EC Conference on Product Policy: “International Trends in Ecodesign and Energy Labelling”

On 20th and 21st February European Commission’s DG ENERGY, ENTR, and ENV jointly organised in Brussels a High Level International conference on Product Policy, focused on “International trends in Ecodesign and Energy Labelling.” Consumers, European and International Industries, external partner and some SMEs took part in the discussion, bringing their experiences and suggestions.Both Directives contribute to 2020 targets for energy-efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions, and more than 30 implementing regulation were adopted on their drive. Nevertheless this regulatory framework is now under revision and there was a broad consensus among the panelist that more can still be done to improve the results in term of market and energy efficiency.Six workshops were organised to discuss in detail inter-related products topics, as for instance the impact of the Directive in the EU, the assessment of the possibilities for a more convergent global legislative and standardisation framework and the exchange of International good practices and the state of play of the market surveillance.A wide attention was given to consumers’ perspective: if it’s true that the Ecodesign Directive was taken as a positive example for consumers’ consultation, the introduction of different ranges of energy efficiency in the label for different products has generated some confusion among customers. More simplicity and clarity is demanded, as nowadays consumers rely on label information to decide upon their purchases. Moreover, the EU needs to enforce the dialogue with third countries, to compare its standards and embrace a more global viewpoint. In this regards, many international keynote speakers witnessed their national practices, to show possible convergent fields, as the challenge to tackle has a global dimension.Several studies proved a positive impact of the two Directives on the industry and on single companies, even if it was remarked that for SMEs the inclusion in this framework is very difficult, and if good results are achieved this is mainly due to the culture governing individual business.
Focus was also made on the market surveillance efficiency on products and product security. Market surveillance is fragmented: both keynote speakers and audience asked for a unified market surveillance system, which should
serve as a deterrent and induce a consistent behavior regarding compliance with the standards. For surveillance, more collaboration between the authorities is needed and among the panelist there has been someone who advanced the idea of a future European Surveillance Agency.

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