To speed the circular transition up, extensive work is underway in the EU that affects the entire area of circular and sustainable production and products. Stricter product requirements will go hand in hand with stricter rules for verifiability of environmental claims and labels.
The EU Directive on empowering consumers in the green transition aims to contribute to a circular, clean and green economy in the EU by empowering consumers to make informed purchasing decisions, thereby contributing to more sustainable consumption. The proposed draft contains new verifiability requirements for environmental claims in marketing. It also introduces requirements to provide certain information on commercial guarantees, the repairability of goods, the availability of spare parts and the availability of updates to digital content.
Based on all this, there is a need to develop requirements for verifiability of holistic market claims, to be able to distinguish products that comply with legal requirements in terms of sustainability and circularity, while emphasizing the consumer communication aspects of this verifiable information, thus driving the development of actual circular and sustainable production into becoming a competitive advantage.
A certificate presented as product label that serves to verify the durability and long lifetime of products is expected to have a large impact to change consumers’ behavior into favoring the sustainable and circular products. The project formed by this prestudy aims to deliver a blueprint that innovatively connects product, claims and circular production system through a traceability and verifiability information system. The information shall be available all through a product’s expected lifetimes, to guide use, refurbishment, remanufacturing, dismantling, recycling etc.
The concept-prototype “Certified to LAST” – where LAST represents Lifetime, Accessible spare parts and services, Sustainability and Transparency – is intended to establish a certified market competition platform for durable and sustainable products where producers can be trusted for a long-term after-market commitment to their customers. By providing such information, the project aims to facilitate and incentivize resource efficient and circularproduct design, production, marketing, procurement, maintenance, and consumption.
The system prototype was formed within RISE, together with IIIEE and several companies in different sectors. Establishing a certification system with extra high criteria for durability, accessibility to spare parts and services as well as even more farreaching sustainability criteria may also inspire companies to further innovate circularity-based products and production beyond the legal requirements while establishing a third-party verified claim with their customers. Upcoming directives is expected to require such credible verification for environmental market claims in the future.
The full project will show how compliance with the legislative requirements for circular products and business models incentivize circular production and resource efficiency. The full project will also show how to effectively translate the product circularity requirements into production system consequences and requirement, including efficient manufacturing and supply chains of serviceable products, service logistics, remanufacturing and recycling systems etc.
The idea of the pre-study is to provide a first, preliminary analysis, where 6 studied products from different consumer product categories can be used as reference material, and exemplify some of the issues (design, material and manufacturing choice, as well as SIDA 4/10 supply chain) that must be dealt with. The study, which is being carried out by RISE, IIIEE and six companies with global brands, will help identify the main issues, which will be further dealt with in the full demonstration project.
The project intends to address a key to market-driven resource efficiency throughout the entire circular production chain by creating a neutral platform where producers can state verified claims about their superior product sustainability performance. The goal is to form a initiated and relevant project proposal with a strong and influential consortium representing a broad variety of manufacturing companies and other stakeholders to demonstrate a solution that can strongly contribute to the impact goals of this call: increased lifespan of products and production systems, reduced waste of resources along the product’s entire life cycle and value chain and increased use of renewable raw materials.