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19 May 2010



Tomorrow, the European Parliament will vote to adopt revised legislation on the energy labelling of products. Although the new directive will see the use of the well-known Energy Label extended to products other than domestic appliances, the previous message of ‘Buy A’ will be lost as it will be possible for the new label to feature up to three additional classes - A+, A++ and A+++ - depending on the product group.

An Energy Label that looks different from product to product will make it difficult for consumers to understand which product in any one group is the most efficient. ANEC fears the undoubted success of the previous Label in encouraging consumers to make the most sustainable choice will not be continued. Indeed, the Label will not only cease to be a tool to inform consumers but will also fail to serve the interests of manufacturers or retailers1.

The new directive foresees a review of the Label in 2014. However, we believe such a review, and a survey of consumer perceptions, should be conducted no later than one year after the entry into force of the new Label. 

We consider this is the only way to lead to a reorientation of the Label that will help consumers take the most sustainable decisions in their purchases and encourage manufacturers to innovate in the production of ever more energy-efficient products.

Stephen Russell, ANEC Secretary-General, noted: “The message ‘Buy A’, which was easy to convey to consumers and easily understood by consumers, will be lost. What message can we give when the most efficient product in a particular group could be labelled A, A+, A++ or A+++? Some product groups will feature A+++ products, others will not. Instead, of being helped by the Energy Label, consumers will now be seduced by slick marketing and advertising campaigns. The new Energy Label is political fudge of the highest quality.”


1 See for instance the British Retail Consortium (BRC) - or the French retail federation -

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