EucoLight webinar: National approaches to prevent non-compliant sales through online marketplaces
The exceptionally high level of product sold through online marketplaces that is not compliant with extended producer responsibility legislation is well established. The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the problem, as the growth in online sales has accelerated. The participants heard of the scale and nature of the issue and received an overview of legislative and non-legislative solutions being considered.
We heard the progress made by France and Germany which will put legislation in place to tackle the problem. In both cases, the national solutions make online marketplaces and fulfilment service providers liable. That liability is either to take on the responsibility of non-compliant sellers or to prevent the sales of non-compliant sellers. EucoLight supports both approaches.
The recently adopted French law states that, unless the online marketplace facilitating distance sales has proof that the seller has already fulfilled its EPR obligations, it is the marketplace that must fulfil the seller’s EPR obligations. And a legal study for Germany would oblige marketplaces and fulfilment services to only sell product from registered producers.
When non-compliant product is supplied, the sellers do not support the collection and recycling efforts required by European legislation. This puts the sustainability of EPR schemes at risk, creates unfair competition for compliant companies, and distorts the internal market. It also creates environmental risks. The majority of the problem arises from the numerous sellers located outside Europe.
The meeting heard proposals from the E-commerce sector itself, but these attracted a number of criticisms. Panellists were concerned that the proposals would not be enforceable, because they left liability with the seller, not the marketplace. Concerns were also expressed that making compliance through marketplaces simpler would transfer more market power to online marketplaces.
EucoLight encourages other Member States to follow the example set by France and Germany, in putting in place legislative solutions to control online freeriding, pending progress with a workable harmonised European solution.
Hervé Grimaud, Ecosystem, Chairman of EucoLight
The scale and nature of the issue and the options available
Natalia Sierra, Ambilamp
National solution – France
Camilla Freitas Salgueiredo, Ministry for ecological transition, France
Non-legislative solutions – The simplified responsibility model
Federico Magalini, SOFIES
The views of producers
Ourania Georgoutsakou, LightingEurope
The view of producer responsibility organisations
Nigel Harvey, Recolight
Chaired by Marc Guiraud, EucoLight