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New ecodesign measures might create a two-speed Europe

The European Commission’s proposed ecodesign measures are phasing out a wide range of efficient and affordable products from the market, in particular dishwashers.

The European Commission’s proposed ecodesign measures are phasing out a wide range of efficient and affordable products from the market, in particular dishwashers. The measure will create an unfair and uneven situation among EU households, not to mention an adverse effect on fighting climate change. This holds particularly true in Member States with lower income, just as it will increase disparities among people living within the same country.

This was the key message of Paolo Falcioni, Director-General of CECED, the industry association representing home appliance manufacturers in Europe, during a breakfast event at the European Parliament on 23 January 2018. The roundtable event “Ecodesign in practice: From energy savings to resource efficiency” was co-hosted by the Rapporteur on the implementation report of the Ecodesign Directive, Frédérique Ries MEP (Belgium, ALDE) and the rapporteur on the ITRE opinion, Michèle Rivasi MEP (France, The Greens).

By leaving only top-class products in shops, the Commission’s proposals will undermine the incentive for some EU citizens to buy a dishwasher to replace less efficient hand washing of dishes. “While the electricity in some eastern EU countries costs one-third less than in Germany or Denmark, the price of the appliances is not that different and in Romania, the cost of a dishwasher can be equal to the monthly salary of a civil servant“, Paolo Falcioni told the participants. Today, only 3% of the households in Romania own a dishwasher, points out CECED’s campaign, #Dishwasher4All. The other 97% do not have the opportunity to save ten times less water and dramatically lower their energy bills because they are doing the dishes by hand. The proposed measures will increase this gap. And if one of the most precious resources nowadays is time, Romanian citizens have less of it to spend on more important things than the daily chores.

“Ecodesign has delivered because it has been based on measurable parameters and it had a lot of road to cover”, Paolo Falcioni also said. He further explained that more than half of EU energy efficiency target for 2020 has been achieved thanks to energy efficiency improvements in appliances and noted that the curve used today to set ecodesign requirements risks turning into a “fuzzy cloud”.

Paolo Falcioni asked the Commission to maintain a balanced approach to the revision of ecodesign requirements, particularly ensuring all EU citizens are given reasonably equal opportunities to contribute to reducing climate change thanks to energy efficient appliances.

Also speaking about the urgent need to efficiently use resources on a societal level and achieving a Circular Society, CECED has just released its Material Flows report. The study, in partnership with the Sustainable Cycles specialised programme of the United Nations University (UNU-VIE SCYCLE), provides a detailed overview of the material flows of the home appliance sector, from the production of appliances to material recovery at their end of life. Between 2011 and 2015, it succeeded in reducing water consumption per product by approximately 30%, while waste generation and energy consumption per product decreased by around 15 %.

Download the press release here.