SBS Newsletter – Issue 2 – 2024 – SMEs getting ready for the new Ecodesign and Digital Product Passport era

SBS Newsletter – Issue 2 – 2024 – SMEs getting ready for the new Ecodesign and Digital Product Passport era

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SMEs getting ready for the new Ecodesign and Digital Product Passport era

Following the European Parliament’s approval in April and the adoption by the Council on 27 May, the publication of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulation (ESPR) in the Official Journal of the European Union is expected for summer 2024. The ESPR extends the scope of the current Ecodesign Directive to non-energy related products, establishing a framework to set ecodesign requirements to improve their circularity, energy performance and other environmental sustainability aspects of products. It is important to highlight that the regulation does not establish specific measures or requirements on products but just a framework enabling the setting of performance and information requirements for almost all categories of goods placed on the EU market.

In March 2025, the Commission will publish its first working plan indicating the priority product groups for which it intends to set specific requirements through delegated acts. Textiles and steel are some of the products that are expected to be included in this first working plan. The adoption of the first ESPR measures will most likely be adopted in 2026 and will need to be implemented in 2027 or 2028. Product-specific measures will be based on detailed preparatory studies and impact assessments and involve thorough stakeholder consultations through the Ecodesign Forum. The Forum will gather Member States and other stakeholders. A call for participation in the Ecodesign Forum, to which SBS looks forward to bringing its expertise as an advocate for SMEs in standardisation, is expected to be issued in summer 2024 with a first meeting planned for the end of the year.

One of the main innovations of the ESPR, is the introduction of a digital product passport (DPP) for all regulated products, which will store information on their performance, traceability and compliance with the requirements. This data will be accessible on different levels by supply chain actors, regulators and consumers.  CEN-CENELEC JTC 24, to which SBS has appointed an expert, has been mandated to develop harmonised standards for the “DPP framework and system”, e.g. unique identifiers; data carriers and links between physical product and digital representation; access rights management, system security, or data exchange protocols and data formats. The main difficulties of the standardisation work will be to deal with unclear aspects, such as the functioning of the DPP registry, which will be regulated later through delegated acts. Another challenge will be to meet the tight deadline of December 2025 for delivering the standards. If the deadline is not met, the Commission will adopt common specifications by means of implementing acts as an alternative to standards.

The product data to be included in a DPP will depend on the delegated acts and the first products to be tackled will be those falling under the scope of the Battery Regulation.

Another significant provision introduced by the ESPR is a ban on the destruction of unsold consumer products which applies to businesses, including medium-sized enterprises, with exemptions for small and micro-sized enterprises. This ban will apply six years after the publication of the ESPR in the EU Official Journal.

In view of the imminent entering into force of the ESPR, the European Commission organised a webinar on 22 May to disseminate and clarify to stakeholders the main provisions of the regulation (the event’s recording is available here).

Looking ahead, SMEs will face the need to comply with numerous sustainability requirements. Support measures for SMEs, as advocated by SBS in its position paper, have been strengthened in the final ESPR. The Commission will also provide guidelines and tools, support EU programs for SMEs to help them integrate environmental sustainability and provide financial support for their participation in the Ecodesign Forum. In this respect, Member States are urged to consult with SMEs and implement supportive measures, including one-stop shops for ecodesign awareness, networking opportunities, financial support, access to finance, specialised training and technical assistance.

While the transition to sustainable product design entails significant initial efforts and investments with proper guidance and support, SMEs should be able to reap long-term benefits such as cost savings, enhanced brand reputation and access to new markets, paving the way for sustainable growth.

High-Level Forum workshop highlights best practices to improve access and participation in national standardisation

On 5 June, SBS, CEN and CENELEC co-organised the workshop “Driving Inclusiveness in Standardisation: How to strengthen national participation”, hosted by the Belgian FPS Economy.

The workshop, organised under the High-Level Forum on European standardisation (HLF) and its workstream on inclusiveness in national standardisation, brought together representatives from national governments, national standardisation bodies (NSBs), industry, SMEs, societal and other stakeholders.

The event opened with speeches by high-level representatives of the Belgian government and the European Commission.  SBS and CEN and CENELEC who lead the High-Level Forum work on national inclusiveness presented the work carried out so far and the findings gathered through questionnaires and interviews carried out with national stakeholders, NSBs and government representatives on the conditions and measures to facilitate access and the participation of stakeholders in standardisation at the national level.

