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23 Apr 2013


EU Priorities 2020
Trade & Society

Right intention, wrong implementation: Vorwerk is strongly committed to having the planned EU directive redefined

Wuppertal, 23 April 2013 – A European Commission draft with regard to energy labelling of vacuum cleaners is on the way. In Vorwerk's view, however, this draft will achieve the exact opposite of what it intends – with serious consequences. The problem lies in the proposed method for determining the energy efficiency class of a vacuum cleaner. Instead of the labelling providing information on the energy efficiency – as intended – the method of evaluation used according to the current draft simply identifies the electrical power consumption, in other words the wattage. Unless and until the suction power is also considered by the evaluation method, the resulting labelling will simply mislead consumers and create completely incorrect incentives for manufacturers of vacuum cleaners. Vorwerk & Co. KG is firmly committed to having the energy efficiency classes in the Commission's 2010/30/EU draft redefined. The European Parliament is due to give its decision on the draft soon.

In principle, Vorwerk & Co. KG fully supports the aim of the new directive to label the energy efficiency of vacuum cleaners. Such classification would for the first time provide an opportunity to inform consumers of the actual quality of a vacuum cleaner and offer them assistance and guidance in making a purchase. A good vacuum cleaner must be energy efficient, but this means both low energy consumption and high suction power. According to the current draft, appliances with completely inadequate cleaning performance would also be placed in the top energy efficiency classes provided that their electrical power consumption – in other words wattage – is low. However, such vacuum cleaners need to be used for significantly longer in order to clean satisfactorily. Therefore instead of presenting vacuum cleaners that are inefficient and consume more energy in the long term in an objective way, the label would disguise them and in so doing reward the energy wastage.

"As urgently needed and promising the aim of the directive may be, the more worrying is its planned implementation," explains Thomas Rodemann, Head of Research & Development at Vorwerk. "In the European Commission's point of view, the label should simply reflect the energy consumption of an appliance, instead of providing information on the energy efficiency, in other words the best possible dust pick-up for a specific energy consumption." In this current form, the energy labelling would have disastrous consequences for three reasons.

1.Consumers would be misled

Consumers should rightly be able to expect that vacuum cleaners with the best energy efficiency classes are actually efficient. According to the EU Commission's approach however, appliances with poor dust pick-up would also be granted good energy efficiency classes provided that they consume very little power. As a result, the classification would mean that consumers are not able to differentiate between higher and lower quality appliances.

2.Incorrect incentives would be created for manufacturers

Appliances with poor suction power naturally consume less power. The new directive would simply incentivise some manufacturers to produce vacuum cleaners with poor suction power – thus the opposite of an efficient appliance. Inefficient vacuum cleaners are demonstrably unlikely to be able to contribute to battling house dust allergies or reducing respirable dust.

3.The draft misses the aim of the directive completely

The aim of the 2010/30/EU energy labelling directive is "Improving the efficiency of energy-related products through informed consumer choice". An aim that the Commission's approach, in its current form, will not achieve.

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) is the European Parliament committee with responsibility for energy labelling. According to Thomas Rodemann: "Vorwerk is committed to ensuring that the European Parliament raise objections to the draft delegated Commission regulation and have the energy rating for vacuum cleaners determined on the basis of the Energy Efficiency Index." The method used for calculating the labelling should therefore be based on a comparison of the vacuum cleaner's cleaning performance with its annual energy consumption. Such a common evaluation model as is used for other product categories, such as refrigerators and washing machines, should also be followed for vacuum cleaners so that this important new directive achieves its goal.


The Vorwerk & Co. KG family enterprise was founded in 1883. The holding company’s registered office is located in Wuppertal, Germany. At the head of the corporate group are general partners Walter Muyres, Reiner Strecker and Frank van Oers. Vorwerk’s core business is the worldwide direct sale of high-quality household products (Kobold vacuum cleaners, Thermomix kitchen appliances, various Lux Asia Pacific products) and cosmetic products (JAFRA Cosmetics). The Vorwerk Group also includes the akf group (banking), Vorwerk Carpets and the sister company HECTAS (facility management). Worldwide there are almost 607,000 people working with Vorwerk, some 590,000 of whom are independent sales partners. Vorwerk generated consolidated business volume of 2.367 billion euros in 2011 and operates in more than 70 countries.


Vorwerk & Co. KG

Michael Weber

Head of Corporate Communications

Tel.: +49 202 564-1247



Hering Schuppener

Unternehmensberatung für Kommunikation GmbH

Marlies Peine

Tel.: +49 211 43079-38



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