europe will become the lead market for sustainable products. This will strengthen innovation and competitiveness just as much as climate protection and the circular economy. Because the rules apply to domestic as well as imported products.

The new regulation gives the EU Commission the right to set detailed sustainability standards for almost all product groups in the form of “delegated acts”. This means that the European Parliament will have a real say in the future.

Today’s draft itself does not contain any ecodesign requirements, but sets the framework for the adoption of future ecodesign requirements. A change in the legal situation for the products affected by ecodesign will thus only occur with new product regulations.

The specific product groups for new sustainable standards are defined in a work plan. There will be broad public consultation! In general, consumer electronics and textiles are expected to be tackled quickly.

All physical products will then fall within the scope of the law, with the exception of food and feed, human and veterinary medicines, live plants and animals, and vehicles.

In addition, the ESPR now contains regulations on a ban on the destruction of unsold consumer goods. We had lobbied for this with France, among others. The compromise reached on this will put a direct stop to the destruction of resources in the case of textiles.

Our German Federal Government also successfully campaigned for the additional inclusion of recycling, remanufacturing and material recovery as independent product aspects in the sense of the circular economy. Thanks to the Federal Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection (BMUV) and my State Secretary colleagues Udo Philipp and Franziska Brantner!

The draft also provides that economic actors with voluntary initiatives can also issue their own standards if the same goals can be achieved in a reasonable (shorter) time or with fewer resources.

The German government has always advocated ambitious targets and a speedy conclusion of the negotiations and in this spirit also supports today’s common position of the Council of member states.

Due to the broad scope of application of the ESPR, a considerable additional workload for the customs authorities and a corresponding increase in personnel costs are forecast. For this reason, we will pay attention to a low-effort customs procedure in the design.

In the implementation of the previous ecodesign product requirements, the full savings potential was not exploited for many product groups. We have therefore achieved that the Commission will also examine the implementation of a frontrunner approach when evaluating the ESPR.

Now the European Parliament still has to define its position. Then come the trilogue negotiations between Parliament, Council and EU Commission. But the biggest hurdle for most EU laws is the first agreement in the Council of Member States. We managed to do that today!

Please share my tweet with this good news here (in German):

The latest media information from our Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) on today’s decision can be found here (in German).

Despite all the debates in Germany, we at the BMWK continue to work hard and consistently on the European Green Deal to bring sustainability and economic strength forward in equal measure. Thanks to all involved officials in the BMWK and the BMUV and the entire government!

In any case, I will not let myself be distracted by nasty campaigns against the transformation from our task, but will continue to work – mostly behind the scenes – on the traffic light agenda for ecological, social and economic progress!

With pleased European greetings,

Yours, Sven Giegold

Category: BMWK

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