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5-20

Study to evaluate online compliance in the EU and provide suggestions and recommendations

Update: 14 July 2020 - A list of questions and answers has been added at both the bottom of this webpage and the end of the posted RFP document.

Introduction

CLASP serves as the leading international voice and resource for appliance efficiency policies and market acceleration initiatives. Since 1999, CLASP has worked in nearly 100 countries, collaborating with key stakeholders to design and implement high-impact policies and programs that catalyse markets for efficient on and off-grid products that deliver a higher global standard of living for everyone. From international collaborations to local markets, we draw on best practices and leading technical and policy expertise to help decision makers identify and implement the most appropriate and cost-effective policies and market interventions. CLASP is based in Washington DC, and has offices and teams in India, Kenya, Europe, and are establishing a permanent presence in Indonesia to serve our growing portfolio of projects and programs in Africa, Europe, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia.

CLASP has been engaged in Europe since 2009, mostly at the European Union level, supporting the European Commission in establishing ambitious ecodesign and energy labelling regulations. CLASP has also been involved in projects related to various aspects of compliance in Europe.

CLASP is seeking a contractor to conduct an assessment of online compliance with the energy labelling general framework and product-specific regulation. The study should focus on a selection of the five products that are both currently regulated under Directive 2010/30 and covered by newly adopted energy labelling regulations.

Background

While attention to compliance has been increasing in general, the specific issue of online compliance has remained largely unexplored despite evidence of particularly low levels. This study aims at understanding the current status and challenges of online compliance to facilitate the transition to the new requirements and help ensure a high compliance rate.

Increased attention for compliance

The EU has one of the world’s most comprehensive energy standards and labelling programs. Ecodesign and Energy Labelling are now widely recognised as efficiency

policies and critical tools to reach the European emission reduction target. A holistic implementation framework bolsters the credibility of government energy efficiency programs, protects consumers, and creates a fair playing field for suppliers of energy-efficient and quality products. The importance of ensuring a high level of compliance with these policies has been increasingly recognised and both the Member States and the European level have mobilised in recent years to improve the situation.

Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 setting a framework for energy labelling sets requirements for applying the EU Energy Label to products sold in stores and online. The regulation attempts to strengthen compliance in the EU by improving cooperation between Member States and giving the European Commission a slightly more prominent role than in the past. Improving MV&E is for example the main objective of the new European Product Registration database for Energy Labelling (EPREL) introduced by Regulation (EU) 2017/1369.

The new Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and compliance of products strengthens the powers of Market Surveillance Authorities (MSAs), with particular attention to the online market.

The European program Horizon 2020 (and its predecessor Intelligent Energy Europe - IEE) has placed significant emphasis on MV&E for many years, through projects like ATLETE and ATLETE 2, ECOPLIANT, EEPLIANT2 and the newly launched EEPLIANT 3, MarketWatch and ComplianTV. Some projects like Digi-Label or Label 2020 look into the digitalisation of the label and offer solutions to facilitate online compliance.

Importance of improving online compliance

Most of these projects and member states focus their compliance and enforcement efforts on products in brick and mortar stores. However, more and more consumers are moving online to research and/or purchase energy using products – some projects like EEPLIANT2 have reported particularly low compliance with the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations on the online market (see Annex B-3 – Resources and existing sources). The extent, types and impact of non-compliance on the online market is currently not well known.

Some of the consumers who typically would have gone to a store to purchase an appliance were recently forced to select and purchase their product online because of the sanitary crisis. A part of them may adopt this new behaviour (or reinforce this behaviour) and increase the share of online sales – and online selection of products.

Ensuring a high level of online compliance is therefore becoming an even higher stake both on the consumer and on the supplier side.

Current and upcoming requirements

This study will focus on the aspects of compliance that are specific to the online market. It will therefore mainly focus on the requirements defined under the legal framework for energy labelling. No testing will be done for this study, but the availability and consistency (e.g. consistency of the information between different online stores and with the manufacturer’s website, consistency between the energy class and the product information) of the legally required information can be checked.

The current requirements concerning online compliance are outlined in Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products. The details for each product group are defined in the corresponding regulation.

A new version of the EU Energy Label will enter into force for six products in 2021: lighting, electronic displays, domestic refrigerators, commercial refrigeration equipment, washing machine and dishwashers. The European Commission is also introducing an online product registration database and facilitating cooperation between Member States, both of which should support compliance with the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations, but it is unclear how these will be used to monitor online sales.

