Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems are a French specificity. At European level, only five EPR channels are imposed by the framework directive: packages, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), end-of-life vehicles, storage batteries and batteries. There are about 15 ERP channels, in France, and about 20 eco-organisations. Current schemes need to be developed to become a sustainable industry based on circular economy. Here-below is a summary of the discussions held in Worskhop 6 of the Assises.


European overview

An overview of ERP channels in EU member states was drawn up by the Deloitte agency. It shows that the various systems are very heterogeneous, with highly variable collection and cover rates and costs. No specific model can actually be distinguished. The waste framework directive, which is being reviewed, sets the aim to streamline ERP system criteria, and incorporates a number of the rules adopted in France, in terms of transparency, cost coverage, bonus-malus schemes to promote eco-design, incentives to valorise recyclable products, etc.

Key success factors

For marketers, the ERP model, as a financing tool for the management of product end-of-life, should serve, before all, an environmental ambition. Marketers have been seeking the improvement of the environmental impact of products, and have been operationally involved in the implementation of ambitious eco-design, decontamination and recycling objectives. Another key factor is to create conditions allowing operators to invest locally, such as the signing of contracts of a sufficient duration to facilitate research and innovation. Contracts are usually signed for periods of 2 to 6 years at best. At last, the third success factor is the definition of a cooperation model for all stakeholders. This model has been prevailing for 20 years in France. It is used, for instance, in the drawing up of contract specifications, but it should be followed over the entire life of agreements. The objective should not be the distribution of responsibilities, but rather the possibility, for everyone, to identify their role in the liability chain. Indeed, there should be a clearer distribution of responsibilities in terms of creation of value and risk management.

European quality standards for recycled materials

The work accomplished by the WEEE channels at European level, with the setting up of the “Weeelabex” standard, was welcomed. It is regrettable, however, that each member state, in the end, is to decide whether or not these standards should be imposed to authorised eco-organisations. As only 2 or 3 countries in Europe actually did so, there is now a real distortion of competition on increasingly continental markets.

Proposals for improvement

ERP schemes should allow to create a sustainable waste industry by defining criteria for the setting of environmental objectives and by incorporating them into respective contract specifications. Contract specifications should define relations between operators and eco-organisations, so as to take into account technical and industrial realities. Situations with a single contractor and short-term markets, likely to compromise the whole system, should be avoided, and the relation between operators and eco-organisations should be detailed in contract specifications to secure the process. For each waste channel, the industrial project should be put at the heart of the system, and focus on matters related to the taking of risks by concerned businesses and the sustainability of jobs. A shared governance is needed to make virtuous channels sustainable.


> Please also read the summary of the Workshop drawn up during the Assises: ERP systems: an efficient model that needs to be enhanced

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