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The EU is targeting planned obsolescence

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The EU is targeting planned obsolescence

Photo: UnlockRiver
Photo: UnlockRiver

The EU’s Internal Market Committee will decide whether to explore regulating the production of goods that rapidly require replacement—known as planned obsolescence. Manufacturers often employ this tactic in a bid to increase sales.

Critics say the practice is widespread and wasteful, both in terms of physical resources and human productivity. In March, a UN report suggested $2.9 trillion could be added to the global economy each year if natural resources were managed more efficiently.

France was the first to regulate planned obsolescence, passing a law in 2015 that required manufacturers to attach labels to goods to outline their expected lifespan and the availability of spare parts. The law also mandates that all goods be given a two-year warranty in case of defect, putting pressure on producers to increase the quality and durability of their products.

The EU will take a less prescriptive approach by incentivising manufacturers to make products easier to repair, standardise spare parts, and may even consider a ‘voluntary European label’ similar to the one adopted in France.

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If approved on Tuesday, the European Parliament is expected to debate and vote on measures in July.

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