The new policy framework, known as the Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI), aims to foster responsible supply chains against greenwashing. There is a worldwide demand for more efficient and sustainable products to reduce energy and resource consumption. The EU’s sustainable product policy, eco-design legislation and energy labelling are effective tools for improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of products.
The transition towards a circular economy is already underway, aiming at making sustainable products the norm in the EU. Legislation on Sustainable Product Policy ensures that products placed on the EU market are designed to last longer, are easier to reuse, repair and recycle, and incorporate as much as possible recycled material instead of primary raw material.
The primary focus is on the sectors below that use the most resources and their circularity is high:
- Electronics and ICT – a ‘Circular Electronics Initiative’ to have longer product lifetimes, and improve the collection and treatment of waste
- Batteries and vehicles – new regulatory framework for batteries for enhancing the sustainability and boosting the circular potential of batteries
- Packaging – new mandatory requirements on what is allowed on the EU market, including the reduction of (over)packaging
- Plastics – new mandatory requirements for recycled content and special attention on microplastics as well as biobased and biodegradable plastics
- Textiles – a new EU Strategy for Textiles to strengthen competitiveness and innovation in the sector and boost the EU market for textile reuse
- Construction and buildings – a comprehensive Strategy for a Sustainably Built Environment promoting circularity principles for buildings
- Food – new legislative initiative on reuse to substitute single-use packaging and cutlery by reusable products in food services
The SPI’s criteria (e.g., environmental footprints) have a huge impact in many sectors such as: Electronics & ICT equipment, textiles, furniture, steel, cement & chemicals. The Commission is determined to set EU rules for mandatory sustainability labelling and/or disclosure of information to market actors in the form of a digital product passport. Such passports will foster the availability of data related to product’s content and carbon footprint and recyclability. Consumers will have access to reliable information on issues such as the reparability and durability of products to help them make environmentally sustainable choices.
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