22 July 2019
EU Extends Current Ecological Criteria for the Granting of the EU Ecolabel for Televisions
On 3 July 2019, Commission Decision 2019/1134 was published in the EU’s Official Journal, regarding the validity of the ecological criteria for the award of the EU Ecolabel for televisions. The new Decision notes that the validity of this criteria, and of the related assessment and verification requirements, which are currently set out in Commission Decision 2009/300/EC, are to expire on 31 December 2019. However, the European Commission considers it necessary to prolong the period of validity for a further one year period thereafter. Therefore, should any Hong Kong company selling televisions to EU consumers wish to avail of the criteria, they will be able to do so throughout the prolonged period.
According to the European Commission’s website, ecolabelled televisions must meet criteria that guarantee lower energy consumption during use and stand-by; a limitation of substances harmful to health and the environment; a design for higher product durability, easy disassembly and recycling; and user instructions for correct environmental use.
The current EU Ecolabel criteria for televisions refer, as regards energy savings, to the energy labelling and ecodesign requirements for televisions laid down in Commission Regulation 642/2009 and in Commission Delegated Regulation 1062/2010, both of which are said to be currently under review, in the light of technological progress.
As is well known, the EU Ecolabel is currently being awarded to a vast number of product groups, including various types of electronic equipment, textiles, footwear, bed mattresses, furniture and personal care products. In keeping with the 30 June 2017 conclusions of the EU Ecolabel Fitness check (the so-called REFIT), which aims to make EU law simpler and less costly, the Commission, together with the EU Ecolabelling Board, has been assessing the relevance of each product group before proposing its prolongation, suggesting solutions to improve synergies across product groups, and so as to increase the uptake of the EU Ecolabel.
The Commission wishes to ensure that, during the revision process, appropriate attention is paid to the coherence between relevant EU policies, legislation and scientific evidence. Additional public stakeholder consultations have also been carried out.
For the category of televisions (i.e., Decision 2009/300/EC), this assessment should, according to the Commission, further reflect on the relevance and appropriateness of the criteria, pending adoption of the proposed new energy labelling and ecodesign requirements for televisions, including the proposals for additional requirements in support of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and broader circular economy objectives.
In those circumstances, in order to allow sufficient time for finalizing the assessment and potential revision or discontinuation of the current ecological criteria for televisions, the period of validity of the existing criteria for televisions has been prolonged until 31 December 2020. It is likewise also deemed appropriate to prolong, for the same period of validity, the related assessment and verification requirements.
Therefore, Article 3 of Decision 2009/300/EC is replaced by the following: ‘Article 3: The ecological criteria for the product group “televisions” and the related assessment and verification requirements shall be valid until 31 December 2020.’
Hong Kong sellers of televisions wishing to avail of the EU Ecolabel should especially take note of the Annex to Decision 2009/300/EC, which is amended as set out in the Annex to a Decision published on 13 January 2018, namely, Commission Decision 2018/59 amending Decision 2009/300/EC. The Annex sets out the amendment to criterion 1 (Energy savings) of the EU ecolabel criteria for televisions as found in Commission Decision 2009/300/EC.
The EU Ecolabel has been in play since 1992. It is a well-recognised environmental labelling scheme, certainly across Europe but also globally. The Ecolabel is awarded to products and services meeting what are believed to be high environmental standards throughout their life-cycle, i.e., from raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal. It is felt that the EU Ecolabel promotes the circular economy as it encourages producers to generate less waste and CO2 during the manufacturing process. The criteria also encourage companies to develop products that are durable, easy to repair and recycle.
The EU Ecolabel criteria are said to provide strict guidelines for companies seeking to lower their environmental impact. Companies can also improve their image as environmentally responsible entities, as the use of the Ecolabel guarantees the efficiency of a company’s environmental actions through third party controls.