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30 Jun 2009


Health & Consumers
Sustainable Dev.

ANEC, the European Consumer Voice in Standardisation, welcomes the industry initiative to standardise battery chargers for mobile phones as a step in the right direction. However, we insist on the need to make the rules more binding and to extend the measure to other mobile equipment.

ANEC welcomes the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on standardised battery chargers for mobile phones, presented yesterday to the European Commission. The MoU between the Commission and ten mobile phone equipment manufacturers aims to provide consumers with standardised battery chargers from the year 2010. The measure is a step in the right direction as most consumers have numerous power supplies and chargers around the house which have become useless as they no longer fit the latest products, even from the same manufacturer. This artificial limitation of the lifetime of a supply or charger leads to increased costs for consumers who are forced to buy new power equipment as part of the purchase of a new mobile phone for example. Moreover, there is an environmental cost through adding to electronic waste as power supplies cannot be reused.

However, we believe that a voluntary agreement will not be the sufficiently robust measure needed to ensure that consumers will indeed be provided with interoperable external power supplies in the future. A similar announcement on the provision of micro-USB phone chargers was made in 2007 but this voluntary agreement has yet to be put into practice.

ANEC further believes that a commitment to address only one of several product groups is not sufficient to deliver real benefits to the consumers or the environment.

Hence ANEC believes a standardisation mandate should be issued as soon as possible to the European Standards Organisations in order to address the standardisation of interfaces as well as related safety and quality aspects. Such a mandate should be broad in scope and address the power supplies and chargers for all everyday mobile devices.

“We will monitor the implementation of this voluntary agreement and insist on binding measures in case consumers do not find sufficient standardised battery chargers on the market from 2010”, said Stephen Russell, ANEC Secretary General. “We must put an end to the present madness.”