The European Commission needs to make it easier for consumers to repair, resale and reuse products, according to the latest resolution of the European Parliament. MEPs said producers mustn’t be allowed to program devices to break down anymore.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on a more sustainable single market with 395 votes in favor, 94 against and 207 abstentions. The document calls on the European Commission to improve sustainability by promoting product reuse and repair and by tackling practices that shorten the lifespan of products.
The new approach must be systematic and cost-efficient, whether by extending guarantees, providing guarantees for replaced parts, or better access to information on repair and maintenance, the lawmakers said. They also insist on increasing support for second-hand goods markets and endorsing sustainable production.
Common criteria need to be applied to marketing claims
The European Union needs to work on a common charger system for mobile devices, the resolution adds and points to the need to reduce electronic waste and label products according to their estimated lifespan and the possibilities to repair them. Universal chargers are a long-standing global issue and producers of consumer electronics have failed to make tangible progress.
To encourage sustainable business and consumer choices, members of the European Parliament pushed for more sustainable public procurement as well as responsible marketing and advertising.
The resolution calls for the role of the EU ecolabel to be boosted so that it is used more by industry and to raise awareness among consumers
“For example, when environmentally friendly claims are made in advertisements, common criteria should be applied to support such a claim – similar to obtaining ecolabel certifications. The resolution also calls for the role of the EU ecolabel to be boosted so that it is used more by industry and to raise awareness among consumers,” the announcement reads.
The adopted text proposes new rules for waste management and the removal of legal obstacles that prevent repair, resale and reuse, and points to the potential benefits for the secondary raw material market.
Products, services must be durable by design
Rapporteur David Cormand from the Greens and European Free Alliance group stressed the European Green Deal should be applied by promoting durable products and services by design. “We need a comprehensive set of rules that facilitates clear and simple decisions in place of technical amendments that lack political courage and which confuse both consumers and businesses,” he asserted.
According to a Eurobarometer survey, 77% of EU citizens would rather repair their devices than replace them while 79% think that manufacturers should be legally obliged to facilitate the repair of digital devices or the replacement of their individual parts.
Built-in product obsolence
“We hope the commission will follow up this ambitious report with strong legislative proposals. To those who put the interests of the industry before the interests of our citizens I can only say: those who do not cheat our citizens by selling products with built-in obsolescence have nothing to fear!” said Vice-President of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Biljana Borzan, who negotiated on the file.
Within the parliamentary group, she is in charge of the internal market and consumer protection. The Croatian MEP underscored some devices break down immediately after the guarantee period expires while there are ancient freezers or kitchen stoves still working. The system in which we constantly buy and discard is unsustainable, Borzan pointed out.