The European Parliament has voted in favour of making products more durable and easier to repair and recycle, and by providing consumers with more rights and information.
The European Parliament wants to boost sustainability by promoting reuse and repairs and by tackling practices that shorten the lifespan of products and has adopted the resolution on a more sustainable Single Market with 395 in favour, 94 against and 207 abstentions.
MEPs call on the Commission to grant consumers a “right to repair” by making repairs more appealing, systematic, and cost-efficient, whether by extending guarantees, providing guarantees for replaced parts, or better access to information on repair and maintenance.
They also insist on increasing support for second-hand goods markets, call for measures to tackle practices that shorten the lifetime of a product, and endorse sustainable production. MEPs reiterate their demand for a common charger system to reduce electronic waste and want products to be labelled according to their durability (e.g. a usage meter and clear information on the estimated lifespan of a product).
An end to firmware lockouts?
The resolution calls for the following elements should be taken into account:
1. corrective updates – i.e. security and conformity updates – must continue throughout the estimated lifespan of the device, according to product category,
2. corrective updates should be kept separate from evolutive updates, which must be reversible, and no update must ever diminish the performance or responsiveness of the goods,
3. consumers must be informed by the seller at the moment of purchase of the period during which updates to the software supplied on purchase of the goods can be expected to be provided, in a way that is compatible with innovation and possible future market developments.
Ken Lalley, CEO of Static Control commented: “Our thousand plus European customers are vested in the reuse of imaging consumables and would welcome reversable firmware updates that often lock out reused consumables and frustrate consumers.”
MEPs want more sustainable public procurement as well as responsible marketing and advertising. The resolution also calls for the role of the EU ecolabel to be boosted so that it is used more by industry and to raise awareness among consumers.
Finally, the adopted text proposes new rules for waste management and the removal of legal obstacles that prevent repair, resale, and reuse. This will also benefit the secondary raw material market.
“The time has come to use the Green Deal objectives as the foundation of a single market that promotes durable products and services by design. To achieve this, we need a comprehensive set of rules that facilitates clear and simple decisions in place of technical amendments that lack political courage and which confuse both consumers and businesses. By adopting this report, the European Parliament sent a clear message: harmonised mandatory labelling indicating durability and tackling premature obsolescence at EU level are the way forward,” said Rapporteur David Cormand (Greens/EFA, FR).