Innovation impact of the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling directives

Panel: 3. Matching policies and drivers: Policies and directives to drive industrial efficiency

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Authors:
Sibylle Braungardt, Öko-Institute, Germany
Matthew Smith, Ecofys, The Netherlands
Catriona McAlister, Sea Green Tree S.L., Spain
Rob Williams, Triple E Consulting, The Netherlands
Sophie Attali, SOWATT, France

Abstract

The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling directives are key policy measures to increase energy efficiency in Europe. European industry has a crucial role during all phases of the legislative process: Industry stakeholders are involved in defining the levels the measures are set at in the policy making process. Industry is required to improve their product portfolio to comply with the regulations, and is directly influenced by the Ecodesign regulations for key technologies such as electric motors. The Ecodesign and Labelling directives have the potential to positively impact the innovation activities and competitiveness of manufacturers. It is therefore important to optimise the factors that influence the innovation friendliness of the regulation in the upcoming revision of the Ecodesign directive in 2014. Such factors include the level of ambition, industry participation in setting standards, the technical capabilities of regulators as well as the stability, speed and predictability of the regulatory process. The main goal of this study is to provide empirical evidence of the innovation impact of the Ecodesign and Labelling directives and to identify the factors that influence this. We choose a quantitative analysis of patent data combined with a qualitative analysis of primary data collected in a series of company case studies selected from different industry sectors. The results of our study indicate that while both Ecodesign and Labelling can have a positive impact on the deployment and diffusion of innovations, their impact on the R&D stages of the innovation process are rather limited. For Ecodesign, the level of ambition of the requirements plays an important role for the innovation impact. For Labelling, other factors such as the consumers’ response to the label or the market position of the company are equally important. For both Ecodesign and Labelling, a long-term innovation impact can only be sustained if the enforcement of the regulation is guaranteed.

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