The role of repair in enabling the green transition

Among the key priorities set by the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) towards its ambitious 2050 climate neutrality goal, is fostering a societal model that builds upon sustainable production, consumption and minimisation of waste.

Among the key priorities set by the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) towards its ambitious 2050 climate neutrality goal, is fostering a societal model that builds upon sustainable production, consumption and minimisation of waste. Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA Director General, shed light on the role of repair as a key enabler of the green transition at the European Consumer Summit 2022, hosted by the European Commission and the French Ministry of Economy.

Fostering sustainable production requires that products that enter the market are durable, repairable and resource-efficient. For the home appliance sector this is already the reality, today. According to data collected from the APPLiA membership,  “81% of the requests to manufacturers for a repair of a product resulted in an actual repair in 2016, which then increased up to 91% in 2018,” Mr Falcioni explained. These statistics clearly highlight how the repairability of appliances is at a high rate for European consumers. Promoting repair in Europe is an integral part of what we call a ‘Circular Culture’. Yet,  establishing circularity as the norm requires a societal effort. In this context, consumer protection and safety is vital to earning the trust of citizens and not to impede efforts made towards establishing a circular economy. The repair of home appliances requires a specific set of technical skills that most consumers or non-professional repairers simply do not possess. If an appliance is not properly repaired and safety testing procedures are not respected, safety within the home could be compromised. For this reason, “repairers need to comply with the applicable regulations for repairs of electrical equipment, but also need to have relevant insurance covering liabilities resulting from the service,” explained Mr Falcioni.

At a time when pressure is growing on manufacturers to make repair easier for consumers, preserving the safety of the home and the people who live in it, remains a key prerogative for the industry while playing a critical role in enabling the green transition. With this in mind, consumers should be incentivised to choose repair over replacement, bringing products back into conformity in a timely and qualitative manner. This entails the implementation of “a clear hierarchy of remedies where repair would take precedence,” detailed Falcioni. 

Building on this, Falcioni announced that APPLiA is supporting a study book produced by its sister organisation APPLiA Hungary, aimed at training young generations of technicians Europe, that will soon be made available to all professional repairers, online.