27 Apr 2021

European Commission kicks-off work on its Sustainable Products Initiative. What’s at stake for the packaging sector?

In its New Circular Economy Action Plan presented in March 2020, the European Commission announced its intention to launch a sustainable product policy initiative to make products fit for a climate neutral, resource efficient and circular economy, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

The legislative initiative will entail the revision of the Ecodesign Directive and the widening of its scope beyond energy-related products. It will also “propose additional legislative measures as appropriate”. Whilst the Commission made it clear that the initiative will address the presence of harmful chemicals in products such as electronics and ICT equipment, textiles, furniture, steel, cement and chemicals, it is not yet clear to what extent packaging will be addressed in the initiative. Initial indications, following the outcome of the first stakeholder workshop on 15 April, suggest that packaging cannot be excluded from this work and may be covered in a way or another. The European Commission also informed stakeholders that the Sustainable Products Initiative is co-led by DG Energy, DG Environment and DG GROW.

In EUROPEN’s view, any measures concerning packaging stemming from the Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) should of course be designed in keeping with the principles of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive to avoid any overlaps or contradictions.


  • The Sustainable Products Initiative was launched in 2020, with a first roadmap consultation held from September to November. The European Commission launched a public consultation on the initiative in March 2021, which will remain open until 9 June 2021.
  • The first stakeholder workshop on the initiative took place on 15 April and was the opportunity for the Commission to present the initiative and its main objectives as well as the timeline of the study that will support the preparation of the impact assessment.


  • April/May 2021: More stakeholder workshops will be held in April and May 2021, where the European Commission will address key aspects of the SPI such as its social aspects, the Digital Product Passport, the revision of Ecodesign rules, etc.
  • Q3/Q4 2021: The European Commission aims to have the Impact Assessment ready in Q3 2021, and the legislative proposal adopted by the end of 2021.