SBS Newsletter – Issue 1 – 2021

SBS Newsletter – Issue 1 – 2021

Workshop on sustainability in the Personal Protective Equipment sector

On 18 March, CEN and CENELEC organised a workshop on sustainability in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sector featuring speakers from the European Commission, manufacturers, service providers, various NGOs, and other stakeholders with a vested interest in promoting sustainability.Representing the European Commission, DG GROW Policy Officer for PPE Annalisa Tessarolo spoke about action currently being taken at the European level, including the minimisation and prevention of waste in the journey towards a circular economy. In the programme, Andreas Schumacher, the SBS Board Member representing the German textile care association, illustrated the work being carried out on PPE. Mr Schumacher highlighted the important role of reusable and repairable PPE products in countering the growing problem of waste in the context of disposable products. The textile sector already has some suitable reusable solutions ready for deployment in many areas. Andrea Rechtsteiner, a PPE expert at SBS, also co-moderated one of the break-out sessions of the workshop.

The implementation of sustainability and circular economy principles in the PPE sector offers a great development opportunity for companies, including SMEs. SMEs play a key role in providing all sorts of functional PPE clothing as well as other types of clothing and textiles that are reprocessed on a regular basis. They serve customers in their own region with services and products that they offer for hire. Their business principle is that it should be possible to reprocess these products as often as possible – a core concept of a circular economy. Standards play an important role in ensuring a more sustainable sector by supporting the establishment of specifications related to reuse, reprocessing, repairability or recyclability. This is why SBS experts are actively involved in standardisation in this area.

The issues faced by many businesses in the sector, however, are either a complete absence of standards – for surgical face masks, for example, the only standard that exists is for single-use products – or a lack of non-repairability or reusability functions within PPE products. Two possible solutions discussed in the workshop included the application of eco-design principles for PPE garments in the form of a “circular economy checklist” (in the Annex of a specific PPE standard), or a more general guideline document for technical committees and standardisation working groups. This complex issue will be further discussed in the PPE Sector Forum of the European Commission, and also in the SBS Sector Forum for PPE in autumn this year.

In the context of sustainability in the PPE sector a new working group, WG 39 “Circular Textiles Chain – requirements and categories”, has recently been established under CEN/TC 248 – Textiles and textile products.

The workshop, which attracted over 400 participants, clearly highlighted the topical nature of this subject for all interested parties and the need for sustainability and circularity within the industry, something that can only be achieved with the help of standardisation.

The workshop presentations and recordings are available on the event’s dedicated webpage.

Smart Lifts: A success story of SME digitalisation through standards

A consortium of 18 small and medium-sized players (the TRE-E consortium) in a traditionally analogue-oriented sector has responded to the pressure to go digital. Their new IoT platform has successfully connected nearly 40,000 lifts and is the inspiration behind a European best practice for the green and digital transition by means of standards.

The consortium had to respond to two challenges: (1) the production and maintenance of lifts is spread widely among many different players with a need to communicate with each other and to stay up to date; and (2) the diverse origins of lift components and the significant age differences between them (the Italian lift sector is a potpourri of antiquated and cutting-edge installations and everything in between) and the need for diverse applications to manage them.

Standardisation has emerged as the key factor in unleashing the power of the TRE-E consortium and its diverse range of lift installations throughout the country. In 2019, Marco Cogliati, the consortium’s project manager and EFESME/SBS Expert, joined the ETSI smartM2M Technical Committee, which is working on the world’s first approach to open and standardised IoT applications in the lift sector, the so-called oneM2M smart lifts standard. Through standardised data formats and connectivity, TRE-E was able to efficiently share information and build an industrial IoT platform connecting lift providers, users, maintenance providers and secondary service providers. Through this platform the consortium can manage its entire installed base of nearly 40,000 lifts, with the potential to scale up throughout Italy.

The Italian lift consortium is one of many innovative SME-based initiatives across Europe. SMEs and start-ups are increasingly at the centre of innovation hubs that pool their resources and enable them to bring together the two worlds of industry and digital innovation. The result is cutting-edge industrial IoT applications that are catapulting Europe back to the forefront of smart city innovation.

Crucially, the model proposed by TRE-E also has huge implications for Europe’s green transition. Rather than disposing of old lifts entirely, the innovative consortium “upgrades” and connects them to the cloud. This approach not only extends the life cycle of lifts but also uses data analysis to make maintenance cheaper and more efficient for the consumer while optimising energy use. TRE-E has shown the potential for greater economic and social sustainability through the digitalisation of a traditionally analogue sector, also creating jobs and boosting long-term growth and innovation.

This success story is all about standards as a key to achieving openness and the interoperability of solutions by different stakeholders. Without standards, the possibility for diverse stakeholders with their different operations to work together would not exist. This is also emphasised by another important achievement by Mr Cogliati in his role as EFESME/SBS expert, i.e. the publication of the technical specification TS 103 735 by ETSI. This document, which specifies the IoT communication aspects in smart lifts, identifying and defining the elements involved in exchanges and interactions, is another important step forward.

Take part in our survey for SMEs and SME associations

At the end of 2020, SBS launched a study to identify the key areas of standardisation for SMEs. European and international standards cover a broad range of goods and services, and the number of standards developed or revised each year is constantly growing. The aim of the study is to identify the key areas of standardisation for European SMEs over the next five years. This will help to focus the activities of SBS towards those areas that have been identified as especially relevant and strategic for SMEs.

The survey, aimed at SME stakeholders (smaller businesses and SME associations), is open until 5 May.

