Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Initiative


As part of the European Union’s ambitions for an environmentally sustainable and circular economy, the Commission has introduced a proposal for the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), as part of the broader Sustainable Product Initiative. Building on the existing Ecodesign Directive, which applies specifically to energy-related products, ESPR sets a framework for a wide range of physical goods (products) placed on the EU market.

The purpose of the regulation is to set legal requirements to increase the sustainability of products, including resource efficiency, carbon neutrality, and information accessibility. In addition to focusing on product’s durability, reusability, and repairability, ESPR also establishes requirements on transparency as a key element enabling circularity. These will require all regulated products to have a “Digital Product Passport” to provide information about products’ environmental sustainability.

Unlocking the potential of sustainable product design

Product design can determine up to 80% of a product’s lifecycle environmental impact and thus plays an integral role creating an environmentally sustainable and circular economy. By creating more energy and resource efficient products, the European Union will also be able to reduce the need for primary energy and material resources, contributing to the objectives of the Green Deal.

Cefic’s Views

The European chemical industry supports the goals outlined in ESPR, and looks forward to contributing to the transition to sustainable and efficient product design. Cefic believes that in order for the new framework to be implemented successfully, it needs to be smart, inclusive, simple, workable, and supported by incentives.

Additionally, in order for industry to take an active role in the transition and to create a more competitive European economy, the new framework must also include legal certainty, feasible timelines, and predictability..

Cefic invites policymakers to integrate into their decisions the following seven key enablers, detailed in its recently published policy paper, Cefic position on the European’s Commission proposal for an Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), which are necessary for ensuring an inclusive and sustainable framework:

  • ESPR should keep REACH as the central safety legislation for chemicals and include a clear interface across the different legislative frameworks for chemical safety to avoid duplication or inconsistency.
  • The Digital Product Passport must be user-friendly for all members of the value chain, and require only relevant and necessary information.
  • Additional regulation adds extra requirements to the industry, and therefore the new framework must include strong incentives to both support innovation and create an equal playing field for a competitive European market.
  • The EU must ensure harmonization in the ecodesign criteria, so that member states do not implement differing requirements and thus fragment the market.
  • Industry should have a seat in the Ecodesign forum to help fully reach the potential of a sustainable transition.
  • ESPR should include transparent and feasible timelines for a successful implementation.