The European Council has definitively adopted on May 27, 2024 the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), establishing requirements for sustainability-oriented product design which replaces the current 2009 eco-design directive, extending the requirements beyond energy related products and icluding crucial sectors such as fashion and textiles. 

In May 2024, following the approval of the European Parliament, the Ecodesign Regulation concluded its legislative process with the Council’s approval in Brussels. This regulation is part of the broader European Green Deal, which aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The ESPR focuses on reducing the environmental impact of products throughout their lifecycle, from design and production to usage and disposal.

The new ecodesign regulation introduces a series of requirements that will take effect from 2026, with a time horizon extending to 2030. The regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and become effective 20 days after publication, marking the beginning of a new era of eco-friendly product design in the EU. After the ESPR comes into force, companies will have 18 months to comply with the new standards.

This regulation replaces the 2009 Directive, extending the requirements beyond energy-related products to cover all consumer goods, with only few exceptions like food, feed, and medicinal products, and includes sectors such as fashion and textiles. The goal is to reduce environmental impact and promote the circular economy.

The provisions introduced by the regulation aim to enhance product longevity, repairability, upgradeability, and recyclability. The new legislation is particularly relevant to the fashion industry, introducing bans on the destruction of unsold items such as clothing, accessories, and footwear, and requiring alternative solutions such as resale, donation, or recycling. A digital passport for products will be introduced to track materials, production processes, and disposal methods.

The ESPR introduces several key measures. Products must meet various sustainability criteria, including durability, reusability, upgradeability, and reparability. Additionally, the regulation addresses factors such as the presence of substances that hinder circularity, energy and resource efficiency, the use of recycled content, and the overall carbon and environmental footprints of products.

One of the notable innovations is the introduction of a digital product passport. This tool aims to provide detailed information about a product’s sustainability attributes, helping consumers and businesses make more informed choices. It will include data on material composition, environmental impact, and recyclability. The new eco-design regulation represents a decisive step toward a more sustainable future. By promoting energy efficiency, the use of sustainable materials, durability, and product repairability, the European Union is paving the way for a circular economy and a significant reduction in environmental impact. The challenges are substantial, but with the collaboration of companies, consumers, and governments, it is possible to build a future where economic development and sustainability go hand in hand.