Bulbs that burn out quicker than expected, batteries that run out before a set period or electrical or electronic goods, like your laptop, printer or favourite coffee maker, breaking down too quickly are just a few examples of planned obsolescence – products that are designed to stop working more rapidly, and usually shortly after the expiry of their guarantee. Replacing these products means using up additional energy and resources, which generates more waste and harmful pollution. This impacts consumers, producers' reputation, employment due to job losses in the repair profession as well as the transition to a more circular economy.
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.
Five years on from the EESC milestone opinion, what is Europe doing to improve product durability and reparability? The Committee is organising an event to take stock of the action taken by the EU institutions, Member States and Business to tackle planned obsolescence, and its impact on consumers and to discuss new ways of action. To be a part of the change, join the debate with experts, stakeholders and policy-makers in Brussels on 30 November (as of 9h30). Registration will open on the EESC website in the first week of September, and as places are limited, will be on a first come first served basis.