A Guide to The European Green Deal’s Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR)



The Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) was proposed by the European Commission (EC) on 30 March 2022.  It is part of the European Green Deal that aims at transforming the European Union (EU) into a climate-neutral, resource-efficient, and competitive economy by 2050.  It also aims to promote sustainable products in the EU market.  Though still in its early stages, ESPR could set global standards for ecodesign.


Deadlines and Transition Periods

Deadlines and transition periods will be defined in delegated acts after the ESPR is adopted, during its implementation phase from 2024 to 2030.  The first ESPR delegated act is anticipated to be issued no earlier than one year after the ESPR takes effect, around the second quarter of 2025.  This act will have a transition period of at least 18 months before it becomes effective, approximately by the fourth quarter of 2026.


What Is the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR)?

ESPR sets requirements for the design and performance of sustainable products sold in the EU.  It aims to improve circularity, resource efficiency, and energy efficiency.  Unlike the current Ecodesign Directive, which focuses only on energy-related products, ESPR covers a wide range of product categories.

The regulation governs virtually all products placed on the market or put into service in the EU, with limited exclusions such as food, feed, and medicinal products.  The regulation includes 16 product aspects that define environmental sustainability, including durability, reliability, reusability, upgradability, reparability, and environmental impacts.

Additionally, the regulation sets performance and information requirements for products, including minimum quantities of recycled content, restrictions on certain substances, and the inclusion of a Digital Product Passport (DPP), which provides information on products’ sustainability attributes, empowering consumers to make informed choices and facilitating repairs and recycling.


Key Points of ESPR

ESPR will affect different product groups at different times, prioritising high-impact items like textiles, furniture, and chemicals.  Eventually, it will cover all products in the EU market, focusing on:

  • Carbon footprint
  • Durability, reusability, and repairability
  • Requirements for unsold consumer products
  • Recycled content
  • Digital Product Passport for material and sustainability transparency
  • Energy and resource efficiency
  • Use of non-circular materials


Why ESPR Matters

ESPR could have a big impact globally.  Known as the Brussels Effect, EU regulations often influence laws in other regions, potentially setting global standards for sustainable product design.

This means that non-EU manufacturers wanting to sell their products in the EU must ensure their products meet the ESPR’s requirements, which will lead to a worldwide impact on sustainable product design and production practices.


The Importance of ESPR

ESPR aims to standardise ecodesign, offering a clear framework for companies committed to sustainability.  This helps address the current lack of global guidelines, providing a science-backed roadmap for manufacturers and designers.

ESPR takes a life-cycle approach to product design, focusing on reducing environmental impacts from the design phase through end-of-life.  By 2030, ESPR is expected to save 132 million tonnes of oil equivalent in primary energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 260 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, and create 200,000 new jobs.


Who Needs to Comply with ESPR?

ESPR applies to all products sold in the EU, regardless of where they are made.  This means that US-based ecommerce businesses and other non-EU companies operating in the EU market must comply.  The regulation applies to virtually every product category placed on the EU market, expanding beyond the current scope of energy-related products.


Impact on Suppliers

Suppliers to businesses selling products in the EU must also meet ESPR requirements.  The Digital Product Passport will require detailed information about product materials, so suppliers need to provide this data to their customers.


How ESPR Affects Ecommerce Businesses

For companies selling products in the EU, compliance with ESPR is mandatory.  Products must meet the new regulations or be withdrawn from the market.  Additionally, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ESPR could influence similar laws worldwide, affecting global product design standards.

Manufacturers and importers have to ensure their products meet the new sustainability criteria set by ESPR, which may involve redesigning products, manufacturing processes, or supply chains.  Compliance is necessary for market access in the EU.


Preparing for ESPR

With ESPR requirements, businesses, especially in fashion and textiles, should take steps to ensure compliance.  Here are some key strategies:

1. Conduct a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

Perform an LCA to assess your product’s environmental impact from creation to disposal.  This approach helps identify areas for improvement in product design with sustainability in mind.

2. Use ESG Reporting Software

Integrate sustainability reporting into your tech stack for real-time insights into your environmental impact.  This helps identify and address weak points, crucial for developing sustainability initiatives and staying compliant with other climate laws.

3. Organise a Sustainability Audit

A sustainability audit provides an overall view of your company’s environmental impact.  While ESG reporting offers real-time data, an audit gives a comprehensive snapshot, both useful for strategic planning.

4. Gain ESG Certification

Achieving ESG certification aligns your business with trusted sustainability frameworks, moving you closer to compliance with climate laws.  It also offers third-party validation of your sustainability commitment, enhancing stakeholder confidence.

5. Learn Ecodesign Basics

Understanding ecodesign basics, which ESPR builds on, ensures that your products are on the path to compliance. This foundational knowledge is crucial for integrating sustainable practices into your product development process.



The Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation is a significant step towards sustainable commerce in the EU and potentially worldwide.  By understanding and preparing for ESPR, businesses can ensure compliance and lead in sustainable product innovation.  Now is the time to integrate these practices into your operations, positioning your company at the forefront of sustainable design.

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