Making Sustainable Products the norm

25 March 2024

Insights from the Policy Exchange on ESPR and DPP

Last Thursday, we hosted a webinar to...

Last Thursday, we hosted a webinar to delve into a key European initiative aimed at improving the environmental sustainability of products: the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) and Digital Product Passports (DPPs). With over 600 attendees, the virtual session highlighted the pressing need to make sustainable products the norm and to ensure their free movement within the internal market.

Moderated by Stéphanie Mittelham, Orgalim Manager for the Green Transition, participants gained insights from the European Commission, Europe’s technology industries and the CIRPASS project.

Kicking off the discussion was Matjaž Malgaj, Coordinator of the Sustainable Products Initiative and Head of Unit 'Sustainable Products' at the European Commission, DG ENV.

Malgaj's presentation illustrated the core objectives of ESPR which is establishing a framework legislation enabling the adoption later of product-specific measures, emphasising its potential to bolster the EU's industrial competitiveness while catalysing demand for circular and sustainable products. “Crucially, ESPR seeks to empower businesses and consumers to make more sustainable products choices, by providing transparent product information”, he explained.



Malgaj also provided a glimpse into the regulatory timeline, revealing that the final ESPR text is expected for publication in May or June 2024, with the first ESPR product requirements set to apply to textiles and steel by mid-2027.

Louise Bünemann, Chair of Orgalim Green Transition Working Group and Head of EU Environmental Policy at the Confederation of Danish Industries, echoed Malgaj's statement, underscoring the importance of a successful ESPR implementation and a careful approach to horizontal common ecodesign requirements: “let’s start small and make it work in real-life”, she stressed. Bünemann urged for a gradual rollout, starting with small-scale measures to gather political support and ensure ESPR and DPP requirements will work in real-life. She underscored the necessity of robust market surveillance and enforcement mechanisms, alongside clear timelines and active industry engagement, to navigate the transition towards sustainable product practices successfully.

Ulrike Witz, Vice-Chair of Orgalim Green Transition Working Group and an expert on Environmental Policy at the Association of Metaltechnology Industries Austria, echoed the call for industry involvement in shaping ESPR and DPP requirements. Witz highlighted the importance of feasibility in real-life implementation, advocating for a collaborative approach involving the industry which has the expertise to ensure that regulatory frameworks align with practical considerations and industry capabilities.

Shifting focus to the Digital Product Passport (DPP), Michele Galatola, Chair of the Commission cross-DG working group on DPP and Senior Policy Officer at DG GROW, elaborated on its objective to simplify digital access to relevant product-specific information in the area of sustainability, circularity, and legal compliance.Galatola outlined six key benefits of DPPs for companies of all sizes, ranging from streamlined data management, supply chain efficiency, new business opportunities to enhanced regulatory compliance and brand value. He stressed that information to be included in the DPP will be product-group specific and it will be identified later through product group-specific ESPR Delegated Acts. DPPs will include only data which are really relevant.

Carolynn Bernier, CIRPASS Consortium Coordinator, shed light on the results of the EU funded CIRPASS project which objective is to prepare the ground for the gradual deployment of a  standards-based DPP aligned with ESPR requirements, with an initial focus on the electronics, batteries, and textile sectors. Bernier emphasised the pivotal role of the DPP system in linking the EU internal market to the data economy, highlighting its enormous potential to drive innovation and competitiveness across industrial sectors.


Slide 2

Looking ahead, the European Commission remains committed to fostering dialogue and collaboration on ESPR and DPP initiatives. In the coming months, the European Commission will host two webinars - one on ESPR on 22 May and another deep-dive session on the DPP state of play and upcoming work on 11 June. Orgalim members will actively participate in these sessions, collaborating closely with policymakers to ensure the success and implementability of future ESPR and DPP requirements in real-life. Additionally, new CIRPASS 2 project expected to be launched in May 2024 will play a pivotal role in deploying and validating at scale Digital Product Passports in at least two key value chains and supporting SMEs in their adoption.

Access Orgalim views and recommendations on the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) here and download the webinar slides here

In case you missed this session, you can watch a replay of the webinar below or by clicking here. We invite you to explore these resources and join us in shaping a more sustainable and digitally empowered future for European industries.

Our next Policy Exchange webinar on 'PFAS-free solutions: the challenge ahead' will take place on 15 May. More information and register here.

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