EU Council Adopts Position on Ecodesign Regulation, Paving the Way for Sustainable European Products

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
May 24th, 2023

The EU Council has adopted its position on the proposed ecodesign regulation, aiming to establish comprehensive sustainability requirements for European products and promote the green transition.

The EU Council has taken a significant step towards promoting sustainability by adopting its position on the proposed regulation for establishing a comprehensive framework that sets ecodesign requirements for sustainable products. This new regulation, which replaces the existing 2009 directive, aims to enlarge the scope of environmental sustainability requirements for nearly all goods sold on the EU market. By prioritizing ecodesign, the regulation seeks to ensure that products are not only environmentally friendly but also primed for the green transition.

One of the key provisions of the Council's position is the introduction of a Digital Product Passport, which will offer valuable insights into the environmental sustainability of products. By providing transparent information, this passport will enable consumers, businesses, and public authorities to make informed choices, thereby facilitating the movement of such products within the Single Market. Furthermore, the regulation tackles the issue of unsold consumer goods by imposing rules against their destruction. This move aims to reduce waste and preserve valuable economic resources.

Ebba Busch, the Swedish Minister for Energy, Business, and Industry, as well as Deputy Prime Minister, emphasized the importance of tackling sustainability at the design stage. Busch asserted that if Europe aims to have truly sustainable products on the market, it must address the issue of ecodesign from the very beginning.



Ecodesign Regulation Sets Sustainability Requirements for Products

The ecodesign regulation is set to encompass a wide range of product categories. By establishing a harmonized framework, the regulation seeks to make products more energy- and resource-efficient while enhancing their durability, reliability, reusability, upgradability, reparability, recyclability, and ease of maintenance. The Commission will have the power to propose new requirements through delegated acts whenever new products or technologies necessitate them.

The Council's position clarifies the involvement of member state experts and industry stakeholders in the development of future ecodesign requirements. It also outlines the criteria and aspects that need to be considered during the development process. Notably, the Council's position includes a direct ban on the destruction of textiles, footwear, and apparel. However, medium-sized companies will be granted a four-year exemption, while small and micro companies will be generally exempted. This ban seeks to address the environmental impact of producing clothes and accessories that are never utilized, particularly due to the surge in online sales.

While the directive covers a broad array of products, motor vehicles have been excluded since specific legislation already addresses their environmental impact. The Council's general approach ensures that economic operators have a minimum transition period of 18 months to adapt to the new requirements once the delegated act setting out ecodesign requirements comes into force. Additionally, member states will be given a two-year timeframe to adapt and adopt necessary national measures, including those related to market surveillance and fines.


Ecodesign Directive Saves Energy, Expands Requirements, Promotes Sustainability

The current Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC has yielded substantial results, with energy efficiency requirements in place for 31 product groups. These requirements have led to significant energy savings of EUR 120 billion and a 10% reduction in annual energy consumption for the covered products. Building upon this success, the new proposal expands the scope to cover most product categories, excluding only food, feed, medicine, veterinary products, and motor vehicles.

The updated regulation incorporates additional requirements such as product durability, reusability, upgradability, reparability, circularity inhibitors, energy and resource efficiency, recycled content, remanufacturing, recycling, carbon, and environmental footprints, and information requirements, including the implementation of a Digital Product Passport.

With the Council's position formalized, negotiations with the European Parliament will soon commence, driven by the mandate provided by this agreement. As both institutions work together, the focus remains on fostering a sustainable future and ensuring that European products align with the principles of ecodesign.


Brands that Are Implementing Digital Product Passports


Burberry, a prestigious British luxury fashion brand, has expressed a strong interest in implementing digital product passports. Through a collaborative effort with the blockchain company Everledger, Burberry has been actively exploring the potential of utilizing digital passports to offer customers detailed information regarding the authenticity and provenance of their products. This innovative approach aims to provide a heightened level of transparency and assurance to Burberry's discerning clientele.




Patagonia, a renowned outdoor apparel brand acclaimed for its unwavering commitment to sustainability, has been diligently seeking ways to augment transparency throughout its supply chain. In pursuit of this goal, they have forged a partnership with the software company EON to develop a digital product passport aptly named the "Footprint Chronicles." This groundbreaking initiative is designed to empower customers with comprehensive insights into the environmental and social impact of Patagonia's products, enabling them to make more informed and conscious purchasing decisions.



adidas, a global sportswear giant with a substantial presence in the industry, has been actively engaged in efforts to bolster transparency and traceability within its supply chain. Collaborating with esteemed blockchain companies such as Everledger and IBM, adidas has embarked on an exploration of digital product passports as a means to furnish customers with detailed information encompassing the materials used, manufacturing processes, and sustainability credentials of their products.

By leveraging these digital passports, adidas aims to instill greater confidence and trust in their customer base while promoting transparency across their diverse product range.