The project consists of three parts:
1) From energy efficiency during use to resource efficiency
An important mean to improve the environmental profile of products is the EU Directive on Energy-related Products (ErP). So far, the Implementing Measures have primarily focused on energy consumption in the use phase – in contrast to the broader scope of the Directive. However, new initiatives in the EU, such as a stronger focus on Sustainable Materials Management, require a need to set requirements related to resource efficiency in the Implementing Measures.
The following investigations will be made
•Interviews with key stakeholders in EU, EU Parliament, NGOs, academia, etc. to highlight the different rationales and positions as well as the possibilities for resource efficiency as a core focus in the Ecodesign Directive
•Assessment of the linkages to other eco-design regulations with special attention to how choice of materials, durability, recyclability, etc. can be part of the Ecodesign Directive.
•A scanning of ongoing International product initiatives (e.g in Japan)
2) The role of the Ecodesign Directive within a broader policy package for improved resource efficiency
The Ecodesign Directive is a strong policy instrument. It sets minimum requirements for products, and creates a driver for innovation in industry by tightening the demands.
Energy labeling is influencing all product groups, while eco-labelling and green public procurement (GPP) especially is a driver for front-runner enterprises to get a competitive advantage on the market. At the same time, some enterprises are voluntarily implementing eco-design procedures as part of their product development and innovation processes.
This subtask will include the following investigations
•Experiences with a common knowledge platform (evidence base) between the different instruments? And can such a platform speed up the ErP process?
•How do small and medium sized companies see eco-design and the different policy instruments? Do SMEs’ understand the requirements, criteria and guidelines within their trade? And do they see eco-design as a relevant tool? (This investigation will be made in combination with the LIFE project with Danish Industry/DI).
•How should the relation be between minimum requirements in ErP and eco-label criteria/GPP guidelines in order to stimulate product innovation in enterprises?
•What is the role of standardization towards energy related products? Are there current efforts in European and international standardization of importance?
3) Resource efficiency in Eco-labels and an Implementing measure for one product group
One way to investigate the feasibility of setting up generic and/or specific requirements on environmental issues in ErP is to make an “alternative” Implementing Measure within a product group, where eco-label criteria such as the Nordic Swan already exist. However, in some cases the eco-labels such as Nordic Swan can also learn from the energy requirements in ErP directive e.g. in the case of washing machines. Of special interest is also, to what degree that the eco-labels are covering the important aspects of resource efficiency (beyond energy efficiency).