loom Following a European Parliament vote on amendments to the Energy Labelling Directive (1992/75/EC), advertisements for all energy consuming products look likely to have to provide energy consumption data. Cue “end of advertising industry” warnings from industry sirens. Amisha Patel reports.
Who: European Parliament and European Commission
Where: European Union
When: March 2009
On Monday 9 March 2009, the Industry Committee of the European Parliament voted by a majority of 42 votes to 2 in favour of amending the Energy Labelling Directive (1992/75/EEC) ("Directive").
The Directive has been in effect for over 15 years. Under its auspices a number of subsidiary implementing directives have been put into place. These require the labelling of various energy consuming appliances (washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers etc.) with information rating the energy efficiency of the product.
One of the amendments to the Directive, which currently requires energy information to be displayed at the point of sale of the product, is to extend the application of the legislation to beyond the point of sale to cover any advertising of the product.
The text in the draft directive proposed by the Commission provides for the following new clause:
"any advertisement of energy-related products shall provide end-users with the necessary information regarding energy consumption or shall include a reference to the energy label of the product;"
Under the amendment any advertisement promoting the technical specifications of a specific model will have to show the product's energy consumption or energy savings (in the same way that car advertisements provide the carbon dioxide emissions of the model), for example, by way of reference to the energy class. Technical promotional literature such as manuals and manufacturers' brochures, printed and offered on the internet will also fall within the scope of the amendment.
Why this matters:
Advertising plays a pivotal role in the decision of consumers regarding the purchase/use of a specific product. Consumers will be better placed to make an informed choice by being made aware of specific product information well in advance of the point of purchase.
Consumers will also find that over time they have an increasing choice of new, more efficient products on the market as manufacturers are driven to innovate to create more energy efficient products in order to compete more effectively.
Advertisers will have to consider how best to promote a product where using one of the typical methods of advertising means that they have to potentially provide the consumer with negative information about a product's energy efficiency rating.
It has been suggested by Ian Twinn, the Director of Public Affairs at the ISBA, that advertisers may increasingly look to non traditional digital media options to advertise products as press, posters, TV and radio make effective advertising more difficult, more costly and potentially even detrimental to the advertising industry.