Choosing greener products could become easier

Blog post
November 18, 2021

You might have missed it with COP26 taking place in Glasgow, but the UK government recently released a crucial new framework that could soon impact every household in the UK and the products we buy.

What is the frame for?

The Energy Related Products (ErP) framework sets out the government’s vision for improving the energy and resource efficiency of a range of products, as well as considering how many of our products can be made more sustainable, repairable and recyclable, and how they can be easier for all of us to choose between different products and to choose the greener ones.

Achieving these goals will be crucial if we are to meet our climate goals, with the Climate Change Committee recommending that by 2050 electronics longevity should increase by 120% with a 30% increase in longevity of electronics. by 2025.

Why do we need it?

The new ErP framework was born out of the fact that the UK left the European Union (EU) and no longer has to comply with European directives and regulations relating to products. The UK government consulted last year on how we could at least comply with these regulations and, if possible, go further and faster.

The ErP framework is the result of this process. The government describes it as being “guided by several goals: reducing emissions throughout the product lifecycle, saving money for consumers, reducing wider environmental damage by creating a circular and more resource-efficient economy, and stimulate innovation ”. The framework outlines where the government wants product policy to go.

The Energy Saving Trust perspective

We warmly welcome the ambitions set out in the ErP framework to improve product efficiency and lower costs for the consumer, but also to make it easier for people to repair their products and to make the things we buy last longer. We were also delighted to see the continued support for energy labeling and the suggestion that the labels could be updated to inform consumers about lifetime energy costs, embedded carbon or a product’s repairability, among others. options.

Some of these important issues are starting to be addressed by new regulations. New “eco-design” measures introduced in summer 2021 oblige manufacturers for the first time to make spare parts available and replaceable with common tools and to provide information to professional repairers to help them with repairs. It is hoped that this is the first step towards a “right to redress” for consumers, although some have argued that it does not go far enough yet. We have also recently seen the energy label resized to make it easier to understand.

Is there support for the frame?

British consumers want to see much of the ErP framework ambition come true, with a recent YouGov poll commissioned by the Restart project showing that a majority in different population groups would support the existing right to fix legislation going further.

The Citizen’s Climate Assembly also took up the issue, with 91% of participants in favor of greater resource efficiency and standards. The group of informed citizens was also in favor of greater repairability and product sharing. It is also becoming clear that the pursuit of a more circular economy can be a boon for jobs and growth.

And after?

The ambition set out in the ErP framework must be celebrated. This is a far-reaching and forward-looking document, and if policy and legislation can be crafted to match its ambition, we will achieve a more circular economy. The problem is that the government expects most of the policies it is proposing to take effect around 2025, with further consultations scheduled for 2022 and 2023, followed by a parliamentary review and a deadline for that. the industry is preparing.

An obstacle to starting some parts of this work had been the delay in the environmental bill, which meant that the powers necessary to implement the ambitions contained in the framework were not available. Now that the environmental bill has been passed, we hope that we can move forward with the development of new standards and approaches for specific products or in particular areas as quickly as possible, and create a policy. cutting-edge products that will reduce polluting emissions and waste and offer customers lower cost and better quality products.

Last updated: November 17, 2021

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