MEPs in plenary adopted a report prepared by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) on revising the EU’s ecodesign framework for sustainable products, by 473 votes in favour, 110 against and 69 abstentions.
In their negotiating mandate, MEPs strengthen the measures proposed by the Commission to ensure longer product lifespans and better-informed consumers.
The lifetime of a product should not be limited through design features. Software updates, consumables (e.g. ink cartridges, light bulbs, coffee pads), spare parts and accessories must also be available for an appropriate period. A new “product passport” containing accurate and up-to-date information would be set up to increase transparency and enable consumers to make informed purchasing choices.
The text asks the Commission to prioritise the setting of sustainability requirements for several product groups in the upcoming ecodesign measures, such as iron, steel, aluminium, textiles, furniture, tyres, detergents, paints, lubricants, and chemicals. MEPs also want a specific ban on destroying unsold textiles and electrical and electronic equipment.
The EEB praises the Parliament’s vote, which confirmed several improvements on the Commission’s original proposal. Key additions made by the Parliament include:
Identifying high-impact product groups to be prioritised in secondary legislation
Strengthening the approach for tracking and restricting substances of concern found in products
Introducing an outright ban on the destruction of unsold electronics and textiles
Providing clearer measures to support a right to repair products and prevent early obsolescence
However, according to the EEB, the parliament failed to respond to calls from campaigners and industry to address the risk of non-compliant products entering the European market through online sales. On this point, the Parliament further reduced already weak responsibilities for online marketplaces. Effectively, a green light to continue to flood the market with unsustainable products. Online marketplaces and retailers based outside the EU commonly sell products that do not meet European sustainability and safety requirements.
Campaigners also regretted that the Parliament’s position left open the possibility for weak voluntary initiatives to substitute legal requirements, and social sustainability and due diligence remained out of the scope.
Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, Policy Manager for Circular Economy at the EEB said:
“On an important day for environmental policymaking, the European Parliament’s vote on ecodesign introduces a much-needed toolkit to drastically reduce the impact of our everyday products. Building on the success of ecodesign and energy labelling, the new regulation should save emissions and consumer expenditure. It is regrettable, however, that lawmakers continue to ignore the risk of non-compliant products entering the market from online sales – creating unfair competition for European industry and undermining the effectiveness of future requirements.”
Valeria Botta, Head of Circular Economy & Nature at ECOS – Environmental Coalition on Standards, said:
“Today’s vote is a major accomplishment. The ESPR is a key piece of legislation with a ripple effect that will reverberate for years. It opens the door for many sectors to finally be put under the spotlight – reconceptualising how products must be designed. The European Parliament has shown willingness to lead, calling for an end to premature obsolescence, a ban on the destruction of unsold goods (starting with textiles and electronics), a reduction of chemical pollution from everyday products, and a focus on addressing the EU’s harmful material footprint.”