SustainabilityDemand for more durable consumer goods

Members of the European Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee asked the Commission to consider a “voluntary European label”. This could include the product's durability, eco-design features, upgradeability in line with technical progress and reparability.

This effort to tackle the built-in obsolescence of consumer goods also reflects the 2014 Eurobarometer results. It indicated that 77 percent of EU citizens would rather repair their goods than buy new ones, but ultimately they have to replace or discard them due to exceeding repair costs.

Central requests regarding more durable consumer products are:

  • Ensuring that consumer products are designed to be robust, easily repaired and upgraded in the long-run.
  • If the repair period exceeds one month, the guarantee should be extended to reflect the required repair time.
  • Consumers should have the option of going to an independent repairer. Thus, technical, safety or software solutions that prevent repairs from being performed by other than approved firms or bodies should be discouraged.
  • Spare parts that are crucial to the functioning of the product should be replaceable, reparable and also be made available “at a price commensurate to the nature and life-time of the product”. Businesses should clearly indicate whether spare parts are available or not, on what terms and for how long.

Pascal Durand, French member of Greens/EFA, noted: “The EU had never taken a global position on the lifetime of products before this report, either regarding design, repair or reuse of goods, or on measures against planned and software obsolescence. It is in the interest of producers to fight against premature obsolescence of products, but also is to the benefit of consumers and saves resources. This report addresses for the first time software obsolescence, which plays a major role in the lifespan of most household devices.”

Source: European Parliament

More information and the report