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European Appliance Makers Halt Voluntary Energy Efficiency Agreements
Mar 23, 2007
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CECED, the European household appliance manufacturers’ industry association, called for legislative measures to ensure future energy performance standards as an alternative to continued updating of voluntary agreements that the industry introduced a decade ago. The strategy change was announced after a meeting of the CECED steering committee in Brussels.

CECED said patchy government enforcement of the EU’s energy labeling scheme, the vehicle by which energy efficiency information is shared with the public, has undermined the industry’s ability to go to the next phase of voluntary measures. CECED’s voluntary agreements on energy efficiency have delivered major performance improvements estimated to have cut 17 million tons of CO2 from Europe’s emissions, equivalent to the carbon output of nine 500 MW thermo-electric power plants.

“European manufacturers are as committed as ever to designing and marketing energy efficient appliances because it is the right thing to do and consumers expect that of us,” said CECED President Magnus Yngen of Electrolux. “But governments must guarantee fair competition by enforcing the law and ensuring that product declarations are genuine - or our investment in high-performing products is compromised. The next round of improvements needs to be driven by legislation that applies to all and is enforced on all.”

Covering on average 90 percent of the market for large appliances, CECED’s five existing voluntary agreements (for washing machines, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and water storage heaters) have been widely recognized as a progressive and a pro-active. These have required an investment by European manufacturers of 10 billion euros (approx. U.S. $13.3 billion) over the past decade.

“Too many governments are not stopping careless or unscrupulous operators from marketing products that claim better energy efficiency than they actually deliver,” says Yngen. “Free-riding must be strongly discouraged. Today we have a very worrisome situation where politicians set rules, expect companies to abide by them and then fail to invest the resources needed to stop the lawbreakers.”

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