Standards and premature obsolescence: CEN and CENELEC participated to the EU Industry Days 2019 

What is the role of standards in ensuring a Circular Economy transition that is not only effective, but also as inclusive as possible? Through its participation to the EU Industry Days 2019, CEN and CENELEC shed some light on this important issue to an audience of business representatives, policy makers and experts.

CEN and CENELEC (represented by Andrea Nam, Programme Manager for Environment, Energy and Climate) participated to the workshop “Industry in Europe: what civil society has to say”, on 6th February. The objective of the workshop was to present strong examples of how European civil society can contribute to the definition of long-term and sustainable EU industrial policy on a variety of priority sectors, such as Digitalisation, Artificial intelligence and Circular Economy.

In this context, the contribution of CEN and CENELEC presented the role of European standardization in ensuring the effective deployment of the EU’s Circular Economy Strategy, with a particular focus on tackling planned obsolescence. Indeed, planned obsolescence is a core focus of the EU in its Circular Economy Plan published in 2015, which states the importance of extending the lifetime of a product, as well as reuse and recycling became a priority.

European Standardization, thanks to its consensus-based mechanism, has provided a valuable platform to make the requirements included in the plan reality. As part of the Ecodesign Standards series, CEN and CENELEC have supported the European Commission by including material efficiency requirements in standards that go beyond the use phase. In particular, CEN and CENELEC are currently developing eight Harmonized Standards (hENs) taking into account the following generic principles: extending product lifetime; ability to re-use components or recycle materials from products at end-of-life; use of re-used components and/or recycled materials in products.

In doing this, the European standardization system ensures an extensive involvement of civil society. The participation of societal stakeholders in European standardization is supported by dedicated European associations (ECOS, ANEC, ETUC), acknowledged by the EU Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardization.

For more information on standardization activities on the circular economy and the environment, please visit the websites of CEN and CENELEC.

For more information, please contact Andrea Nam