Did you know that when buying a TV, it may be made to die in a few years' time? Bulbs that burn out after a certain time, batteries that run out within a set period are a few examples of "planned obsolescence". The CCMI section of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a round table event on "Planned obsolescence" on 17 October 2014. It gathered industrials, trade unions and customers to get a better grasp on this topic.
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To address planned obsolescence, protect consumers and boost the transition to a circular economy, in 2013 the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) called for a total ban on products with built-in defects designed to prematurely end a product's life. It recommended that better information to consumers on the lifespan of products should be established. On the basis of this opinion – the first European text on this topic – the European Parliament voted in July 2017 on a resolution for
a longer lifetime for products: benefits for consumers and companies.
The EESC has produced a large number of opinions during the 2010-2015 mandate on subjects relating to new production and consumption patterns. These include the opinions on built-in obsolescence, collaborative consumption and the circular economy. When it comes to the main pillars underpinning the new economic model for change, the theme of the functional economy, defined as the sale of use rather than of ownership, is the only issue not yet to have been addressed by the committee.
The study analyses the collaborative consumption and planned obsolescence in the context of circular economy, shared and the common good. The analysis is done from a holistic view of the interactions and interdependencies in the various economic, environmental and social spheres.
Newsletter of the Various Interests' Group
The Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) has recently launched a project dedicated to the phenomenon of built-in or planned obsolescence. This project, as its name suggests, is not a one-off action. So it is not merely a usual EESC opinion, nor just a conference devoted to the subject, but rather a series of events, opinions, declarations, articles, follow-up activities, to make sure that the issue of planned obsolescence makes its way to the political agendas of the European Commission and the European Parliament.