The European Product Bureau
The European Product Bureau is part of the Sustainable Production and Consumption Unit of the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS). It was set up to support the implementation of European sustainable product policies such as: Ecolabel, Green Public Procurement, ErP (Ecodesign of Energy related products) and Energy Label. The main tasks of the product bureau are:
- Providing all technical, economic and environmental information needed for the implementation of the respective policy instruments
- Organising and carrying out on each product policy proposal the consultation with stakeholders from Member States, industry and NGOs
- Preparing the draft legal text for the respective policies for the consultation within the European Commission (Interservice Consultation) and the voting by the Member States in the Regulatory Committee.
In the product Bureau these objectives guide a well established work process of an interdisciplinary team of experts on a broad range of product groups.
The European Ecolabel Regulation
The EU Ecolabel, established in 1992, identifies products and services that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle, from the extraction of raw material through to production, use and disposal. Recognised throughout Europe, EU Ecolabel (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/) is a voluntary label promoting environmental excellence which can be trusted.
JRC analyses product groups from the environmental, technological and economic point of view and develops a proposal of product specifications achievable by the 10-20% best performing products on the market. This proposal is further developed in discussions with stakeholders in a consensus based approach in order to arrive at a legal proposal that meets the needs of consumers and industry at the same time. For more details see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/
The Green Public Procurement communication
Europe's public authorities are major consumers. By using their purchasing power to choose environmentally friendly goods, services and works, they can make an important contribution to sustainable consumption and production. This is the concept of Green Public Procurement, or GPP .
Although GPP is a voluntary instrument, it has a key role to play in the EU's efforts to become a more resource-efficient economy. It can help stimulate a critical mass of demand for more sustainable goods and services which otherwise would be difficult to get onto the market. GPP is therefore a strong stimulus for eco-innovation.
JRC develops criteria for the specific needs of public procurers which help them to integrate environmental selection criteria into their procurement procedures. These criteria are derived in the same way as those for Ecolabel criteria. In case GPP and Ecolabel criteria are developed for the same product group, one key objective is to harmonise the criteria as far as possible in order to ensure consistency between policy instruments. For more details see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/index_en.htm
The ErP Ecodesign of Energy related products directive
The production, distribution, use and end-of-life management of energy-related products (ErPs) is associated with important impacts on the environment, such as the consequences of energy and other materials/resources consumption, waste generation and release of hazardous substances. It is estimated that over 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase of a product. Ecodesign aims at reducing the environmental impact of products, including the energy consumption throughout their entire life cycle. For more details see: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/ecodesign/eco_design_en.htm
JRC follows the steps laid down in the Ecodesign methodology (MEErP) http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/ecodesign/methodology/index_en.htm when developing the preparatory study and draft recommendations for implementing measures. Like in Ecolabel and Green Public Procurement, the respective product group is analysed from the environmental, technological and economic perspective in order to arrive at a well founded proposal for minimum requirements for products to be placed on the European single market. This process is very stakeholder focused, in order to integrate the point of view of all relevant parties.
The Energy Labelling Directive
Energy labels help consumers choosing products which save energy and thus money. They also provide incentives for the industry to develop and invest in energy efficient product design. For more details see: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/labelling/labelling_en.htm
In parallel to the preparatory study under ErP, JRC analyses the potential to develop an Energy label with the rating A-G for a certain product group. The work steps are similar to Ecodesign, as the Energy Labelling is also developed following the MEErP study.
Currently the JRC supports the implementation of product policies for the following product groups:
Product groups under development