Current and future requirements relating to the (online) supply of information available in full PDF.

Objectives of this study

Although some studies have reported particularly low compliance levels on the online market; few have focused on improving the situation in this sector. CLASP intends to address this gap and maximise the impact of the new Energy Label in 2021. CLASP is seeking a contractor to conduct an assessment of online compliance with the energy labelling general framework and product-specific regulation. The study should focus on a selection of the five products that are both currently regulated under Directive 2010/30 and covered by newly adopted energy labelling regulations. The contractor will:

- assess the level of non-compliance on the online market for these products;

- assess the impacts of non-compliance for these products;

- identify the main types of non-compliance;

- identify the reasons for non-compliance; and

- propose recommendations to optimise compliance on the online market that take into account the new labelling framework regulation (including the product registration database and cooperation between Member States) and the transition to the new label.

Scope of Work

The objective of the study is to improve compliance of the online market with Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 setting a framework for energy labelling and with the labelling regulation specific to each product group. The findings and recommendations from the study will facilitate the transition to the new energy labels adopted in October 2019, particularly to how they will be applied for the growing online market.

The contractor will:

- focus on a selection of the five products that are both currently regulated under Directive 2010/30 and covered by newly adopted energy labelling regulations

- Propose a selection of focus countries, including: countries with high shares of e-commerce; countries that represent different sizes of markets; countries with different track-records in terms of general compliance with ecodesign and labelling; and countries that are representative of the diverse European market

-Describe the type of online suppliers, as well as potential proposed focusses on certain categories.

Tasks description

The following tasks will be undertaken:

1. Refine and finalise, in collaboration with CLASP, the scope of the research in terms of products, countries and types of online platform;

2. Describe the rules that apply for all products and platform included in the scope, and the compliance criteria (specific to online compliance, currently and under the upcoming revised labelling rules) that will be considered in this study;

3. Carry-out a first-hand assessment of online compliance for the selected scope, potentially completed by second-hand research (no testing will be done for this study, but the availability and consistency (e.g. consistency of the information between different online stores and with the manufacturer’s website, consistency between the energy class and the product information) of the legally required information can be checked);

4. Assess the impact of the non-compliance identified

5. Identify the main types of non-compliance

6. Identify the main reasons for online non-compliance / barriers to online compliance, and assess whether they would apply to the new version of the label. This could be done through a survey of the relevant market participants, to understand the challenges that they face and the concerns they have regarding online labelling;

7. Provide recommendations to improve compliance in online markets, including how the new EU tools (product registration database EPREL), rules (under regulations 2017/1369 and 2019/1020), and the upcoming entry into force of the revised labelling regulations can be applied to support online compliance.

CLASP will present the findings and recommendations of the study to European MV&E practitioners and policymakers in order to advance the dialogue on strengthening their national MV&E programs and minimize non-compliance on their online markets. CLASP will also communicate the findings and recommendations of this study to our partner NGOs as well as to the retail sector.

Key Milestones and Deliverables

Rather than independent reports, the deliverables should be seen as each building on the previous one, leading to the final complete report

  • Inception report, detailing the approach and methodology, and literature review sources identified;
  • First Interim report would consist of an annotated outline of the final report structure; detailed results of the assessment of the online compliance levels. The first interim report should also provide a brief general update on progress, sources of information and contact details;
  • Second Interim report building on the first interim report and including the findings of the research concerning the main reasons for non-compliance and a preliminary draft of the recommendations.
  • Draft final report including drafts of all sections complete;
  • Final comprehensive report, responding to the comments provided by CLASP on the draft final report. The final report would include the raw data, list of contacts and sources and access to any tools used by the contractor.

Timeline

The project is expected to commence in August 2020 and be concluded by the end of November 2020.

Evaluation Procedure

A committee appointed by CLASP will evaluate proposals received from respondents. Selection of qualified companies or organizations will be based upon the following criteria:

  • Technical Evaluation Factors
  • Cost Evaluation Factors

All bids will be evaluated and ranked using Quality and Cost Based Selection (QCBS), with 80 percent of the score accorded to the technical proposal, and 20 percent to the financial proposal. The detailed evaluation criteria can be found in Annex A (in full pdf).

