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Product-related top runner approach at EU level

The current debate on environmental policy in Germany assigns high importance to strengthening environmentally sound product design (ecodesign) and establishing approaches which improve the energy and resource efficiency for the ecological development of the social market economy.

On EU level, too, there is wide agreement among Member States’ environmental ministers that a new generation of environmental regulation with dynamic standards is needed, which will stimulate innovations in the field of resource efficiency.

The German federal government has recognised the potential of this approach and supports the introduction of a top runner concept at EU level. Moreover, such a concept is also part of the German Energy Efficiency Action Plan.

The top runner approach, i. e. a comprehensive system of incentives and requirements to boost the best and most energy efficient products available on the market, thus constitutes guidance for the product-related environmental protection efforts in Germany. However, no operationalised and detailed proposal for such a concept including measures for its implementation has been made to date.

This paper shall attempt to remedy the current situation by proposing starting points for measures for the implementation of a top runner approach at EU level.

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