The European Union is 450 million citizens in 25 otherwise sovereign countries, but connected in a multinational federal metastate that claims a combined economy in excess of $9 trillion (US), making it one of the world’s largest economies. As a community faced with massive decontamination and re-industrialization from devastating wars, Europe places due emphasis on issues of environmental sustainability and pollution prevention. Under broad policy guidelines of the New Approach and Integrated Product Planning frameworks, the European Commission is drafting legislation that will mandate eco-standards for all energized end-use equipment for sale in the internal market. These proposed standards may raise controversy in many industry sectors and international arenas (including within Europe itself) because they may not be based on sound and accepted scientific analysis, because they may constitute a de-facto violation at least in spirit of the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, and because nobody can yet predict their cost impact and other market effect. Compliance with these emerging energy efficiency regulations will impose considerable management requirements on manufacturers as they devise documentation and certification programs for their products that are likely to be of a scope similar to ISO 14000. This paper assesses the new requirements from a product and design management perspective.

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