Background and aims of proposal
The European Commission made its proposal for a Regulation on Ecodesign for Sustainable Products in March 2022. It will expand the scope of and replace the current Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC) which applies to the energy efficiency of energy using products.
This initiative is a significant part of the European Green Deal and the Commission’s Circular Economy Package.
The main objectives of this proposal for a regulation are to:
- reduce the negative life cycle environmental impacts of products
- improve the functioning of the internal market
- build on existing successful ecodesign rules
It also aims to provide more meaningful information on the environmental aspects of products for consumers.
Ireland’s Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy 2022-2023 commits to the policy of significantly increasing the circularity of the Irish economy, with the aim of being above the EU average by 2030.
Supporting measures that impact on the design of goods and services will be most effective if they are agreed and implemented on an EU-wide basis. This provides a level playing field across the EU for producers and consumers and leverages the power of the Single Market to support the circular transition.
Main features of the proposal
Key features of this ESPR proposal include:
- a framework to set requirements – via delegated acts – for how products should be made
- requirements to provide information on the environmental sustainability of products – digital product passports will enable products to be tagged, identified and linked to information relevant to their circularity and sustainability
- putting a stop to the destruction of unsold consumer goods
- promoting and procuring more sustainable products
- designed to be coherent and aligned with existing and future sectoral legislation and policies (for example, the Commission’s strategy for sustainable textiles and the Construction Products Regulation)
Current position and next steps
Following intensive negotiations in the Internal Market Working Party, the European Council adopted its general approach on the proposed regulation at the Competitiveness Council on 22 May 2023.
Following trialogue negotiations with the European Parliament in the latter half of 2023, political agreement was reached in December, with formal adoption of the Regulation expected by Q1 2024.
The Departments of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and Environment, Climate and Communications are working with stakeholders to put in place appropriate institutional arrangements to implement the expanded Ecodesign for Sustainable Products legislation in Ireland.
A public consultation on this proposal was undertaken in 2022 and the responses were used to inform the Irish negotiation position.
Making sustainable products the norm in Europe (europa.eu)
Proposal for Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (europa.eu)