Product design determines up to 80% of a product’s lifecycle environmental impact. Therefore, the European Commission addresses the design stage and aims to make sustainable products the norm in the EU.
The 2022 Commission proposal for Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) sets new requirements to make products more durable, reliable, reusable, upgradable, reparable, easier to maintain, refurbish and recycle, and energy and resource efficient.
The ESPR will also enable the EU to set labelling requirements, for example on the reparability of products. The new EU Energy Labels will incorporate circularity aspects, such as a repair score, by means of supplementary information. Furthermore, product-specific information requirements will allow consumers to know the environmental impacts of their purchases.
All regulated products will have Digital Product Passports enabling products to be tagged, identified and linked to data relevant to their circularity. This will facilitate repair or recycle products as well as tracking substances of concern along the supply chain. Labelling can be introduced as well.
The 2022 regulation extends the existing Ecodesign framework in two ways:
- it covers the broadest possible range of products;
- it broadens the scope of the requirements with which products are to comply.
Measures supporting circular design of all products were first announced in the 2019 European Green Deal, as part of the efforts to turn the EU into a resource-efficient, net zero emissions economy by 2050.