This post is by Richard Gower, senior associate for economics and policy at Tearfund. This post first appeared on Tearfund’s policy blog.
In poor nations, millions of people already make their living from ‘circular’ trades such as repair and recycling. The way we design our products in the EU – the toxic chemicals we permit and the ease of repair that we require – has a strong influence over their livelihoods. But these impacts are not currently considered as part of the process for setting design standards.
The EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan committed to use the Ecodesign Directive to make the products we use more readily recyclable, repairable and reusable. The European Commission yesterday announced their new ecodesign priorities, but will they give us better products? Read more
Toasters have been in the news again this week, with more controversy, and more delays to the long awaited ecodesign working plan from the European Commission.
The plan will cover the next group of energy related products to be given an innovation boost through ecodesign policies, which drive up energy efficiency standards, rewards market leaders and takes inefficient products off the market. Ecodesign has been one of the EU’s most successful policies: it is already saving each European household €330 per year, and will deliver 40 per cent of the EU’s 2020 energy savings target. Read more
The government’s ‘great repeal bill’ will transpose all current EU law into domestic British law upon the UK’s exit from the EU. Theresa May has promised that the UK will “no longer [be] part of a political union with supranational institutions that can override national parliaments and courts.” The plan is to ‘cut and paste’ current EU rules into UK domestic law.
Have you ever shattered your mobile phone screen? Or maybe your washing machine has packed up, and the repair costs so much you might as well buy a new one? Yesterday, national governments of the EU’s 28 member states, including the UK, have endorsed your right to repair these goods, by pledging to make manufacturers design more durable and repairable products. Read more
The first rule of politics is ‘be there’ and Nigel Haigh was there. In and out of Brussels for some 30 years, both influencing and observing the emergence of EU environment policy. Read more
A version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
The European Commission this week fired the starting gun on its circular economy programme, and the panoply of documents released shows that it will be a marathon, not a sprint. As you’d expect for a programme designed to usher in a “profound transformation of the way our entire economy works,” it contains 54 separate actions, with deadlines stretching from the end of this month to the end of 2018.
This post first appeared on Business Green.
With all the debate over whether non-binding EU 2030 energy and carbon targets are a statement of ambitious intent or resigned defeat, you could be forgiven for thinking that setting a target is all policy makers need to do to deliver a shiny green economy. But experience from the waste and resources sector has shown that targets are only half the story, regardless of how binding or not they are. Behind every successful target is a suite of more focused interventions, which is exactly what’s needed to make the shift to a more resource resilient economy. Read more
This post is by Dustin Benton, who leads Green Alliance’s Resource Stewardship theme. A version first appeared on businessgreen.com.
To find out more about how to fix ecodesign, see Green Alliance’s new report: Cutting Britain’s Energy Bill.
President Obama had a hard time selling the US’s ‘weatherization program’ to a sceptical Congress: insulation is a lot less attractive than visible clean tech like solar panels. So he relied on his charm, declaring memorably that insulation was, in fact, sexy. “Here’s what’s sexy about it — saving money,” he said, to laughter and applause. Read more
This post is by Tom Turnbull, Green Alliance policy adviser, who has been focusing on ecodesign and our work with the European Coolproducts campaign.
I’ve just returned from Brussels, where amongst the string of events that make up EU Sustainable Energy Week, which was admittedly somewhat eclipsed by Rio, I joined a group of campaigners putting forward the case for the ‘forgotten’ EU energy directive. The forgotten directive is 2009/125/EC, aka the ecodesign directive. Its principle aim is to remove the worst performing products from the market and it has been beset with delays, controversy, and a general lack of a perceived cool factor.
As a member of the Coolproducts campaign, Green Alliance has been working with European NGOs to change this. We are working to raise the profile of the directive, and make policy makers, businesses, and consumers aware of the power that well-designed product policy has to drive the market for innovative low energy using products. These offer the combined benefits of lower energy bills and considerable carbon savings.