The workshop included three panels tackling the access stakeholders to national standardisation; the effective participation of stakeholders already active in the standardisation system and the sharing and promotion of existing best practices. The speakers brought forward concrete suggestions, examples and testimonials, creating a lively and interactive discussion.

The workshop’s conclusions and the findings of the report will lead to the drafting of a set of recommendations to improve inclusiveness in standardisation at national level that will be sent to the High-Level Forum for endorsement.

More information on the workshop can be found on the SBS website event page.

SBS hosts innovation management workshops

Between 21 and 24 May, SBS hosted the meeting of the ISO/TC 279 Working Group 3 on innovation management tools and methods at its premises in Brussels. During this time, SBS organised two online workshops in collaboration with the ISO/TC 279/WG 3 to explain the work of this ISO technical committee and to engage with SMEs and their representatives to better understand their needs. The goal was to ensure the development of relevant international standards tailored for SMEs.
The ISO 56000 series of standards on innovation management includes various standards such as ISO 56002 providing guidance on innovation management systems, ISO 56003 on innovation partnerships or ISO 56005 on tools and methods to manage intellectual property in the innovation process. A new standard, ISO 56008 on innovation operation measurements is set to be published in May 2024, and ISO 56001 Innovation Management System – Requirements is currently in the final voting. Additionally, Working Group 3 is considering the development of several new standards to address market needs and is seeking input from selected stakeholders to validate the quality and relevance of these proposals.Belen Suarez, SBS expert in ISO/TC 279, has stressed the need to develop a specific standard that consolidates all relevant elements of innovation management for smaller businesses into a single document. This approach would eliminate the need to consult multiple documents and complement existing standards by addressing elements particularly important to SMEs.During the workshops, SBS also expressed concerns about the development of a certifiable standard and the request for such certificates for research or innovation projects/funds or specific contracts. Certification can be burdensome for SMEs, involving significant time, effort, and costs. Following such an approach could create a competitive disadvantage and exclude many innovative SMEs from participating in crucial activities. Many SMEs are agile and capable of significant innovation without formal certification. Mandatory certification risks creating barriers that prevent these diverse and dynamic contributions.

Workshops’ material:

CPR Acquis Expert Group: driving environmental sustainability in construction products

Established in 2021, the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) Acquis Expert Group has been a cornerstone in the European Union’s efforts to develop harmonised technical specifications for construction products. Recently included under the revised CPR, this group now has a solid legal basis to continue its essential work. Comprising experts designated by Member States, representatives of European standardisation organisations and relevant European stakeholder organisations, the group plays a vital role in shaping the future of construction products in Europe. SBS and its experts are actively involved and committed to representing the interests of SMEs in the Group.

For SMEs in the construction sector, the CPR Acquis Expert Group is vital. By drafting the standardisation requests for construction products, it enables the European Commission to harmonise technical specifications, including environmental characteristics, and address some deficiencies. Participation allows SMEs to influence the development of standards, promote sustainable practices and enhance their practical implementation.Experts interested in joining the CPR Acquis Expert Group to represent SMEs should contact SBS. Involvement is crucial for representing smaller businesses’ needs, driving sustainable transformation in the construction sector and supporting environmental sustainability and the circular economy. The group is key to achieving the EU’s environmental goals and ensuring products meet high safety and sustainability requirements. The involvement of SMEs in the development of such standards is becoming increasingly important.

ETSI elects new Director General

On the occasion of ETSI’s 83rd General Assembly on 17 and 18 April, its members elected their new Director General for a five-year term. Swedish candidate Jan Ellsberger was elected with a majority in the third ballot, in a run-off against incumbent Luis Jorge Romero (Director General since 2011) and Gilles Bregant.

Jan Ellsberger has been involved in ETSI for 30 years in various positions. Previous employment relations notably include Ericsson and Huawei. He had been invited to SBS’ Digitalisation Working Group meeting of September 2023 to present his vision to the SME community. SBS looks forward to further engagement with ETSI’s new leadership.

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Call for experts for the representation of SMEs in standardisation work in 2025

Each year, SBS appoints experts to represent the interests of SMEs in European and international standardisation committees. Experts are appointed to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI committees at the European level and to ISO and IEC committees at the international level. This year’s open call will be published in the last week of June 2024. It will be published in the latest news section of the SBS website.

In the context of this call, SBS is organising a webinar on 29 August 2024 to present the content of the 2025 call and to answer questions from potential applicants.

