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Repair it right

APPLiA at the ICPHSO virtual symposium Consumer Safety and Sustainability within the Internet of Things.

Today, the home appliance sector is sustainable - from the manufacturing of products, down to the user phase, to the repair and disposal of appliances. Home appliance manufacturers pursue the highest sustainability standards in each and every washing machine, dishwasher, coffee machine or vacuum cleaner they manufacture. As time evolves, new technologies come into place and allow room for further improvement in terms of benefits for citizens, the environment and society as a whole. “That is the case with connected appliances” explained Paolo Falcioni - APPLiA’s Director General - at the ICPHSO virtual symposium titled Consumer Safety and Sustainability within the Internet of Things, “which open up to a whole series of consumer benefits, while posing a few challenges at the same time,” he continued “the main one being cyber-threats.”

“There is a principle that we value the most and that is that, whether a product is online or offline, it must be safe.” stated Paolo Falcioni. 

When it comes to safety within the Internet of Things, immediate is the link with the cybersecurity aspect of it. In this context, APPLiA is focusing its energies in the Stakeholder Cybersecurity Certification Group, which advises the Commission on strategic issues regarding the European cybersecurity certification framework and steers the cyber-discussion at EU level. “We advocate for a single, EU-wide, harmonised certification scheme that is proportional to the risks linked to each product category.” insisted Paolo Falcioni, while making reference to the existing EU safety and liability legal framework that would need to be leveraged in this context. Essential safety requirements, voluntary use of harmonised standards and conformity assessment through either self-assessment or authorised third party involvement, are the pillars to make the framework do the right job. “We know that the German Presidency of the Council is willing to establish new rules for connected devices based on a voluntary candidate certification scheme for these products. For us, this is the right way forward.” he concluded.

In the discussion that followed, it was mentioned that appliances should be repairable, so to minimise the adverse effect of a premature dismissal, generating unnecessary waste. The campaign “right to repair” was mentioned as the way forward to keep products in use as long as possible. “Actually,'' Mr Falcioni commented, “it is more important to “repair it right”, because our first concern is consumer safety. There are some repair operations, in fact, that are easy to do and for those there are tools available already today. There are other key repair operations, instead, that must be performed by professional repairers, who would also be liable for their work.”