European Commission publishes new Regulation on energy labelling of smartphones and slate tablets

June 22, 2023

The European Commission has proposed new rules which aim to help consumers make informed and sustainable choices when purchasing mobile and cordless phones, and tablets, under the existing EU Energy Labelling Regulation. The European Commission published its proposal on the same day as the European Parliament and Council approved measures to make these devices more energy efficient, durable and easier to repair under the EU Ecodesign Regulation.

The measures are aimed at making the EU’s economy more circular, save energy, cut carbon footprints, and support circular business models.

According to the European Commission, mobile phones and tablets produced under the new rules will save almost 14 terawatt hours in primary energy each year by 2030. This is one third of the current primary energy consumption of these products. The new rules also aim to optimise the use of critical raw materials and facilitate their recycling.

Under the proposed Energy Labelling Regulation, smartphones and tablets put on the EU market will have to display information on their energy efficiency, battery longevity, protection from dust and water, and resistance to accidental drops. It will also have the display a reparability score. The new products will use the existing A-G scale EU energy labels, and the EU-wide database European Product Registry for Energy Labels (EPREL) will provide additional information about the product.

The Ecodesign Regulation sets out minimum requirements for mobile and cordless phones and tablets being placed on the EU market, including:

  • Resistance to accidental drops or scratches, protection from dust and water and use of sufficiently durable batteries. Batteries should withstand at least 800 cycles of charge and discharge while retaining at least 80% of their initial capacity.
  • Rules on disassembly and repair, including obligations for producers to make critical spare parts available to repairers within 5-10 working days, and until 7 years after the end of sales of the product model on the EU market.
  • Availability of operating system upgrades for longer periods: for at least 5 years after the product has been placed on the market.
  • Non-discriminatory access for professional repairers to any software or firmware needed for the replacement.

Next steps

The Energy Labelling rules will be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for a two-month scrutiny period, after which they will be formally adopted if there is no objection to the text by the co-legislators.

To align the entry into force of these two pieces of legislation concerning the same category of products, their publication in the Official Journal will occur on the same day, after the energy labelling rules are adopted. After their entry into force, the proposals both foresee a 21-month transition period before the requirements take effect.