SBS Newsletter – Issue 3 – 2021

SBS Newsletter – Issue 3 – 2021

European Industrial Strategy: SMEs and standardisation at the heart of the twin transition

In August, SBS published a position paper on the upcoming proposal for a European Standardisation Strategy. The proposal, which is scheduled to be published before the end of the year, is one of the key initiatives under the EU’s New Industrial Strategy package.

The flagship objective of the New Industrial Strategy is the “twin transition” to a green and digital economy, in which European industry will be stronger, more sustainable and more digitally advanced. To achieve this goal, the Industrial Strategy outlines several upcoming initiatives and promotes the creation of 14 “Industrial Ecosystems” – broad sectoral approaches that take into consideration all stakeholders involved in a particular value chain.

SBS welcomes the Commission’s initiative and emphasises that any horizontal approach that considers entire industrial sectors should, first and foremost, meet the needs of SMEs, which represent the overwhelming majority of stakeholders in most industries. SMEs are ready to forge ahead with the twin transition and pick up the gauntlet of becoming more central to innovation, sustainability and growth. However, to achieve this it is crucial that a positive environment is created for SMEs to thrive. SMEs need access to finance, a clear and coherent regulatory structure and manageable administrative requirements among other factors if they are to be in a position to succeed.

At the centre of the New Industrial Strategy is the Standardisation Strategy which is expected to be published before the end of 2021. The prominence of this initiative highlights the central role the European Commission gives to standards as drivers for competitiveness and growth.

SBS welcomes the Commission’s strong commitment towards standardisation and would like to highlight a few key aspects that should be at the heart of the new Standardisation Strategy to increase its impact, inclusiveness and effectiveness.

A first crucial point is to improve the conditions for SME participation in standardisation at national, European and international levels. This means enhancing their participation in strategic discussions concerning standardisation. Their experts should also be able to carry out their work without obstacles, namely by having access to the normative references used in standards under development. Inclusiveness at the international level also remains an important challenge to be addressed since European standards are increasingly being developed at that level. Although steps have been taken towards incorporating the voices of SMEs, particularly in certain standards bodies, there is still room for improvement to ensure stronger and more effective SME participation.

Clarifying and improving the system for the development, assessment and citation of harmonised standards is also of immense importance. All actors within the standardisation system must have clear roles, while the assessment of harmonised standards will need precise, definite criteria. Better foresight and anticipation of future standardisation needs would also create an environment where SMEs are more competitive and better prepared to react to standardisation developments.

A prerequisite for greater SME involvement in standardisation is the development of tools for identifying standards that are relevant to SMEs and monitoring those standards. Effective and established tools, such as the SBS SME Compatibility Test for Standards and CEN-CENELEC Guide 17, should also be promoted in earnest.

Considering that inclusiveness and SME participation are already among the guiding principles of the European Regulation on Standardisation (1025/2012), SBS calls for a full and complete implementation of the Regulation rather than for its revision.

Underpinning the Commission’s vision of standardisation in the EU Industrial Strategy is the declared ambition to increase Europe’s influence on international standardisation. SBS is fully behind this vision and augmented ambition, but these goals can only be achieved if the necessary resources are provided and all economic actors, including SMEs and microenterprises, have the chance to prosper and have their voices heard.

The SBS position paper on the EU Standardisation Strategy can be found in full here.

SBS ICT Forum: SMEs driving the twin transition and the importance of ICT standards
On 29 September, SBS organised its annual ICT Forum on “Empowering SMEs to lead ICT standardisation for the twin transition”. Speakers discussed the role of ICT standards for the integration of today’s enabling technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things, into the business models and processes of traditional sectors. This would allow Europe to meet its green targets and strengthen its position in the global market by offering sustainable products and solutions that reflect its values.

There was a broad acknowledgement and agreement on the innovation that SMEs are already providing in linking the circular economy to digital technologies and, therefore, SMEs should not be seen as a weak economic link but as drivers of the twin transition. Speakers highlighted that ICT standards have helped SMEs from both ends of the supply chain to integrate requirements for environmental sustainability into their operations. For this reason, SMEs should have a greater influence in standardisation. A focus on the data economy is essential for the twin transition, and standards are needed for the flow of data. Standards should therefore be seen as a tool to drive further innovation and lead the way forward to a resilient, green European economy.

Event recording

SBS Expert awarded the oneM2M Technical Excellence Award 2021 
On 1 October, SBS Expert Massimo Vanetti won the oneM2M Technical Excellence Award 2021. The award pays tribute to the distinguished and sustained technical contributions that Mr Vanetti has provided over the last year and to “his engagement in the industrial area and his work with various SMEs as well as for representing onM2M on various occasions”.

It is also a recognition of the impressive involvement of SMEs, where the work of SBS, through Mr Vanetti, in oneM2M significantly contributed to the Indian Government’s adoption of oneM2M as a national standard, paving the way for European SMEs to access the Indian IoT market and collaborate with Indian counterparts on such projects. SBS, in collaboration with ETSI, was also able to showcase a real-life example of how the digital transformation in the lifts sector is achieving sustainability and environmental goals.

UK extends validity of CE marking until 1 January 2023
Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the UK government announced that goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) would require a UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking. The UKCA marking came into effect on 1 January 2021 and covers most goods which previously required the CE marking. However, to allow businesses time to adapt to the new requirements, a transition period had originally been agreed, during which the CE marking would still be accepted until 1 January 2022.

In August 2021, the UK announced that it had extended the deadline for the use of the CE marking for most goods sold in Great Britain until 1 January 2023. This extra year will allow businesses more time to prepare for compliance with the new UKCA mark while giving UK Approved Bodies more time to build up their capacity to certify products under the new marking.

