As the European Green Deal turned one just a few days ago, the EU Parliament steps forwards towards tackling premature obsolescence, one of the Green Deal’s priorities. On 25 November 2020, members of the EU Parliament voted for more durable and repairable products. In practice, MEPs adopted a report highlighting the need to encourage more sustainable business practices and consumer choices.
Such demands include a call for a ‘right to repair’, which aims to make repair easier and cheaper for consumers. Sustainable products need to become the norm, and to that end, practices that shorten the lifetime of products – for instance non-durable product design, lack of access to spare parts or software updates – need to be addressed.
Better information would also help consumers to spot durable and repairable products more easily. David Cormand – the French MEP who launched this initiative – noted that “harmonised mandatory labelling indicating durability and tackling premature obsolescence at EU level are the way forward”.
This is a strong signal towards the European Commission that will be launching several initiatives next year on sustainable products and information to consumers on repairability and durability. There are already similar initiatives at the national level, such as the upcoming product labelling scheme in France.
The PROMPT outputs will be very timely in the context of those upcoming EU proposals. The testing method ultimately aims to ensure that products are used for longer, creating a circular economy benefiting both consumers and the environment.