HISTORY OF THE VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT
2009 – As part of the EU's Eco-design regulatory process (under EU Directive 2009/125/EC), the European Commission commenced a review of the potential for improving the energy efficiency of game consoles and initiated a preparatory study (ENTR Lot 3: Sound and Imaging Equipment) to investigate the energy efficiency of game consoles, alongside other sound and imaging devices.
2010 – The Commission’s preparatory study included a voluntary agreement as a possible policy option and the Commission agreed to consider this approach provided it could meet the ambitions of the Eco-design Directive. Following consultations with stakeholders and policy makers, the game console industry commenced work on formulating the Voluntary Agreement and preparing it for Commission review.
2012 – The first draft of the Voluntary Agreement was tabled for review and discussion during a Commission Consultation Forum meeting (which included representatives from the Commission, Member States, and Non-governmental Organisations (NGO) in November.
2013 – A manufacturer from the game console industry completed its own comprehensive analytical study on the potential energy savings the Voluntary Agreement would secure. The study’s conclusions highlighted that the Voluntary Agreement had the potential to save up to 1 TWh per year by 2020. While recognising that the energy savings were in line with the Eco-design Directive’s aims, the Commission requested the industry to add further commitments on material efficiency and the draft Voluntary Agreement was revised to include these commitments. The draft Voluntary Agreement was subject to internal review by the Commission's Impact Assessment Board, which issued a favourable opinion in March.
2014 – Game console manufacturers amended the Voluntary Agreement to take into account the Commission's revised draft guidelines on voluntary agreements and to address comments received during the Consultation Forum meeting and subsequent comments from the Commission.
2015 – On April 22, the Commission formally approved the Voluntary Agreement. The Commission’s decision confirmed that the Voluntary Agreement would achieve the policy objectives set out by the EU's Eco-design Directive more quickly and cost-effectively than mandatory requirements. The first Steering Committee meeting was held in Brussels in December.
2016 – Game console manufacturers begin implementing the product reporting requirements of the Voluntary Agreement.