What is ErP?
ErP stands for “Energy-related Products” and is a classification primarily used by the European Union. US government run Export.gov describes these products as ones “which indirectly impact energy consumption, such as windows and faucets among others [and] are also relevant for purposes of efficiency”. It is used by the EU primarily as a way to classify products subject to their environmental regulations. Prior to October 21st, 2009 these regulations were more broadly known as the Eco-Design Directive which regulated EuP, or Energy using Products such as televisions and computers. However after this point the European Council (EC) passed a revision whereas this directive encompassed both ErP and EuP and became known as the “Eco-Design for Energy Using Products Framework Directive”.
ErP is closely linked with many important factors that can affect the environment during its production, sale, and life cycle. In order to prove that your manufactured good is in line with European Union standards it must be affixed with the CE marking, for which there are strict requirements. In order to qualify for this accreditation, your manufacturer must be able to provide a Declaration of Conformity, proving that the product and manufacturer meet basic technical requirements. The adoption of the standards is often voluntary and may sometimes require (or allow) a third party (usually the certification body) to participate. Products manufactured according to the harmonized standard will be assumed to be in line with the basic requirements specific for that particular good.
The Purpose of ErP
The ErP directive aims to create a complete regulatory framework and basis for the development of the manufacturing culture worldwide. It has been adopted with the following four goals in mind.
- To ensure the free circulation of ErP in the EU within the region encompassing its member states;
- To enhance the overall environmental performance of these products in an attempt to preserve the environment;
- To contribute to the stable supply of energy, and enhance the competitiveness of EU economies;
- To protect the interests of both industry and consumers;
Why is ErP Necessary?
Throughout the value chain for EuP/ErP it is widely believed that during the production, distribution, use, and abandonment stages there will be some measureable impact on the environment, including green house gas emissions and energy and resource consumption. According to the German Environmental Protection Agency (2000), more than 80% of the environmental impact of goods is related to product design during the product development stage. The idea behind ErP classification and the EU directives is that if the totality of the environmental impact is considered, there will be increased incentive to improve the environmental performance of the product. In recent years, the impact on the environment of electrical products has been receiving increased scrutiny, and countries have improved various goals and standards for this impact, a trend that can be seen in the EU standardizing the requirements for the designs of products.
Getting your ErP Certified
Some of the world’s leading testing, certification, and inspection bodies including the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), LCIE in France, ADT in Taiwan, Bureau Veritas Group, Curtis-Straus, and INNOVA in Germany have worked together for standardized systems for accreditation and testing. For example, as a core partner of the preliminary study of eco-design directive, Bureau Veritas Group has significant experience in the field of eco-design providing invaluable contributions to the certification and testing communities. Environmental research experts across the globe can now work closely to help provide EuP conformity assessment, including complete ErP reports and CE approval.
How is This Applied in China?
EUP Directive 2005/32/EC is part of the CE certification initiative. There are institutions within China such as inspection companies and specialized laboratories that are able to provide you with CE EUP certification that are inline with the directive. These organizations are certified by the above-mentioned certification bodies and are certified to act as agents on their behalf. They can also often process applications to be certified according to the RoHS or the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive adopted in the EU since 2003. Usually your factory should be able to handle this application process and will apply with the appropriate agencies on your behalf. The laboratory will expect the following from your factory:
- Inspection application
- Confirmation sheet of product information
- Testing sample
- Product specifications
- Circuit diagram (if applicable)
- PCB board diagram (if applicable)
- Business license (of the manufacturer)
- Trademark registration (if applicable)
Below you can see an outline of the application process with your Chinese supplier.
It is always important when you plan on importing from any foreign country that you fully understand any regulatory restrictions that may be placed on your product and remember that these vary between countries and regions. If you plan on importing into the EU make sure you familiarize yourself with the restrictions on EuP and ErP products and identify whether the product you are manufacturing falls under these categorizations. Is it in your best interest to get CE certifications? Is your factory capable of handling this for you? These are key questions that you should have answers to, even before making a final decision on a factory.
Hopefully this post was able to provide a strong foundation for a better understanding of the related EU regulations and ways to approach them!