The UK government has updated its guidance that businesses can continue to use the CE marking until 1 January 2023 if any of the following apply:

  • The CE marking is currently applied to the goods based on self-declaration;
  • A mandatory third-party conformity assessment was carried out by an EU-recognised notified body;
  • The certificate of conformity previously held by a UK approved body was transferred to an EU-recognised notified body prior to 1 January 2021.
Stakeholders should be aware that the CE marking will only continue to be accepted until the end of 2022 so long as the CE marking rules for the particular product have not diverged from UK rules.

Further details can be found in the guidance from the UK government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

CE marking
The CE marking indicates that a product meets all the applicable EU legal requirements and it can be legally sold in the European Economic Area (EU member states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Turkey.
Not all products need a CE marking. It is compulsory only when established in the relevant European legislation covering the product. It is forbidden to affix a CE marking to other products.

By placing the CE mark on a product, a manufacturer is declaring, on his sole responsibility, that the product meets all the legal requirements to achieve the CE marking. A CE marking does not necessarily require the involvement of a third party (e.g. a notified body) to assess the conformity of the product with applicable legislation. This depends on the product and the specific conformity assessment procedure(s) set out in the applicable legislation. EU legislation does allow for the self-declaration of conformity by the manufacturer in certain cases.

Harmonised European standards support manufacturers and conformity assessment bodies to assess the compliance of a product with the essential requirements of EU legislation. Harmonised standards establish a presumption of conformity with the essential requirements they aim to cover if their references have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

A CE marking is neither a marketing tool nor an indication of the product’s origin.

Latest developments in standardisation
  • New ISO proposal on small hydropower plants
The Standardisation Administration of China (SAC) has put forward a proposal to create a new ISO Technical Committee on small hydropower plants with an output of up to 30 MW. According to the proposal, the Committee would develop standards and other documents in relation to terminology, requirements and methodology for the site selection and planning of plants, technical requirements for their design (e.g. feasibility study), construction and maintenance. The proposed standards would build on the ISO International Workshop Agreement (IWA) 33 on small hydropower plants. ISO is consulting its members (the national standards bodies) about the proposal until 19 November 2021.
  • New ISO proposal on heat supply networks
In addition to the above-mentioned proposal, the SAC has also put forward a proposal to create a new ISO Technical Committee on Heat Supply Networks. If created, the new Technical Committee would focus on the development of standards covering terminology, guidelines for the design of heat supply networks, specifications for their operation and maintenance, and basic requirements for their control and regulation. ISO members are being consulted about the proposal until 8 December 2021.

  • ISO decides not to create new Technical Committee on Social Responsibility
A proposal to create a new ISO Technical Committee on Social Responsibility was put forward in 2020 by the French standards body. At the time, SBS submitted comments against this proposal. Considering the comments received from stakeholders and the ISO members and that the ISO 26000 standard was up for review, the ISO Technical Management Board (TMB) decided to defer any final decision on the creation of a new committee to June 2021. In June, the ISO TMB decided not to establish the committee.
  • CEN and CENELEC launch a new website
In September, CEN and CENELEC launched a new central website containing information on both organisations. The new website provides information on sector news and events to stakeholders and the general public. Furthermore, a dedicated expert area has been introduced where all CEN and CENELEC support tools and applications can be accessed in one place. A video tutorial on the website’s new features and structure is available.
  • ETSI Smart M2M announces a New Work Item
The New Work Item will focus on Smart Escalators in IoT systems. The document (Technical Specification 103.849) will serve as a blueprint for developing a future European standard for escalators, including information on signals, alarms and commands, communication system, and system interoperability.
SBS expert, Mr. Cogliati, was appointed as the rapporteur to ETSI Smart M2M for this new work item ensuring that the positions of SMEs in the lifts and ancillary sectors are respected.
Publication of new harmonised standards
  • Commission Implementing Decision of 3 June 2021 on the harmonised standards for household dishwashers drafted in support of Regulation (EU) 2019/2022 and Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2017 on Eco-design and Energy labelling
  • Commission Implementing Decision of 3 June 2021 on the harmonised standards for household washing machines and household washer-dryers drafted in support of Regulation (EU) 2019/2023 and Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2014 on Eco-design and Energy labelling
  • Commission Implementing Decision (EU) of 17 June 2021 amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/1956 as regards harmonised standards for refrigerating, ice-cream and ice makers appliances, laboratory equipment for the heating of materials, automatic and semi-automatic laboratory equipment for analysis and other purposes, electrical equipment with ratings related to electrical supply, appliances for skin exposure to ultraviolet and infrared radiation, room heaters, electric irons, stationary cooking ranges, hobs, ovens and similar appliances, fabric steamers, electromechanical control circuit devices, blankets, pads, clothing and similar flexible heating appliances and certain other electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits
  • Commission Implementing Decision of 16 July 2021 amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/668 as regards harmonised standards on hearing protectors
  • Commission Implementing Decision of 19 July 2021 amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/167 as regards harmonised standards for certain radio equipment concerning ground- and wall-probing radio determination devices, radio frequency identification equipment, radio equipment for Euroloop railway systems, networked short range devices, wireless industrial applications and broadband communication radiolink for ships and off-shore installations
  • Commission Implementing Decision of 26 July 2021 amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/76 as regards harmonised standards on safety rules for the construction and installation of firefighters lifts and behaviour of lifts in the event of fire
  • Commission implementing Decision of 11 August 2021 amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/2048 as regards the harmonised standard for websites and mobile applications
  • Commission Implementing Decision of 25 August 2021 amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/1202 as regards harmonised standards for light offshore cranes
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.


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.