Making Product Information Work for the Environment

Final Report of the Integrated Product Policy WG on Product Information

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Good product information is a necessary condition for effective policies to improve the environmental performance of products. But the potential for making product information work for the environment is a long way from being achieved, in spite of more than a decade of work. The investment of effort on product information could be very cost-effective in delivering improvement for policy implementation and market efficiency. However, under present conditions, the market on its own is unlikely to deliver good product information: the barriers in this field are steep and the drivers are weak. Work is needed to create the right frameworks and to apply the necessary influences. The framework for product information will need a leadership and action at a government level (both at EU level and in Member States) to improve and unlock the potential to drive environmental improvement. In ideal conditions, this would enable and stimulate the market to operate efficiently and competitively to deliver the policy goals of a cleaner production and sustainable consumption. There is a strong case for commitment and action on environmental product information as a policy priority at EU level. The report identifies strong and timely opportunities, with practical technical solutions, to make the market work better. It recommends that the European Commission should draw up a package of actions, incorporating: * A clear statement of vision and framework thinking – to set the course for future policy, with clear signals to market players. * A plan for supporting administrative and practical measures – for strengthening the knowledge base, the accessibility of relevant and useful information, the harmonisation of frameworks, and the practical measures to achieve synergies with other EU policies. * A proposal for supporting legal and regulatory framework that will enable the market to deliver – ensuring a fair and competitive market, stimulating standardisation and comparability in key areas, and building up the awareness and use of product information.

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