From energy efficiency towards resource efficiency within the Ecodesign Directive

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The article examines the integration of resource efficiency into the European Ecodesign Directive. The purpose is to analyse the processes and stakeholder interactions, which formed the basis for integrating resource efficiency requirements into the implementing measure for vacuum cleaners and the voluntary agreement for imaging equipment. Based on the analysis, the following recommendations were made on how to strengthen the focus on resource efficiency in the Ecodesign Directive. It is legally possible within the Ecodesign Directive to set requirements to resource efficiency, but a focus on the most significant environmental impact has often resulted in a focus on energy efficiency in the use phase. Therefore, the Ecodesign Directive should continue to target resource efficiency aspects but also consider environ- mental aspects with a large improvement potential in addition to the most significant environmental impact. For the introduction of resource efficiency requirements into the Ecodesign Directive, these requirements have to be included in the preparatory study. It is therefore recommended to broaden the scope of the Methodology for the Ecodesign of Energy-related products and the EcoReport tool and to develop the necessary resource efficiency indicators. A continued pressure from the stakeholders is also important, and a recommendation is therefore to continue the open ecodesign process and strengthen stakeholder consultations during the preparatory study. The Directorate-General for Energy and The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs have the leadership of the main adopted product groups within the Ecodesign Directive. DG Environment is involved in the process and has a shared leadership of the preparatory study on washing machines and dishwashers. The role of DG Environment in the Ecodesign Directive could be strengthen in order to include broader environ- mental aspects and drive the resource efficiency and circular economy agenda. A final recommendation is to continue to expand the work on developing standards defining test methods and verification procedures on resource efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Pages (from-to)358-374
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2017


  • Ecodesign Directive
  • Resource Efficiency
  • Circular Economy


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