Seminar on European SME Standardization
Madrid conference focuses on Spain’s small elevator businesses.
The European Federation for Elevator Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EFESME) and Small Business Standards (SBSes) jointly organized the national seminar “Standardization for SMEs: Sectoral Representation at EU Level” in Madrid on September 22. Massimo Bezzi, EFESME vice-president, opened the meeting, welcoming participants and highlighting the importance of EFESME in the defense of the lift sector at the European Union (EU) level, explaining the work is also supported by SBS in the standardization process.
The seminar was structured in two parts: a general one with the aim to inform SMEs and national associations about the European standardization systems and the tools available for SMEs, and a second part with a focus on the lift sector. It gathered delegates from the European Commission (EC) and industry and government officials from across the continent. Presentations on the EU regulatory framework of standards development and the role of national standardization organizations with examples from the Spanish experience were given in the morning.
The EC has an active standardization policy that promotes standards to better regulate and enhance the competitiveness of the European industry. They help reduce legal compliance costs, improve safety, enhance competition, simplify market access and introduce innovative products and services.
There are nearly 20 million SMEs in the European Union, which represent 99.8% of all businesses. These SMEs employ 86.8 million people and generate 57.6% of the gross value added. However, they are sometimes unaware of the benefits standardization can bring. Since its creation in 2005 and in the last years through SBSes, EFESME helps SMEs in representing their interests in standardization development, on both technical and political levels.
EFESME Secretary General Giuseppe Iotti presented a global and European market analysis that showed the current and future situations of the lift sector to highlight the upcoming challenges and needs through detailed reports and data about demographic growth and sectorial advancement. Iotti underlined the key role of lifts in the daily life of citizens and the importance of harmonized standards implementation.
The afternoon session of the seminar, chaired by EFESME, dealt with the role of SBSes in the lift sector, followed by a presentation by Bezzi on EFESME activities and the Federation’s organization. Bezzi also presented updates on European Committee for Standardization and International Organization for Standardization activities that EFESME is carrying out and informed the audience of a new EFESME member from Bulgaria.
Iotti’s presentation about product category rules (PCRs) and environmental product declarations (EPDs) for lifts generated strong interest among the participants. A PCR is a set of specific rules, requirements and guidelines for developing and facilitating EPDs of a group of products, such as lifts. EPDs are voluntary documents released by the International EPD System that provide information about the lifecycle environmental impact of goods.
The PCR document specifies the rules for the lifecycle assessment (LCA) for a product group. It can be used for issuing EPDs for the different configurations of new and modernized lifts. A product environmental platform is necessary to implement the EPDs for lifts. It includes the following services: databanks of the lifecycle inventories for the industry; LCA applications that make it possible to evaluate specific models of lifts or components; LCA report generators; and optional conformity checks of the presence of dangerous substances.
Victoria Piedrafita, legal officer at EC, closed the meeting with an interesting explanation of Lift Directive 2014/33/EU and updates on the guide to the application of the directive, which will be published in the coming months.
The EFESME seminar in Madrid represented an opportunity to learn more about standardization at European and Spanish levels with a focus on the elevator sector thanks to the very enthusiastic participation of the speakers and attendees. Following the success of this event, EFESME has begun to plan more seminars in its members’ countries.