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The EU introduces minimum standards to make most products on the European market sustainable, durable, and eco-friendly.

The European Parliament has approved the agreement reached with the Council on the new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR). The agreement establishes minimum requirements and standards for product durability, repairability, energy efficiency, and recycling. The regulation also aims to address planned obsolescence practices to prevent products from losing functionality due to inherent design features, unavailability of spare parts, or lack of software updates. The European Parliament has ensured that eco-design requirements are introduced as a priority for certain high-environmental-impact products, including iron, steel, aluminum, textiles, furniture, tires, detergents, paints, and chemicals. The Commission will have the authority to set eco-design specifications through delegated acts, and the industry will have 18 months to comply.

ESPR Regulation

The ESPR is designed to be consistent with existing sectoral regulations and policies. If existing legislation already sets satisfactory quality standards, the ESPR will not apply. Where there is no specific regulation within the EU, the ESPR will provide the legal framework. For example, the textile and footwear sector: while these products must already meet requirements in terms of used chemicals and labeling, there are currently no regulations on the durability, repairability, recyclability, and recycled material content of various products. The ESPR will fill this regulatory gap by introducing specific design and product information features. The adoption of the Regulation also marks a crucial step in the transition path that the textile industrial ecosystem will need to undertake in light of EU strategies regarding circularity within this specific sector.

A solution for ESPR: Digital Product Passport

The Digital Passport will accompany products, providing consumers with all the necessary information to help them make informed decisions. Consumers will be able to compare the various pieces of information contained in the individual product passports through a web portal managed by the European Commission. This will facilitate checks by public authorities. Additionally, the new rules aim to combat the destruction of unsold products, which represents a waste of valuable economic resources and is becoming an environmental problem. The new rules require companies to report the number of unsold and discarded consumer products during the year and the reasons for this. The destruction of unsold clothing, accessories, and footwear will be prohibited two years after the regulation comes into effect, and other categories may be added in the future. The introduced measures aim to push companies towards implementing sustainable production methods, fostering the transition to a circular economic system in line with the goals of the European Green Deal. These measures aim to ensure that by 2030, a significant portion of the products available to EU consumers will be designed to be durable, energy, and resource-efficient, repairable, recyclable, and manufactured using recycled materials.

Product Authenticity and Traceability

Elision has already stepped in with its SaaS solution for the Digital Product Passport (DPP), enabling companies to collect and manage information on the traceability and sustainability of their products and make it available to consumers. It tracks and verifies the origin and movements of raw materials and components, monitors all internal and external production stages, and distribution along the product's supply chain (through complex supply chains) up to the delivery of finished products. The sustainability information includes the carbon footprint, supplier due diligence, product and process certifications, material information, and their recyclability. Data is collected from various backend platforms such as SRM, MES, PLM, IoT devices in the field, and others collaboratively, allowing all supply chain actors to share the required information. As a Tesisquare competence center focused on IoT, traceability, and consumer engagement, Elision can provide a wide range of services and application solutions to support companies in developing the DPP using the TESISQUARE Platform and has already gained concrete experience in similar contexts (e.g., traceability cases at the serial number level to comply with CITES regulations for leather in the fashion & luxury sector). It has a permanent observatory on European regulations with related legal services and offers check-up services to companies to define the roadmap towards the DPP.

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