Six months ago I was discussing the future of the home appliance industry with the CEOs of CECED member companies. The conclusion was that the household appliance industry sits at a crossroads.
Beyond the general macroeconomic environment, manufacturing in the European Union has many challenges, when set in the context of a highly dynamic global marketplace.
These discussions developed into Home Appliance 2025, CECED’s forward-looking industry vision.
We launched it earlier this month (www.ha2025.eu) focusing on four key pillars: achieving smart and better regulation; advancing sustainable lifestyles; making the connected home a reality; accelerating Europe’s economic growth.
Let me take the first pillar, achieving smart and better regulation. What does this mean in practice? Cumulative layers of regulation risk stifling innovation.
They increase costs, reduce design flexibility resulting in a loss of competitiveness globally. One example is the duplication of energy efficiency regulation that imposes energy efficiency standards on components within a product, as well as on the whole appliance.
This duplication introduces rigidity and limitations into the design process, and is unlikely to optimise the energy efficiency performance of the appliance.
Smart legislation on the other hand creates the conditions for industry to innovate. Innovation drives our industry, it creates wealth and prosperity, not only for our sector but for European society as a whole.
A recent study from European Economics confirms the sector’s overall contribution to European society. The figures are impressive.
In terms of generating wealth: a €53bn annual contribution to European Union GDP. In terms of employment, 211,000 direct, quality jobs; overall, almost one million European jobs are in some way created or linked to our sector. Investment in research and development? €1.4bn per annum.
So let’s promote innovation and avoid obstacles in the form of unnecessary double regulation. We need to create the right conditions for sustainable growth.