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One charger to fit them all - ECOS position on the European Commission's common charger initiative

  • Published on January 10, 2022

On 23 September, the European Commission unveiled its long-awaited proposal for a common charger for electronic devices. It aims to fill the regulatory gap left open after the voluntary Memorandum of Understanding between manufacturers expired back in 2014. The Memorandum, an agreement signed between phone manufacturers and backed by the European Commission, failed to bring a single charging solution and to tackle the issue of unnecessary proliferation and variation of chargers and cables.

With an estimated half a billion chargers shipped for portable devices in Europe each year, the initiative to reduce consumer inconvenience and easily avoidable e-waste caused by the prevalence of different, incompatible chargers is, we believe, both necessary and much overdue. However, while providing a solid basis for regulatory discussions, the proposed revision of the Radio Equipment Directive falls short of achieving its full potential. Identifying a number of areas where further improvements are needed for the instrument to have the necessary transformative effect on the market, this paper puts forward a detailed set of improvements to the tabled revision.

The paper provides recommendations on how to make the most out of the EU Common Charger Initiative, to ensure the savings for consumers and the planet are maximised. 

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