The ANTICSS project for a better market surveillance

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The topic of manipulated testing results or “circumvention” is currently getting a lot of public and media attention. The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme has funded the ANTICSS (Anticircumvention of standards for better market surveillance) project. Its objectives are to define and assess “circumvention” in relation to EU Ecodesign and energy labelling legislation and their harmonised standards. “By raising overall awareness of circumvention among stakeholders, ANTICSS is expected to support effective EU legislation enforcement and increase acceptance and trust of market actors, consumers and civil society specifically in the Ecodesign and energy labelling legislation”, said Kathrin Graulich, project coordinator at Oeko-Institut, Germany. ANTICSS will collect, analyse and learn from cases of circumvention by researching the literature, dedicated expert interviews and systematic analysis of existing EU Ecodesign and energy labelling legislation and standards for possible loopholes. The potential relationship between circumvention and “smart” products with specific embedded software is also addressed. The project will provide a clear definition of circumvention, including delimitation from other effects to facilitate the identification of circumventing habits and unambiguous technical and public communication. Further, for selected product categories, independent test laboratories will be conducting tests to assess “if” and “how much” energy consumption and/or functional performance modifications could be addressed to circumvention. Where appropriate, the project team will propose alternative test procedures or checklists, with the aim to prevent any possible circumvention as well as recommendations to overcome ambiguities and loopholes in Ecodesign and energy labelling legislation and standards. As a result, ANTICSS will provide practical capacity building measures for market surveillance authorities and test laboratories, support communication and collaboration between major stakeholders and recommendations for policymakers and standardisation bodies to better detect and prevent future circumvention.
The ANTICSS project team consists of 19 organisations from eight EU Member States: research organisations, Market Surveillance Authorities, energy agencies, a standardisation body, a university, environmental NGO, and independent test laboratories. Italy is represented by IMQ, ENEA and the Chamber of Commerce of Milan-Monza Brianza. “ENEA and the Chamber of Commerce – said Stefano Ferrari of IMQ – are realities with which we have been collaborating profitably for some time and with whom we share goals and values. Also for this new project we foresee significant results: in terms of protection from market distortions, transparency, enhancement of virtuous realities and more generally of the European market, with returns in terms of the environment but also of commercial competitiveness. As IMQ we will bring our experience in testing activities to allow quantitative assessments but above all to help identify alternative test procedures or control systems that in the future will prevent any falsification of the measurements made”.