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The EU Paves the Way for Greener Mobile Devices

CLASP supports the European Commission's new rules to lower the environmental impact of smartphones and tablets.

Païline Caroni

Brussels, 4 September 2023 – The European Commission takes a major step to lower the environmental impact of smartphones and tablets. The new rules will decrease costs for consumers, mitigate carbon emissions and reduce the use of critical raw materials used in these devices.

Resource and Energy Efficiency Unite

From June 2025, in line with the new Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations, smartphones and tablets entering the EU market will be required to meet minimum requirements and provide information on product energy efficiency, ease of repair, battery lifespan, resilience against dust and water, as well as resistance to accidental drops. The Energy Labelling Regulation introduces a requirement for mobile devices to display the A-G energy class rating, as well as a score for each aforementioned aspect. Further product information will be accessible through the European Product Registry for Energy Labelling (EPREL).

The European Commission said, “These measures help to make the EU’s economy more circular, save energy, cut our carbon footprint, support circular business models and deliver the benefits of the European Green Deal for consumers… Mobile phones and tablets produced according to these rules will save almost 14 terawatt hours in primary energy each year by 2030. This is one third of the primary energy consumption of these products today.”

The combined impact of the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations is estimated to reduce purchase, repair, maintenance and energy-related costs for consumers by 25%, while mitigating 53 Mt of CO2 by 2040. They also aim to decrease the use of new materials for production by 35%, along with a 22% reduction in the use of critical raw materials.

CLASP Research Empowers Repair and Sustainability

CLASP, along with Right to Repair Europe, played an instrumental role in shaping the Ecodesign Regulation. Their research highlighted the challenges EU citizens face in repairing their devices, due to limited options imposed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that only offer repairs for specific key parts.

CLASP found that limited repair options drive consumers to purchase new smartphones and tablets. This ultimately shortens the lifespan of devices and contributes to increased electronic waste, which threatens the repair ecosystem and undermines resource efficiency goals. Following our recommendations, the Ecodesign Regulation comprehensively addresses factors that limit product lifespans and hinder recycling. It ensures the accessibility of spare parts, encourages ease of repair, enhances reliability and promotes second-hand markets.

Nicole Kearney, CLASP Europe Director, states “The European Commission has demonstrated an exemplary focus on prioritizing circularity and the consumer’s right to repair. Ensuring Europeans can more easily repair, rather than replace, their smartphones and tablets, will help reduce e-waste, carbon emissions, as well as costs for consumers.”

Towards a circular electronics revolution

The EU’s leadership on resource and energy efficiency for smartphones sets the precedent for other regions and countries to adopt similar regulations and has the potential to create a ripple effect of positive change. The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations enable a repair over a replace economy, requiring the electronic appliance industry to prioritize product durability and circular economy principles. This framework demonstrates the regulatory capacity to revolutionize the industry, fostering innovation, efficient resource utilization and environmental awareness.

Next steps

The new Ecodesign and Energy Labelling rules were published in the EU Official Journal on 31 August 2023 and will become fully applicable on 20 June 2025. This period offers stakeholders the opportunity to adjust and comply with the new regulations.

 

 

For media inquiries and more information, please contact

Païline Caroni

Communications – CLASP Europe

pcaroni@clasp.ngo

About CLASP:

CLASP is an international nonprofit leading the research and promotion of appliance efficiency and energy access to improve the lives of people and the planet. CLASP works to combat climate change and drive the transition to a more energy-efficient and just future where no one is left behind. Headquartered in Washington DC, and based in Beijing, Brussels, Dehli, Jakarta and Nairobi, CLASP works with governments, appliance manufacturers and partners to advance positive change on a global scale.

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