The European Commission published two proposals seeking to introduce new ecodesign and energy labelling requirements for mobile phones and tablets on 31 August 2022.  The new requirements are extremely far-reaching, going beyond those we’ve seen for other product groups, such as introducing new requirements for the battery to be replaceable by end-users unless certain endurance parameters are met, new requirements for resistance to accidental drops and scratches, protection against water and dust ingress, as well as a new repairability score.

In our view, this signals the start of a much more comprehensive approach towards ecodesign and energy labelling in the EU.

The Commission is seeking feedback on the two draft proposals until 28 September 2022.

What is it called?

  • Commission Regulation laying down ecodesign requirements for mobile phones, cordless phones and tablets pursuant to Directive 2009/125/EC.
  • Commission Delegated Regulation supplementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 with regard to the energy labelling of smartphones and tablets.

What is being proposed?

Under the proposed new ecodesign Regulation, manufacturers, importers and authorised representatives of mobile phones and tablets placed on the market in the EU will have to comply with several new requirements, including:  

  • Ensure that certain spare parts (such as the microphone, camera assembly, speaker, display assembly, SIM and memory card, etc.) are made available to professional repairers with a more limited list of spare parts for end-users, for at least 5 years for mobile phones and 5/6 years for tablets.  Spare batteries will also need to be made available to end-users or, in the alternative, meet minimum endurance standards (and for mobile phones certain dust and water protection parameters). If this is the case, the battery will still need to be available to professional repairers.  Minimum delivery times apply for the supply of spare parts. 
  • Design the product for disassembly for repair, resistance to accidental drops, scratches, water and dust ingress and battery endurance.
  • Provide certain functionality and security software updates.
  • Provide information on parameters such as the recyclability rate and the percentage of recycled content.

The European Commission is also proposing to introduce energy labelling for mobile phones and tablets. The proposed label will need to include the energy efficiency class, as well as a new repairability score plus information on repeated free fall reliability, battery endurance and ingress protection.

The relevant legislative procedure for the proposed new rules is quite short, and the new requirements could enter into force as early as the beginning of 2023.

There is a relatively short 12-month transition period for the proposed ecodesign Regulation (subject to some exceptions), meaning that many of the requirements would begin to apply from early 2024.  

The proposed energy labelling Regulation sets a transition period of 18 months, possibly making the requirements applicable from mid-2024, with the exception of the requirement to provide the printed label to dealers that would apply 14 months after the entry into force of the proposed energy labelling Regulation

Who will it apply to?

The new proposed ecodesign requirements will apply to manufacturers, authorised representatives and importers and the new energy labelling requirements will apply to suppliers and dealers of mobile phones and tablets.

Why does it matter?

The proposed ecodesign and energy labelling requirements will require manufacturers of mobile phones and tablets to ensure not only that mobile phones and tablets are energy efficient, but that they are also designed to be durable, repairable and recyclable.  Compared to prior ecodesign and energy labelling requirements for other product groups, the new requirements proposed for mobile phones and tablets are much more far-reaching and we think show the European Commission’s direction of travel towards more substantial ecodesign and energy labelling requirements that we expect to see under the proposed Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation currently working its way through the Ordinary Legislative Procedure (this could potentially enter into force 2023 / 2024).

Where can I find it?

The draft regulation on ecodesign requirements and link to provide feedback can be found here.

The draft regulation on energy labelling and link to provide feedback can be found here.

Feedback on both draft legislative proposals closes 28 September 2022.

Posted by Emma Bichet, Selma Abdel Qader and Tracey Bischofberger