SUBMITTAL

Interested parties must:

  • Register as a CLASP Implementing Partner (click here to register).
  • Complete the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire using the online form. Note: Organizations that have already completed the PQQ do not need to complete it again

Interested parties should submit separate technical and financial proposals as electronic files (preferably in PDF format). The file should be named as per the following example:

  • • [CONTRACTOR_NAME]_TechnicalProposal_RFPXX-20
  • • [CONTRACTOR_NAME]_FinancialProposal_RFPXX-20

The deadline for application is July 29, 2020. Proposals must be submitted online via the CLASP website, filling out all the requested information and attaching both a technical and financial proposal.

The proposal length should not exceed 20 pages.

The technical proposal should include:

  • Detailed approach and methodology for the design, implementation, and management of the study.
  • Detailed timeline for all project activities, tasks, milestones, and deliverables for the project within the timeframe indicated above.
  • Detailed work plan and methodology, considering the outcomes required and including the proposed process for quality assurance of the final deliverable.
  • Background and experience of conducting similar activities.
  • Identification of the team that will execute the project, including an organizational chart and accompanying brief description of key team members and their qualifications and relevant work experience.
    • CVs and related summaries of experience and qualifications of proposed project team staff should be included in an Annex. (Annex is exempt from the 20-page limitation)
    • Writing sample(s) from the member(s) of the team who will be in charge of writing the report.

The financial proposal (in USD) should include:

  • Detailed budget that includes all direct and indirect cost estimates for executing the project, including a breakdown (in days) of the level of effort and costs associated with each team member that will be engaged in the project.

All questions may be addressed to mbaton@clasp.ngo. The last date for submission of questions related to this RFP is July 9, 2020. We request all inquiries be made by e-mail and not by phone.

The following is the complete set of questions on the RFP#5-20 that were submitted to CLASP by 9 July and our answers:

How important is it to be exhaustive in the analysis of all countries, products and platforms?

As stated in the RFP, we are not expecting an exhaustive analysis, but rather an assessment across a selection of product groups, countries and types of suppliers. The final goal is to develop recommendations that improve compliance practices, so rather than being exhaustive, we expect a methodology that identifies the main issues and causes and produces meaningful recommendations.

The new energy label is not implemented yet, how do you suggest that the study could assess compliance with the new regulations?

The RFP states that “The findings and recommendations from the study will facilitate the transition to the new energy labels adopted in October 2019, particularly to how they will be applied for the growing online market” – our expectation is not that the study would assess compliance with the future labelling regulations, but rather that it would identify existing issues in today’s compliance practices that are likely to remain problematic under the new regulations. The goal would be to find ways to ensure that Europe’s transition to a new energy label becomes an opportunity to improve compliance.

A goal of the study is to “assess the impacts of non-compliance for these products.” Does this refer to the regulatory consequences of non-compliance? Or, the impact of non-compliance on consumers?

This refers to the impact of non-compliance on the efficiency of the policy instrument. We do not expect a precise quantification, which would take more time and resources than available for this study. But we want to have some evidence of the magnitude of the issue in order to raise awareness amongst policy-makers and compliance officers to what extent this issue needs to be prioritised.

Are there other impacts you would like assessed or considered?

We are open to other suggestions but the study should be solution-oriented: we want to understand the types of non-compliance and their reasons in order to propose implementable improvements, we want to understand the impact to raise awareness and investment of resources into improving online compliance.

What is your indicative budget for this work?

Our indicative budget is around USD 50k.

Do you require a literature review of this topic? This is mentioned as one of the components of the inception report but is not listed in the tasks description

We would expect that the first task “Refine and finalise, in collaboration with CLASP, the scope of the research in terms of products, countries and types of online platform” would be based on pre-existing knowledge, supported by research in the current literature. The sources used to guide those discussions and decisions should be documented in the inception report.

Is the 20 page limit for the technical proposal alone or technical and financial proposals combined?

This is for the technical proposal – we did not set a formal maximum number of pages for the financial proposal because those are typically very short.

The RfP talks about selecting five products for compliance checking; just to clarify, you mean product groups (ie lighting, electronic displays) not five specific products?

We do indeed mean product groups, not specific models. Proposals can present a methodology including the assessment of as few or as many models as deemed relevant.

We believe that COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) No 518/2014 is applicable to RFP 5-20. If you agree, please confirm that you would wish us to take account of this in any proposal that we may submit to you.

It is indeed – all relevant legal acts should be taken into account in their current consolidated version.

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