Interview by APPLiA's President to Politico: Conflicting regulations on Ecodesign

Mr Peter Goetz, APPLiA's President, released an interview to POLITICO on the implications of national initiatives on the functioning of the EU Single Market. 

Source: Politico PRO Newsletter of 2 June 2021

Industry isn’t happy about what it sees as a lack of coherence in the drafting of new legislation on the ecodesign and energy efficiency labeling of products. Peter Goetz, president of APPLiA, the home appliances manufacturers’ lobby in Brussels, is warning policymakers that “conflicting regulations” will make it difficult to balance sustainability requirements and product safety. Sometimes, incentives to improve the reuse, repairability and recyclability of products clash with safety requirements for refurbished products, he told Louise. He’s also concerned about national initiatives on ecodesign popping up across the bloc, which he says could add to the confusion.

Single market concerns: If countries implement different regulations on how to make home appliances more sustainable, that could create barriers to the free movement of goods and undermine the single market, according to Goetz. Divergent rules are “somewhat of a burden,” he said, because “we have to develop the technology for a small market.” France, for example, has introduced an anti-waste bill that stipulates washing machines must include a microplastics filter from 2025. Ultimately, that translates into an “additional product cost that the consumer has to pay,” he said.

Take it to the EU level: “We see national initiatives, as let’s say, a think tank,” Goetz said, adding that it’s often “good concepts, good ideas.” But those ideas should be kicked up and discussed at the EU level much faster to avoid fragmentation on the market and allow industry to adapt to new rules. “What we need is not difficult: a European law, harmonized norms.”

New business models: Another way to develop the circular economy is to support new business models like rentals and take-back schemes, including through “tax incentives,” according to Goetz. Rentals make it easier to retrieve the product from the consumer and control its reuse, he explained. If it’s done properly, it can also help low-income households afford more energy-efficient products, which usually come with a higher price tag, he added.