New EU Laws Proposed to Increase Repairs and Curtail Greenwashing
What is a cost-efficient way to reduce our e-waste footprint? The European Commission may have just cracked the code through two groundbreaking directives that could revolutionize the way we approach sustainability - the Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods and the Green Claims Directive.
The first one will usher in a new era of repair culture, making it easier than ever to extend the lifespan of our electronics, while the second will reduce greenwashing by ensuring that companies back up their eco-friendly claims with real action.
We, at iWarranty, are thrilled at these new developments as they align with our sustainability aims of reducing e-waste by increasing repairs through the Green Repair Network.
The Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods
As per the proposed Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods:
When in the legal guarantee – it’s obligatory for sellers to offer repairs except when the repair cost is higher than the replacement.
When out of the legal guarantee –The set of rights and tools proposed to simplify and improve the accessibility of repairs:
- Customers can demand repair services from producers for products that are considered repairable under EU regulations, either free or for a cost. Current eligible products include dishwashers (household), washing machines (household), wash dryers (household), refrigerating appliances, electronic displays, welding equipment, vacuum cleaners, servers and data storage products, mobile phones, cordless phones and tablets.
- It is obligatory for producers to inform consumers about products that they are responsible for repairing themselves and the repair information.
- Each member state will have to create an online platform to connect repairers and sellers of refurbished goods with consumers.
- Consumers can demand European Repair Information Form from the repairer, which will explain the price and key conditions of repair. This information can’t be altered for 30 days.
- A European repair standard to identify repairers that are committed to delivering higher quality services.
Why Does the EU Need the Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods?
Here are a few e-waste facts that show why we need the Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods:
- According to the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) latest report on e-waste, Europe has the highest rate of e-waste generation per capita – over 16 kg.
- As per the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, households in the EU possess an average of 74 electronic products, out of which 17 remain unused and stored away in drawers and closets.
- Close to 50% of discarded waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in Europe is not being appropriately collected and recycled.
- The disposal of products, most of which are repairable, causes the EU to produce 35 million tons of waste and 261 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
How will the Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods Benefit Consumers?
The Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods benefits consumers in the following ways:
- It will support consumers in getting their defective products repaired, even when they are out of legal guarantee.
- This will improve product longevity and simplify repairs, leading to considerable savings for them.
- It will simplify repairs and make them more attractive for consumers by increasing repair transparency, enabling comparisons between repair services, and providing the right to request paid repairs from producers, regardless of the defect's nature, even beyond the legal guarantee period.
How will the Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods Benefit the Economy?
The Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods will benefit the economy in the following ways:
- In the next 15 years, the sellers and producers are estimated to save €15.6 billion.
- The growth and investment are expected to increase by €4.8 billion within this period.
- Consumers will be able to save €176.5 billion in this time period.
The Green Claims Directive
As per the proposed Green Claims Directive, companies must provide robust, science-based, and verifiable evidence to support any claims they make regarding the environmental aspects or performance of their products and organisations.
In simple terminology, the companies will need to share explicit claims, such as ‘t-shirt made from 25% recycled plastic’, rather than the vague ‘made from recycled plastic’.
In addition to this, before a company can market its product with any of the environmental claims, it will be required to get it independently verified and proven with scientific evidence. The scientific analysis will cover the environmental consequences that are applicable to their product and identify any potential trade-offs to present a complete and accurate image.
Why Does EU Need the Green Claims Directive?
Here’s why we need the Green Claims Directive:
- A study conducted in 2020 in the EU found that 53.3% of green claims made on products and services are vague, misleading, or unfounding.
- 40% of these environmental sustainability claims have no supporting evidence.
- Currently, approximately 230 sustainability labels are available in the EU, but they have varied levels of transparency.
- Around 50% of all green labels used in the EU don’t have proper verification procedures.
How will the Green Claims Directive Benefit Consumers?
Here’s how customers will benefit from the Green Claims Directive:
- Reduction in greenwashing.
- Everyone will have improved access to comparable and verifiable environmental information.
- Consumers will be able to make informed purchasing decisions, which will lead to an accelerated transition to a green future.
- Environmental labels and claims will become more trustworthy and credible.
- It will stop the rapidly growing number of environmental labels.
How will the Green Claims Directive Benefit Businesses?
Here’s how businesses will benefit from the Green Claims Directive:
- Provide a level playing field for all companies.
- Increased demand for environmentally sustainable products and services.
- Improved credibility for businesses.
- Enhancing the competitiveness of economic operators who improve the environmental sustainability of their products and activities.
All in all, the Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods and the Green Claims Directive is great news for organisations and consumers striving for reducing e-waste and promoting environmental sustainability. That’s not all - these directives will also have a positive impact on the economy, as consumers, producers and sellers will save billions, while growth and investment will bring in billions. They are a win-win for the planet and our wallets.
Originally published on iWarranty's LinkedIn
An award-winning SaaS platform and intelligent warranty software for manufacturers and retailers to deliver a superior, more sustainable post-purchase customer experience, simplifying in-and-out-of warranty repairs.