The Voluntary Agreement on imaging equipment (VA) concluded by the industry representatives on 16 February 2011 establishes a set of targets to be met by a defined percentage of the imaging equipment in scope and sold on the EU market. The agreement aims to reduce the environmental impact of imaging equipment both by design and by helping customers make informed choices during purchase and usage of the products.
The Ecodesign Directive (Art. 17) provides for alternative approaches to implementing measures, such as voluntary agreements if certain legal conditions are met. The European Commission recognised the VA on imaging equipment through a Report to the European Parliament and the Council published on 29 January 2013.
The VA is currently being revised with two main objectives: to align its provisions with the Guidelines for self-regulation measures published by the Commission in November 2016 as part of the 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package, and to update the primary design requirements for taking stock of the Energy Star 3.0 specifications for imaging equipment. This revision is also an opportunity to re-examine the VA support to the objectives of circular economy.
The aim of the study was to undertake an assessment of the VA on imaging equipment and provide evidence for supporting its revision.
The work included:
Assessment of the appropriateness of primary design requirements set by the VA;
Evaluation of the energy savings achieved by the VA to date;
Assessment of the improvement potential with regard to future energy savings;
Assessment of the appropriateness and effectiveness of resource efficiency requirements set by the VA, and improvement potential;
Assessment of the appropriateness and effectiveness of information requirements set by the VA, and improvement potential;
Assessment of the effectiveness of the current policy option and possible proposals for its improvement or change.
The study team has undertaken an assessment of the VA on imaging equipment based on the MEErP methodology with deviations where needed. In particular, the baseline technical requirements should be the Energy Star 2.0 specifications for imaging equipment, while the target requirements could be considered from the outset the new Energy Star 3.0 specifications.
MEErP tasks 1 to 4 has been addressed as such, but tasks 5 and 6 were simplified with regard to identifying improvement potential for energy consumption.
The options for an enhanced contribution of imaging equipment to the objectives of circular economy was investigated though, notably with regard to equipment reparability and durability, the design and use of printer cartridges and the use of paper. Experiences gained from ongoing work at Joint Research Centre (DG Environment) with update of the Green Public Procurement for imaging equipment have been included.
Task 7 examined the possible policy options by including an evaluation of the energy savings achieved so far through the VA approach, as well as of the other environmental benefits (e.g. GHG emissions, materials consumption – including consumables - and the use of rare earth materials).
The assessment included a quantitative evaluation of the impact of the VA, estimating the achieved energy savings. Finally, the assessment addressed the objectives described above. Task 7 in particular (with additional sub-tasks if needed) provided relevant conclusions against all objectives set.
The study started in March 2018 and finished October 2019. The table shows the timeline for the activities.