European Parliament at the finish line on key environmental legislation impacting home appliances
4 min read

European Parliament at the finish line on key environmental legislation impacting home appliances

In its final plenary session before the upcoming EU Elections, the European Parliament has formally adopted four significant legislative texts for the home appliance sector: The Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR); The Right to Repair Directive; The Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation; The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.
For the home appliance industry, this legislative package signifies a transformative shift towards more sustainable practices and greater consumer empowerment. Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA Director General, commented on these significant developments, "It is right at the finish line of this Parliament that we welcome the adoption of very important legislation. We stand ready to work on the secondary legislation that will now follow to achieve the best possible results for consumers, the environment, and the industry."
The Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR)

The Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) sets out a new framework of legal requirements designed to further improve, among others, the durability, reusability, and repairability of products while adding a focus on transparency of information to facilitate circularity and sustainable practices.

With the legacy of the outstanding energy efficiency progress achieved for home appliances over the last decades, the new Regulation continues the good practice of the current Ecodesign Directive in setting specific requirements for each product group through secondary legislation, taking into account individual characteristics of products.

“Even within individual categories of equipment in our sector, the products and their environmental impacts differ significantly,” said Korrina Hegarty, APPLiA Senior Director for Environment Policy. There is no one-size-fits-all in making sustainable products the norm in Europe. Sustainability requirements for products need a tailored approach to guarantee they lead to genuinely more sustainable outcomes. According to Hegarty, “trade-offs between various policy objectives, such as circularity and sustainability greatly influence design choices and environmental impacts. For legislation to be effective, we must acknowledge that sustainability is a multi-dimensional issue, and there are multiple ways to reach more sustainable products. Products should last longer, use less material to give the same performance, be forever repairable, and use more recycled material. These options are viable, and they should all be equally rewarded.”

Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation

The European Parliament has taken a significant step towards environmental sustainability by passing a new Packaging Regulation that aims to streamline packaging practices across the European Union, replacing the current Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

The Regulation, drafted in response to growing concerns over plastic pollution and environmental harm, introduces new measures to address packaging recyclability: establish labeling standards, set mandatory reuse targets, and impose limitations on certain single-use packaging. Economic operators are urged to minimise packaging usage to reduce environmental impact further.

APPLiA recognises the importance of promoting the environmental sustainability of packaging through regulatory measures but highlights the need for a further impact assessment on certain provisions.Reusable packaging has the potential to be better for the environment, but its overall impact depends on various factors,” says Franziska Decker, APPLiA Policy Manager for Environment. "We welcome the assurance by the Commission to address feasibility, transport efficiency, safety, and economic constraints in a dedicated impact assessment. This assessment will be crucial to avoid any potential disruptions in supply chains and unintended negative environmental impacts."

Right to Repair Directive

Under the new rules, manufacturers must offer affordable repair services, and inform consumers about their right to repair. When a product is repaired within the legal guarantee, consumers will be granted an extra year of guarantee, incentivising them to choose repair over replacement. The measure, unfortunately, misses the maximum harmonisation, further fragmenting a very complex landscape of consumer protection across Europe. Outside the legal guarantee, manufacturers will be bound to continue offering repair services for some home appliances whose range will significantly grow over the next couple of years. The new legislation acknowledges that promoting repair over replacement not only benefits the environment but also serves consumer interests by extending the lifespan of products. "Right to Repair legislation will further improve an already excellent situation as far as Home Appliances are concerned"commented Candice Richaud, APPLiA Senior Policy Manager for Corporate issues. “Today, 91% of the repair demands, handled by our members, actually result in a repair.”

What matters most, is the seamless integration of the Right to Repair Directive with existing regulations, such as the ESPR, to ensure consumer safety during repairs. Some repairs involve high-risk components like electrical parts, requiring proper tools and professional expertise for safe operation. The creation of a European registry of repairers is a welcome tool, as it would help consumers to identify the right experts in the unlucky event that an appliance would need repair.

Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive

Through this piece of legislation, The Parliament acknowledged that companies have a responsibility to consider social, environmental, and human rights issues alongside their economic and financial performance. At APPLiA, we believe that the improvements made over the past years are proof of the already significant contributions of the home appliance sector to the EU climate and environmental targets. The Parliament raises the bar to another level by adding specific social and human rights provisions along the entire supply chain.

We, at APPLiA, believe that maximum harmonisation would have been the only way to protect the internal market and avoid fragmenting it with different rules. At the same time, "companies cannot be prosecuted for misconduct outside their direct sphere of influence and not for the behaviour (actions and omissions) of independent third parties", said Paolo Falcioni, commenting on the final text. We support that companies identify human rights violations or environmental risks, along their supply chain - he added. Yet, the inclusion of all downstream business relationships will be extremely difficult to monitor due to the value chain’s complexity.

Publish your Press Releases

Interested in our free daily E-news