Coolproducts believes that Voluntary Agreements (VAs) are not sufficient to deliver beyond business as usual and with the same certainty as regulations.
Complex set top boxes, i.e. decoders for TVs, are a perfect example of the failure of VAs to deliver. During the last Ecodesign Consultation Forum in November, it was revealed that the VA on these products is non-compliant on a number of criteria for VAs as stipulated in official EC guidelines. For example, market coverage is well below the required 80% level, the added value is not demonstrated, and resource aspects are still not addressed at all, despite being a key demand of the guidelines.
In spite of this, there is no evidence that the Commission will take action to withdraw the recognition of this VA and adopt an alternative regulation as the rules foresee.
Coolproducts calls for a clear announcement by the Commission that this situation cannot be pursued.
The VA on game consoles faces other problems. The three main manufacturers have made relative efforts to optimise their products and to consider resource efficiency. However, the future commitments proposed on energy efficiency are not sufficiently challenging and definitely not driving the market towards a new generation of game consoles.
All these examples highlight that the constant vigilance and pressure from authorities is needed. They also question the claim that VAs can perform better and quicker with less resources than regulations.