As reported by the Bundestag, the majority of the Petitions Committee supports the demand to enable consumers to make more sustainable purchasing decisions by providing more information on the lifespan and reparability of a product. At its meeting on 30 November 2022, the Committee adopted, with the votes of the parliamentary groups of SPD, Bündnis 90/The Greens, FDP and Die Linke, the resolution recommendation to the Bundestag to refer a petition calling for the mandatory labelling of electrical appliances with regard to their lifespan and the type and quantity of materials used in their production to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection as material and to forward it to the European Parliament.
Accordingly, consumers currently have hardly any possibilities to evaluate electrical appliances, such as mobile phones, on the basis of their expected lifespan or the materials used, says the justification for the public petition (ID135072). This makes it much more difficult to make a purchase decision based on sustainable principles. Transparent provision of this data by manufacturers would enable private individuals to make more conscious purchasing decisions and thus ensure a more sustainable future, writes the petitioner.
In the explanatory memorandum to its recommended resolution, the Petitions Committee refers to the draft of the future Ecodesign Regulation, which is a central component of the EU Commission's approach to more environmentally friendly and cycle-oriented products and has a high political significance “as it is located at the interface of the economy, environmental, climate and consumer protection and, in particular, resource protection”. According to the information provided, almost all physical products, including components and intermediate products, are to fall within the scope of the Ecodesign Regulation.
The draft regulation also provides that the EU Commission may impose product-specific ecodesign requirements on various resource protection aspects, such as the durability of products or the proportion of recycled materials in a product. In addition, the draft regulation contains regulations on a Digital Product Passport to be introduced and for a future ecodesign label for consumer information on various resource protection aspects of the product concerned.
The petition committee writes that the federal government rejects anational regulation to label the lifespan or the type and quantity of materials used in production. From the government’s point of view, national unilateral action in the united European single market only makes sense in very limited and justified scenarios. “In the present case, national regulation would lead to unnecessary fragmentation of the internal market and associated costs for businesses and ultimately consumers.” The further legislative process on the future Ecodesign Regulation would nevertheless be closely accompanied by the Federal Government, according to the resolution recommendation.
It also refers to the "right to repair" planned in the coalition agreement of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. “We are making the lifespan and reparability of a product a recognisable feature of the product’s characteristics”, the coalition agreement states. The aim is to ensure access to spare parts and repair instructions and to oblige manufacturers to provide updates during the normal period of use.
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