By Ourania Georgoutsakou, Secretary General, LightingEurope.
The EU is driving change to achieve its vision for a Circular Economy through a combination of strategies and regulations that address a product’s entire life cycle.
New requirements are emerging addressing such diverse issues as the quality and variety of the plastics used in a product, increased information requirements on the chemical substances and critical raw materials it contains, making products easier to repair and upgrade and requiring removable and replaceable components.
Incentives for industry and consumers to opt for more circular products include the introduction of a reparability score and new labels, and discussions to render ‘non-circular’ products more expensive, for example via the eco-modulation of WEEE fees. All these developments have a direct impact on product design and business models.
LightingEurope, the industry association representing the lighting industry in Europe, is working with members to apply ‘circular thinking’ to lighting products. We view the circular economy as an opportunity for growth for the industry: with the transition to LED technology and the introduction of additional devices and functionalities within the lighting system, circular thinking will enable sustainable products and new business models.
LightingEurope is liaising with rule makers in the EU to educate them about the diversity of lighting products and applications, arguing that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to circular lighting products as they have to address diverse application specifications and norms as well as different customer expectations.
Our most recent engagement is in the area of EU ecodesign, a set of rules that originally focused on increasing energy efficiency, but that has now become the main tool to deliver the EU’s circular economy strategy. Draft texts for the next set of ecodesign rules for light sources introduce mandatory removability and reparability requirements to be introduced as soon as 2021.
At the same time, we continue to shape an industry-wide consensus on how to apply the Circular Economy to lighting products. The LightingEurope 2017 White Paper on Serviceable Luminaires in a Circular Economy focuses on the serviceability of luminaires and explores the business models and growth opportunities around reparability, maintenance, replaceability and upgradability. A voluntary scheme to provide information about the serviceability of luminaires according to their design characteristics is discussed in order to provide the market with information on the additional capabilities of luminaires.
LightingEurope is now working on a new publication to explore and provide guidance on the technical, economic and legal parameters that need to be in place to support the higher penetration of serviceable luminaires, looking at warranties, product lifetime, access to spare parts, repair networks and liability. We are also exploring the business potential of serviceable luminaires with a market study by an independent third party expected by the end of 2018.
Ourania Georgoutsakou, Secretary General, LightingEurope
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