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Mr Falcioni had been invited to address the event’s “Product Policy for resource efficiency, how to make progress?” breakout session along with other stakeholder representatives, such as ECOS, OVAM and iFixit. The session formed part of the wider Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference which took place on 9-10th March, in Brussels.

Mr Falcioni had been invited to address the event’s “Product Policy for resource efficiency, how to make progress?” breakout session along with other stakeholder representatives, such as ECOS, OVAM and iFixit. The session formed part of the wider Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference which took place on 9-10th March, in Brussels.

The overall event formed part of the policy maker desire to demonstrate the importance it attaches to listening to all EU stakeholders when considering policy and implementation – just over a year after the launch of the Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan.

CECED Director-General Paolo Falcioni highlighted the positive and essential role that the home appliance industry plays in contributing to Europe’s circular economy while highlighting that getting the right regulatory framework matters.

Outlining the sector’s role in creating jobs and growth, Mr Falcioni went on to emphasise the sector’s traditional support to policy maker efforts to improve the European economy’s sustainability. He invited the audience to consider the innovative changes that had been introduced by producers: from the wooden mechanical washing machine of yesteryear to the future of smart appliances. Smart appliances provided the potential to cut consumer consumption of resources further, he said.

Industry had been a strong driver of product energy efficiency while doing its bit to recover and treat an annual 3.2 million tonnes of e-waste in Europe, he emphasised.

In short, home appliances had contributed to Europe’s policy of decoupling GDP growth from use of resources.

On products policy Mr Falcioni commended the approach, thus far, to eco-design and energy labelling policies, the reason being the policy’s foundation in strong, robust, transparent, measurable and enforceable parameters. Taking further the enforceability point, he stressed there was little added value in deploying requirements that couldn’t be enforced effectively by Market Surveillance Authorities.

The future must be based on facts, scientific impact assessment and data

“Our industry supports the European Commission’s ambitions to examine options and actions for a more coherent policy framework covering the EU’s products policy”, continued Mr Falcioni. It must however secure and enhance competition within the Single Market and the innovation process.

Continuing with the future products policy landscape, Mr Falcioni underlined the importance of a fact-based discussion and debate. Policies have to be built on facts he stressed quoting several studies showing the actual longevity of home appliances. The sector takes its relationship with consumers very seriously, he stressed.

In the discussion that followed, Director of the Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS) Laura Degallaix said she agreed with Mr Falcioni on the need for clear indicators to check whether product measures were actually successful and pointed out the challenge of products for consumers “going out of fashion”.

Lieze Cloots (OVAM – the Flemish Waste Agency) brought up ideas on the floor. There was a clear need for her to look at a wider picture. Product policy should not be looked at in isolation, it is dependent of other systems such a fiscal, innovation, education, mobility, governance models. They might either create all together important leverage for circular economy or significant obstacles.

Mr Falcioni finally underlined the role of consumers in how appliances are used and maintained. On average, one-third of them were sent to the waste bin despite the fact that they were still in good working order.

Note: Tweets send from stakeholders during the event can be found at #CircularEconomy