Michele Galatola presents the ESPR

Today we are pleased to share with you, that over the last two days the FSLCI successfully organized the second edition of its Sustainability Insights event series. The event was organized under the theme “European Sustainable Products Initiative” on May 10-11, 2023 in Berlin, Germany and focussed on the new EcoDesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) as well as the new Green Claims Directive. The event was organized as a hybrid event and brought together a diverse and international audience of 70 participants.

The new EcoDesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) along with its Digital Products Passport tool was the focus of the first day of the event. Michele Galatola, Senior Policy Officer at the European Commissions’ DG Grow, provided in his keynote an overview of the forthcoming regulation. His keynote was followed by a panel discussion that brought together Giulia Zilla, Policy Manager, Energy and Environment at APPLiA, Mark Hoff, European Head of ESG and Finance Sector Lead at SLR Consulting representing the CIRPASS project, and Antoine Durand, Project Manager at Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI. The panel, which was moderated by Martina Prox, Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the FSLCI, discussed the ESPR as well as the challenges and opportunities of the forthcoming Digital Product Passport. It highlighted among many other issues that the ESPR introduces a complex framework that will need to be supported by Delegated Acts that will then allow tailoring the requirements by product group in terms of granularity. Following the panel, participants were split into various groups and during the workshop session discussed questions such as, how harmonization of environmental impact labeling can be ensured in the DPP and enhance transparency and accountability in the supply chain?

The first day then concluded with a special session on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), where Dr. Michael Jakob, Senior Researcher at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, provided an overview of the forthcoming reporting requirements. He concluded that CBAM should be seen as an enabler of ambitious EU policies, not as a coercive instrument to induce more climate action in other countries. At the same time, accompanying measures would be required to achieve cooperation, such as technology transfer and better market access for cleaner products.

The second day of our event focussed entirely on the new draft Green Claims Directive, which was published in Mid-March with the objective to introduce common criteria against greenwashing and misleading environmental claims. The Directive was presented in the morning as part of a keynote by Dr. Rana Pant, Senior Policy Officer at the European Commission’s DG Environment. He outlined the scope of the Directive as well as the requirements and focussed especially on the question of how to substantiate green claims and what role life cycle-based methods could play.

Following the keynote, Yuki Hamilton Onda Kabe, Technical Advocacy Specialist at Braskem, and Malte Biss, Managing Director at Flustix, joined the panel discussion, which was again moderated by Martina Prox. During the discussion, it become clear that the Directive currently still leaves a lot of room for interpretation and will need to be supported by more specific Delegated Acts, much like with the ESPR. While the panel agreed that green claims need to be better substantiated, the question of how to do that was discussed intensively. The challenge will be to balance between regulatory requirements ambitious enough to achieve the desired impact, while at the same time not overburdening industry stakeholders with too many bureaucratic requirements. In addition, ensuring a common methodological basis for the substantiation of green claims will be a challenge. In the following workshop session, the Green Claims Directive was discussed in more depth with a focus on two key questions:

  1. Should more restrictions be placed on climate neutrality claims?
  2. In the context of substantiating green claims, should we prioritize flexibility or rather harmonization of methodologies and approaches?

Both questions were discussed throughout the day in much detail by all participants in various groups, which then presented their conclusions at the end of the day.

Based on these inputs as well as all other insights shared during the event, we will develop a report to summarize the discussions. In addition, the FSLCI will use the inputs on the Green Claims Directive to develop a recommendation to the European Commission that will be submitted during the public consultation phase on the draft Directive, which is currently still ongoing.

All in all, we would like to thank everyone who participated in our event and joined us physically in Berlin or virtually from all over the world! We really enjoyed hosting the event and facilitating the discussions and look forward to future iterations of our Sustainability Insights event series!


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