Commission publishes the Annual Union Work Programme for standardisation 2021

In December 2020, the European Commission published the Annual Union Work Programme (AUWP) for European Standardisation 2021. The AUWP sets out the European standards and other standardisation-related deliverables that the European Commission intends to require in 2021.

The AUWP 2021 features a list of topics and priorities, including the development of standards in support of the twin transitions (climate and digital) and of medical devices as a result of COVID-19. As regards medical devices, the intention is both to revise existing standards and to develop new standards in response to the current state of the art.

Other topics also include artificial intelligence, various products under the Ecodesign Directive, online platforms, public procurement and lifts. In the lifts area, a revision of the existing harmonised standards (in particular the EN 81 series) will be accompanied by the development of new ones.

At international level, the European Commission will continue to monitor standardisation-related developments among the EU’s major trading partners, including China and the US. The Work Programme is accompanied by a mapping of activities by European standardisation organisations to support the industrial ecosystems identified in the Commission Staff Working Document (issued with the Recovery Plan).

Setting ICT Standardisation priorities for the year: The Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation 2021

In March, the European Commission released the 2021 Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation. The rolling plan identifies topics in which ICT Standardisation can support the objectives set by EU policies in four broad thematic areas: key enablers and security, societal challenges, innovation for the digital single market, and sustainable growth. The Rolling Plan was developed by the Commission and the Multi Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation (MSP), in which the DIGITAL SME ALLIANCE participates on behalf of SBS.

To reflect the Commission’s vision of leading the digital and green transformation, this year’s edition includes a chapter on the Circular Economy illustrating the work of different technical committees and working groups regarding ICT standards relevant to the circular economy.

More information 

SO and CEN-CENELEC strategies to 2030 include inclusiveness as a priority

At the beginning of 2021, ISO, CEN and CENELEC published their new strategies to 2030.  These strategies set out the main goals and priorities for ISO, CEN and CENELEC for the next 10 years. SBS is pleased to see that inclusiveness is stated as a priority over the coming years for these three organisations. Increasing the inclusiveness of the European and international standardisation system is important in promoting the active participation and representation of all relevant stakeholders, including SMEs.

The three organisations are currently working on Action Plans to define concrete activities for achieving the goals and priorities outlined in their strategies.

Further information:

Latest developments on standardisation
  • CEN creates a workshop to develop COVID-19 health and safety protocols for tourism establishments and services
Following a request from the European Commission to develop a European standardisation deliverable relating to COVID-19 health and safety protocols for tourism establishments and services, CEN has recently created a Workshop aimed at developing a document by May this year. The document will be based on ISO/DPAS 5643 ‘Tourism and related services – Measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the tourism industry’, which is currently under development. It is expected that the final CEN Workshop agreement will also include a visual identification for use by tourism establishments to show their compliance with the protocol.
  • CEN creates new Technical Committee on animal health
CEN has recently created a new Technical Committee, CEN/TC 469, on animal health. The new Committee will work on guidelines for the implementation of diagnostic methods and the quality control of diagnostic reagents. It will also work on the data management and analytical technologies used in diagnostic methods.
  • New Joint CEN and CENELEC Committee on artificial intelligence
CEN and CENELEC have recently created a new Joint Technical Committee (JTC), CEN-CLC/JTC21, on Artificial Intelligence. As a first step, the new Committee will identify and propose the adoption of international standards that are already available or under development at other organisations such as ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 on Artificial Intelligence. It will also focus on producing standardisation deliverables to address European market and societal needs as well as to underpin EU legislation and policies.
  • Standardisation developments on social responsibility
In 2020, a proposal to create a new ISO Technical Committee was presented at ISO. The ISO Technical Management Board decided to defer any final decision on the creation of a new Committee on social responsibility until June 2021. This deferment was to enable all comments received to be analysed and the results of the systematic review of ISO 26000 to be scrutinised.
Following this decision, CEN created a new Workshop aimed at developing a Workshop agreement to analyse and describe current and foreseeable future social responsibility trends and to identify potential standardisation needs. The kick-off meeting for this workshop took place on 12 February 2021.For more information on any of the topics above, contact the National Standardisation Body in your country or the SBS Secretariat.

New edition of standards for lifts published in the OJEU

The Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) has published the Commission Decision containing the updated references of standards EN 81-20 and EN 81-50 for lifts and lift components. The new versions contain a more detailed Annex ZA setting out the essential requirements of European legislation covered by the standard and normative references with dates. No substantial technical changes have been made with respect to the 2014 versions.

The publication of the 2020 versions of the above-mentioned standards concludes the first step in addressing the non-publication in the OJEU of several parts of the EN 81 series of standards revised by CEN (EN 81-21, EN 81-28, EN 81-58, EN 81-70, EN 81-71, EN 81-77) in 2018. Following the publication of EN 81-20 and EN 81-50, CEN/TC 10 on lifts will now continue with the revision of these six standards to ensure that they meet the necessary requirements for publication in the OJEU, and to provide presumption of conformity with European legislation.

On behalf of SBS, EFESME ensures that the interests and requests of European SMEs in the lift sector are taken into due account in this process.

Annex I of the Commission Decision contains a complete and updated list of harmonised standards under the Lift Directive 2014/33/EU. This is identical to the list that was last published in the OJEU in 2016, except for EN 81-20:2020 and EN 81-50:2020 which replace the 2014 versions. The 2014 versions may continue to be used for a transitional period of 18 months until 27 July 2022.


Views and opinions expressed are those of Small Business Standards (SBS) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EFTA. Neither the European Union nor EFTA can be held responsible for them.