Sign up for the webinar and check back on the SBS website in the last week of June for details regarding the 2025 open call!

Join SBS’ Meeting Standards campaign!

SBS is organising the second edition of Meeting Standards from 25 to 29 November 2024.
Meeting Standards is a campaign to raise awareness among SMEs and SME organisations about the importance of standardisation and getting involved in the standards writing process. Moreover, the aim is to inform SMEs about the latest developments in standardisation that may be relevant to them.
Do you represent European SMEs, a standards body, or are part of a project which involves standardisation and is targeted at SMEs? Do you think SMEs should be more aware of the benefits of standards and have a say in their development? Then this campaign could be for YOU. Join the campaign by submitting an activity that will benefit Europe’s SMEs!Submit your activity proposal on this page.
Any questions? Write to us


The New Legislative Framework

First adopted in 2008, the new legislative framework (NLF) is a package of EU measures to improve the internal market for goods and strengthen the conditions for placing a wide range of products on the EU market. The aim is to upgrade market surveillance and boost the quality of conformity assessments. It also clarifies the use of CE marking and creates a toolbox of measures for use in product legislation. The NLF replaces the EU’s ‘New Approach’ and it comprises:

European standards are key to the NLF. The NLF regulations and directives set out essential requirements that products must meet to ensure safety, health, and environmental protection. European harmonised standards cited in the Official Journal of the European Union provide the technical specifications that manufacturers can follow to ensure their products meet these essential requirements. When manufacturers use harmonised standards, the products benefit from a presumption of conformity with the applicable legislative requirements.


Latest developments in standardisation

On 22 and 23 May, a two-day conference on “Harmonized European Standards: A Journey from Legal Framework to Citation in the Official Journal of the European Union” was co-organised by CEN, CENELEC, the European Commission and EFTA. The programme of the conference included general sessions tackling all stages of the development of harmonised standards, from standardisation requests to citation and four sectoral deep dives in areas where harmonised standards are particularly important (Machinery; Healthcare and Medical Devices; Low-voltage Directive; Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive). Post-event material is available here.

  • First plenary meeting of the Joint Technical Committee CEN-CENELEC JTC on Horizontal topics for PPE

On 8 April, the new CEN-CENELEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC) on horizontal topics for PPE held its first plenary meeting. This JTC aims to deliver outcomes encompassing horizontal matters applicable to various types of PPE and beyond specific product standards. In this plenary meeting, the final title, scope, organisation and resources of the JTC were discussed and the horizontal topics covered by the JTC were delineated. Its second plenary meeting is now scheduled to be held online on 3 September.

  • Proposal for new CEN-CLC Technical Committee on ‘Data management, Dataspaces, Cloud and Edge’

The Italian Standards Body, UNI, has submitted a proposal for the creation of a new Joint CEN and CENELEC Technical Committee (JTC) in the field of data management, dataspaces, cloud and edge. If created the new TC would work on topics including data governance, data quality and data lifecycle management; interoperability, portability and switch ability; smart technology, objects, distributed computing devices and data services. The aim is to focus on European requirements and identify/complement standards available or under development in other SDOs (e.g. ISO/IEC JTC 1, ITU-T, IEEE, OASIS…) which could support the EU Digital Single Market and policies. Do not hesitate to contact your National Standards Body and SBS for more information on the proposal. CEN and CENELEC are expected to decide on the creation of the new Committee at the beginning of July.

Publication of new harmonised standards

  • Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2024/581 of 16 February 2024 on the harmonised standard for accreditation of medical laboratories drafted in support of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council – OJ L, 2024/581, 20.02.2024
  • Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2024/224 of 10 January 2024 on the harmonised standards for appliances burning gaseous fuels drafted in support of Regulation (EU) 2016/426 of the European Parliament and of the Council – OJ L, 2024/224, 12.01.2024
  • Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2024/373 of 24 January 2024 on the harmonised standards for inspection of pesticide application equipment in use drafted in support of Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council – OJ L, 2024/373, 25.01.2024

The latest list of harmonised standards referenced in the Official Journal including the consolidated list of references can be consulted on the European Commission website.

Latest Position Papers

Future Events

20/6 – How Standards can help European SMEs Succeed and Scale – Success Stories & Supports
29/8 – Info-Webinar SBS Call for Experts (2025)
25/9 – SBS Experts Training (internal meeting)
25-29/11 – Meeting Standards


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.