Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation: everything you need to know

Feeling the pressure to become more sustainable? You’re not alone. In 2024, companies face a growing need to switch to eco-friendly practices, and ecodesign is a key part of that journey. This blog post is your guide to the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), a new regulation shaping how companies design and sell products in the European Union. We’ll explain what it means, how it affects your business, and simple steps you can take to comply.

Ready to navigate the future of sustainable products? Let’s dive in!

What is the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation?

In 2009, the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Directive focused on improving the energy efficiency of products.

Fast forward to 30 March 2022, the European Commission proposed the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation to expand its reach to all products on the EU market. It sets minimum ecodesign standards for:

  1. Durability: products should last longer and resist wear and tear.
  2. Reusability: products should be designed for multiple uses.
  3. Recyclability: materials used should be easily recycled.
  4. Upgradability: products should be able to be updated with new components.
  5. Reparability: products should be easy to fix when they break.
  6. Resource efficiency: products should use fewer resources in their production.


What is the legislation’s status?

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU agreed on a draft on 5 December 2023. The draft agreement got the green light from COREPER I (representatives of Member States) on 22 December and from the Environment Committee of the European Parliament on 11 January. Now, they’re expected to officially approve it on 11 March.

To achieve its goals, the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation introduces the Digital Product Passport (DPP), a mechanism aiming to give everyone clear information about a product’s journey. However, the exact details of how it will work are still being ironed out.


Demystifying the ESPR’s Digital Product Passport:

Imagine a QR code. Just like scanning a code to see a restaurant’s menu, the DPP will be linked to a “data carrier” like a barcode or QR code on the product, packaging, or documentation. This lets anyone easily access the product’s story.

This information aids consumers in making informed decisions and ensures that products adhere to regulations. Businesses must acquire this data from their suppliers and safeguard it. The Digital Product Passport (DPP) will encompass details such as environmental impact for consumers, recycling potential for recyclers, and compliance documents for regulatory bodies.

To facilitate this process, a system is being developed with standardised protocols and regulations for the storage and retrieval of DPP data. A crucial component of this system is the DPP registry, serving as a centralised repository for product information. It streamlines customs inspections for imports and enables individuals to access product details online. There will be a publicly accessible portal for general users and a restricted one for authorities. This entire infrastructure is designed to enhance the clarity, accessibility, and reliability of product information for all stakeholders.


Which companies need to comply with the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation?

Any company selling products in the EU, regardless of location, must comply with the ESPR. This includes manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers, and sellers.  This mandate encompasses a diverse array of products, spanning beyond consumer goods to encompass sectors such as transport, digital technologies, or textile, to name only a few.

How will Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation affect companies?

The specific requirements for each product will be outlined in separate regulations. To this end, the European Commission has already initiated consultations on its initial Working Plan earlier this year. This plan will designate a set of priority products for which delegated acts will be established, with an estimated creation of 30 new delegated acts by 2030.

The preliminary list of identified products for the first working plan includes textiles, furniture, mattresses, tires, detergents, paints, and lubricants.

However, some potential impacts include:

  • Changes to product design and materials: products may need to be redesigned to be more durable, recyclable, etc.
  • New labeling requirements: products may need to have labels with information about their environmental impact.
  • Changes to production and manufacturing processes: companies may need to adopt new practices to reduce environmental impact.

Once specific delegated acts for products are established, the requirements for performance and product information could be extensive for obligated products.

Performance criteria may encompass factors such as durability, reliability, reusability, upgradability, repairability, maintenance, and refurbishment, as well as considerations regarding substances of concern, energy efficiency, resource efficiency, recycled content, remanufacturing and recycling potential, material recovery, environmental impacts including carbon footprint, and expected waste generation.

The extent to which the proposed regulations will impact individual businesses and their products will vary.


What can you do now?:

  • Stay informed: keep up with the latest developments on the ESPR. Consider subscribing to our Sustainability Newsletter
  • Assess your products: identify which products may be affected and how, including a lifecycle assessments for your product range.
  • Develop a plan: start planning how you will comply with the ESPR.
  • Seek expert advice: consider consulting with specialists for guidance.


How can Publyon help you?

Publyon can help you:

  • Understand the impact of the ESPR on your business: Publyon provides detailed analysis tailored to your business, your supply chain and your needs.
  • Assess the risks and opportunities of the Regulation: Based on a thorough understanding of your business, Publyon can provide you with a tailored overview of risks and opportunities on the ESPR.
  • Develop a strategy to ensure that your interests are represented in the secondary legislation: thanks to its extensive network, Publyon can reach out to key policymakers and stakeholders to ensure the representation of your interests in the European legislation.


In conclusion, the impending implementation of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation marks a pivotal moment for businesses operating within the European Union.

The journey towards ESPR compliance demands a comprehensive understanding of its implications and a proactive approach to integrating ecodesign principles into corporate strategies. From textiles to digital technologies, all products entering the EU market will be subject to ESPR regulations, impacting economic actors across the entire supply chain.

While the specifics of ESPR requirements for individual products will be outlined in delegated acts, the overarching goal remains clear: to foster a transition towards more sustainable, resource-efficient, and environmentally friendly products. By prioritising factors such as durability, recyclability, and energy efficiency, businesses can not only meet regulatory standards but also differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace increasingly influenced by eco-conscious consumers.

As the European Commission finalises the details of ESPR implementation, companies must stay informed, adaptable, and proactive in aligning their operations with evolving sustainability standards. By embracing the principles of ecodesign, businesses can not only mitigate risks associated with non-compliance but also unlock opportunities for innovation, growth, and long-term success in a world where sustainability is no longer a choice but a strategic imperative.

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