The EU Ecodesign Directive: how to better fulfil its potential?

The EU Ecodesign Directive: how to better fulfil its potential?

The Directive on the Ecodesign of Energy-Related Products is one of the most concrete and promising EU instruments to save energy and reduce the environmental impact of products. It is increasingly cited by policymakers as central to delivery of the EU's 20% energy saving target. Environmental NGOs consider its implementation an utmost priority, and have been monitoring the development of its implementing measures for 4 years now.

Figures show that the energy-using products falling within the Directive’s current scope are responsible for half of the EU’s energy consumption. Ambitious measures could save more than 1000 TWh of final energy per year by 2020 (as much as the electricity consumption of Germany and UK combined). This would realise half of the EU’s 2020 objective on energy efficiency; no other single policy has such a potential to grasp ‘low hanging fruits’ for climate policies. From our experience, we see that this policy process has yielded some positive results - mostly with the first implementing measures adopted in 2009.

However the accumulation of delays and difficulties since then in dealing with some of the more complex product categories demonstrates that certain aspects of the decision-making process could beneficially be improved and optimised. This is the aim of this document to provide opinions and suggestions in that respect. The year 2011 provides an excellent opportunity for addressing these aspects, as three studies have been launched by the European Commission to assess the functioning of the directive (to prepare its 2012 review), revise its methodology and prepare its next Working Plan. In addition, other legislation in preparation (such as the Energy Efficiency Directive) could offer opportunities to complement or strengthen the impact of the Ecodesign process.

Download the position paper here.