The Coolproducts campaign teamed up with European Standardisation organisations, CEN and CENELEC, to organise a session within the official programme of the EUSEW 2019. The session, titled Ecodesign and Energy Labels: Setting standards for consumers, took place on 20 June and focused on exploring the importance of European standards in the future progress of ecodesign and energy labelling policies, and in keeping the consumer at the centre of the framework debate and a transition to a circular economy.
The panellists touched upon three main areas where the interaction between the regulatory framework and standards will be important:
standards and tests that better represent real-life conditions of product use and consumer behaviour,
the development of standards to support newly-adopted and currently developed material efficiency aspects, and
the future of the policy framework in terms of scope and environmental aspects.
With regards to representativeness of test methods, experts agreed that standard conditions need to be as close as possible to real life, without, however, compromising the need for the tests to also be repeatable, representative and affordable. Concerning standards for material efficiency, the project M/543 to develop horizontal methods for various aspects such as durability, repairability and recyclability is still under way, and will be important in setting the foundation for future regulatory discussions, and also in supporting the verification of such aspects with product-specific standards.
In addition, the panels discussed the role of the energy label in providing information about material efficiency aspects, as well as the ways in which these horizontal standards can contribute to the development of reliable assessment methods to provide the basis.
Finally, panellists and audience exchanged views on the extent to which new products (e.g. smartphones), and new aspects (e.g. chemicals) were expected to be covered by regulatory provisions, and also on how the ecodesign regulatory process can be sped up and keep up with market developments and product innovation.