The Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation builds upon the success of the Ecodesign Directive, which has played a key role in enhancing energy efficiency across EU products for nearly two decades.

The legislation empowers authorities to progressively establish performance and information requirements for key products entering the EU market.

Unlike its predecessor, the new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation expands its focus beyond energy efficiency, emphasising circularity. Key aspects include:

  • Product durability, reusability, upgradability, and repairability.
  • Presence of chemical substances inhibiting reuse and recycling.
  • Energy and resource efficiency.
  • Recycled content.
  • Carbon and environmental footprints.
  • Availability of product information, including the introduction of a Digital Product Passport.

A ban on the destruction of unsold textiles and footwear

An aspect of the Ecodesign framework addresses the environmentally harmful practice of destroying unsold consumer products. Companies will be obligated to prevent this wasteful practice, and a direct ban on the destruction of unsold textiles and footwear has been introduced, with provisions for small companies and transitional periods for medium-sized ones. Other sectors may witness similar bans in the future.

Additionally, large companies must disclose annually the number of unsold consumer products discarded and provide reasons for their disposal, discouraging businesses from engaging in this detrimental practice.

“It is time to end the model of “take, make, dispose” that is so harmful to our planet, our health and our economy,” said rapporteur Alessandra Moretti. “New products will be designed in a way that benefits all, respects our planet and protects the environment.

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“Sustainable products will become the norm, allowing consumers to save energy, repair and make smart environmental choices when they are shopping. Banning the destruction of unsold textiles and footwear will also contribute to a shift in the way fast fashion manufacturers produce their goods.”

Empowering consumers with information

The Ecodesign framework places a strong emphasis on empowering consumers with information. A ‘Digital Product Passport’ will serve as an easily accessible tag on products, offering instant access to sustainability details. This initiative aims to not only be beneficial for consumers but also aid customs and market surveillance authorities in enforcing legal requirements.

The regulation also contemplates the possibility of additional product information through labels, similar to the EU Energy Label. For instance, labels could display a reparability score.

Next steps and background

To ensure predictability and transparency, parliament will maintain and regularly update a comprehensive list of products based on analysis and criteria linked to climate, environment, and energy efficiency objectives.

High-impact products, such as textiles, furniture, iron and steel, aluminium, tires, paints, lubricants, chemicals, as well as energy-related and electronic products, will receive priority attention.

This milestone stems from the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan under the European Green Deal, recognising the imperative need to address the environmental impacts caused by products throughout their lifecycle.

Recommendations have been flying in since parliament’s negotiating mandate for the EU Ecodesign framework on 12 July, to which the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) argued it could push Europe out of the fashion market.

In the same month, trade bodies also expressed disappointment with the framework’s lack of clarity and missed key opportunities during the initial proposal by parliament.

The agreement awaits formal adoption by the European Parliament and the Council. Once adopted, the regulation will come into force on the 20th day following its publication in the Official Journal. Subsequently, the first working plan under the new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation will be adopted to identify the targeted products.