The European Commission (EC) is creating a new Sustainable Product Policy Framework (SPPF), enabling the single EU market to also influence global standards in product sustainability and product design and value chain management worldwide.
The SPPF-framework is part of the EU’s new Circular Action Plan, launched in March 2020, providing a future-oriented agenda to accelerate transformational change required by the European Green Deal. It aims to ensure that all actions and regulatory frameworks are streamlined and made fit for the future.
At the heart of the broader Sustainable Product Policy framework will lie a dedicated legislative initiative, which is currently being developed in the EC. The PPF-legislative initiative will be a tool to act on our ambitions to make products fit for a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular economy, while reducing waste and ensuring that the performance of front-runners in sustainability progressively becomes the norm. This will be done, among other things, through widening the scope of the existing Ecodesign Directive beyond energy-related products, making it applicable to the broadest possible range of products and services, and through proposing, as appropriate, additional legislative measures.
Previous EU initiatives and legislation, such as the Ecodesign Directive, EU Ecolabel, or the EU green public procurement (GPP) already address sustainability aspects of products, either on a mandatory or voluntary basis. However, there is no comprehensive framework to ensure that all products placed on the EU market become increasingly sustainable and stand the test of circularity. EU is now aiming to take a giant step further to make this happen.
Helena Braun, Member of the Cabinet of Frans Timmermans, the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the European Green Deal explains “We want the EU to transform into a smarter economy where less energy and primary resources are consumed and where new, more service-based business models can thrive. Products on the EU market should respect the highest sustainability standards and be durable, reusable, repairable and safe, designed for high-quality recycling, and increasingly made of recycled materials.
“We will start with the highest impact value chains such as electronics, ICT, packaging, textiles and furniture”, Braun said.
The Commission will consider the introduction of mandatory requirements to increase the sustainability not only of goods but also of services. The possibility to introduce requirements linked to environmental and social aspects along the value chain, from production through use to end of life, will also be carefully assessed, including in the context of World Trade Organization (WTO) -rules.
The SPPF legislative proposal is foreseen for adoption by the Commission at the end of 2021.