European Commission launched the “One charger for all” campaign in 2009. The aim of taking this initiative was to reduce the number of waste products from a wide variety of incompatible chargers for electronic devices. EU estimated that the discarded old chargers were generating more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste per year in Europe. They introduced a successful Memorandum of Understanding on which the phone manufacturers agreed on standardizing chargers for their 2011 models. The agreement ended in 2012 but was later extended by a few signatories with ‘Letter of Intent’ in 2013 and 2014. However, the results were not satisfactory even then.
The EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said that the weak outcomes of the campaign are pushing the EU to consider additional measures. She stated, “Given the unsatisfactory progress with this voluntary approach, the Commission will shortly launch an impact assessment study to evaluate costs and benefits of different other options.” The first agreement was signed by leading tech giants like Apple, LG, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion (RIM), Samsung, Sony Ericson, Texas Instruments. The commission also praised the manufacturers and expressed hope that the charger issue would be resolved without the need for new regulation.
Vestager said, “I am also very pleased that this solution was found on the basis of self-regulation. As a result, the Commission does not consider it necessary to introduce legislation.” Europe’s Standardization Bodies CEN-CENELEC and ETSI have followed up on the agreement by producing standards for the manufacture of phones which are compatible with a common charger. The standards will also ensure the safety of the new phones. Vice-President of the European Commission Antonio Tajani said, “I am very happy that the European Standardisation Bodies have met our request to develop within a short space of time the technical standards necessary for a common mobile phone charger based on the work done by industry. Now it is time for the industry to show its commitment to sell mobile phones for the new charger.”
The standard mobile charger was introduced in February 2011. Tajani said, “I urge industry to speed up their introduction in the market to enable citizens throughout the EU to enjoy the advantages of a common charger as soon as possible.” In 2014, members of the European Parliment voted in favor of introducing a draft law to make the universal charger a requirement for all the manufacturers. Seeing the latest comments of Vestager, it seems that the bill will finally be implemented. The commission stipulated that more than 30 types of chargers were on the market. With the constant technological advancements in the mobile industry, it is indeed essential to introduce a universal charger in the market.